Dumb Little Man

How To Increase Your Productivity By Harnessing Dead Time

Although the title suggests this post will be a world-changing experiment, dear reader, I have to let you down — it won’t. Stop reading if you expect a new promising model as to how to become a super-productive human being.

However, keep reading if you want to read the narrative of your average workday. It’s a good way to determine how you could build on your dead time to get more out of your day.

Growing as a person and becoming better is what we constantly dream about, but when it comes to taking action, we always have an excuse.

If that’s your case, consider the following strategies in managing time wisely:

Your Average Workday

6:00 a.m. You’re sleeping and experiencing the best dream on your bed. The alarm clock just goes off and it’s time you get to work. Don’t hit the snooze button. Instead, try to get up just 10 minutes earlier than you would and make a commitment to use that time to meditate, journal or read every single workday. Yes, you could skip the weekend.

7:00 a.m. You’re on your commute and watching fellow passengers’ sleepy faces. It’s the best time to consume some inspiring literature. Pull out your Kindle and read something that grows you in mind and spirit. You soon will notice that travel time shrinks to its third.

8:00 a.m. You get to your table at the office. If you’re not in a very busy season or simply can’t begin to work right upon arrival―I see a lot of colleagues fall under this category, but not you of course―please don’t check Facebook, don’t check the news, and don’t socialize with colleagues. You have a lot of other options to consider: read a blog post on productivity, learn two new English phrases, search for potential workshops, etc.

Pro tip: It’s best to start with your most demanding and important task just to gain momentum.

9:00 a.m. You start writing an email to a client. The text is in your head since you’ve already drafted such emails a lot of times. This time, you’ve had a bad night sleep and words are coming slowly.

Wait a minute! Get a text expansion app that enables you to use “snippets” or chunks of words that will unfold into a complex text like email, phone number, link, or whatever you want.

Here is how it works. You save your emails, frequently used email addresses, and links to your text expansion app and label each with a snippet that hopefully, you can memorize. Next time, when you compose a report in MS Word, write an email or perform any text-oriented action in any of your apps. All you have to do is enter the associated snippet and the text will unfold itself. The nice thing is that it works in all your apps. Some good text expansion apps include PhraseExpress, TextExpander, and Breevy.

10:00 a.m. You wonder how much time it consumes to draft your report. Why not learn some keyboard shortcuts to increase your productivity? You can print a list of shortcuts and hang it next to your screen. Over time, you’ll feel comfortable with using the keyboard.

productivity in the office

1:00 p.m. You’ve just arrived from lunch with a full stomach. Colleagues invite you for a cup of coffee and, you know, for some 10 minutes of chit-chatting. Why not go for a short walk instead? Walking can help to gather your thoughts, gain focus, and refresh your mind.

5:00 p.m. You’re on the train and you’re heading home. You feel worn out because you really have had a busy day. Pull out your Kindle and just pick up reading where you left off in the morning. By doing so, together with your morning reading, you can implement a full hour of reading into your day.

Pro tip: If you’re driving to your office, you could listen to an audiobook.

6:00 p.m. You’re about to do the laundry, take out the trash, and the list goes on. (If you have a spouse, you know what I mean.) Just put on your wireless headphones and listen to life-changing podcasts to charge your mental batteries. From here, you would never ever do household chores without putting on your headphones.

That’s amazing. There’s not a single minute wasted anymore! You can’t wait to wash the dishes, do the laundry, and ironing your shirts because you know that you’re strengthening your mental muscles.

See Also: How Music Affects Your Productivity

7:00 p.m. You’re blaming yourself because you’ve skipped your exercise this day. You planned to do it but your day unfolded in a way as it always would: With lots of to-dos and seemingly no margins to counterbalance.

Although you clearly missed your full-hour workout, you can take your dumbbells and exercise for 15 minutes while watching your favorite TV show or movie. This time, again, you don’t have to sacrifice your “me-time” while enjoying the benefit of a workout.

Pro tip: Make sure that you don’t exercise too late in the evening because it can delay sleep onset.

Let’s Do the Math

Let’s look back and sum up how much you’ve done over the day without investing a single minute:

  • Meditation- 10 minutes
  • Reading- 30 minutes
  • Learning English- 10 minutes
  • Harnessing technology (text expansion and keyboard shortcuts―well, it’s harder to measure, I leave it up to you)
  • Walking- 10 minutes
  • Reading- 30 minutes
  • Listening to inspiring podcasts- 30 minutes
  • Exercising- 15 minutes

Those things equate to a total of 135 minutes (more than two hours!) of meaningful activities without claiming a single minute from your agenda. Wow!

On top of that, these activities will strengthen your mental as well as your physical muscles. They’ll contribute to your productivity and overall well-being.

See Also: The Profound Effects Of Meditation On The Mind

Identify Your Gaps

I hope you happened to notice that not a single minute was consumed by your new habits. We just harnessed your dead time to get the most out of your day. Now, it’s your turn to recognize your dead times and build the necessary habits to draw upon.

Experiment with your cues and rewards to find out what works for you to establish the desired habit.

I suggest that you fill in―as productivity experts would call it―an ideal day template to identify your gap. Then, fill those gaps with true content. This template is nothing more than a hard landscape of your day, showing your schedule in half-hour blocks. Take an hour to fill in your template to prevent mind leakage.

Begin the Journey

work productivity

This post doesn’t claim that you not socialize with colleagues or not read the news. It doesn’t cover in details morning or evening routines, essentialism, goal setting or other productivity methods. It does nothing more than shed light to those little things that can make a change in how you perceive your world.

Finally, be willing to change and you’re likely to experience a paradigm shift in your everyday life.

Your one takeaway: Take a deep breath and figure out three things that you can draw upon to harness your dead time.

The post How To Increase Your Productivity By Harnessing Dead Time appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

Top 7 Ways To Achieve Legendary Level of Leadership

You must’ve had the pleasure of leading a team or a small group of people at some point in your life. Be it a project or a small campaign, you know how difficult it sometimes get to keep all of your team members on the same page and make them working toward your (common) goal.

Human history is filled with so many great leaders who made the whole world follow them without being distracted or having double thoughts. So, how did those people achieve that legendary level of leadership?

Here are 7 tips on how to improve leadership skills:

Connection

Being a leader, you definitely want your team to understand you better. But don’t you think that you need to understand your team members first?

The key to being a good leader is how good can he or she connects with his or her people.

Yes, your team members are your people. They should be as close to you as your family and similarly, you should be as close to them as their families. You need to know them (not just their names and bio), understand them, and connect with them.

Start talking to your team members or followers more often. Talk about not just about future goals and work-related stuff but also about personal things. Make them feel that you are a friend to them instead of a person who orders them. Share your personal stories first so that they can be more comfortable talking to you. Have fun with them.

Once they start feeling that you’re fun like their friends and caring like their families, you’ll see the difference in their way of working. They’ll start putting their faith in you. They will see you as a leader instead of a boss.

Motivation

Working continuously toward a common goal is what you and your team should be thinking and doing — always. But constantly doing so creates exhaustion due to our limited mental and physical capabilities.

This exhaustion later leads to a decreased level of morale and lack of motivation toward work. Now, it is your job to boost your people’s morale and their level of motivation.

Delivering motivational speeches frequently during meetings is one of the best ways to cheer up your people. If some individual is feeling hopeless, then you have to talk to that person individually instead of calling a team meeting.

For more information on how to deliver a killer speech, you can check this article by John Corcoran on Dumb Little Man.

See Also: What Managers Should Know About Motivating Their Team

Teamwork

As they say, “With great power comes greater responsibility!”

Being a leader, you might have a very diverse group of people who are very different from each other. This diversity is good for the exposure and scope of your team as it can bring new ideas as well as creative insights.

However, this diversity also creates conflicts when two or more people don’t agree with each other or their beliefs clash on some topic.

In that case, you need to come up with a solution on how to create harmony in your team while avoiding conflicts. It can be achieved by taking those people for a coffee or dinner to talk things out.

If your people can become friends, they’ll be better at working together. So, you need to introduce this friendship to your team members as it encourages solid teamwork.

Be more active in case a new member joins your team. It can be hard for a newbie to find his place in the team as well as in the social sphere. Introduce your newest member to the team and make him feel good by proudly announcing his achievement among your team members.

You need to keep checking the cohesiveness in your team as it is highly fragile. One conflict or misunderstanding might lead to a collapse.

Greater Goal

greater goal

To keep everyone on the same page, you need to keep reminding them about the greater goal. It is okay if everyone in your team works for their own progress and success. But you need to tell them how important achieving your common goal is.

Connect your goal to a greater good. Shout proudly in your speeches or casual talks that achieving this goal will be crucial for the development of society and also beneficial for mankind.

Hearing this will definitely make your whole team proud of themselves. It is necessary for their self-esteem as it’ll increase their scope of thinking. Knowing that they are working for something bigger will give them the boost they need.

Be Loud and Clear

You know that they don’t call the lion ‘the king of the jungle’ for nothing.

You are their leader and you have the responsibility for everything. So, you need to be loud whether it be a motivational speech or a regular talk with your team member.

You cannot afford to stumble while talking. You need to keep a lion-like image among your team. They should look up to you whenever they need any help.

You should also be clear and straightforward. It is your team so you better clearly assign work and give tasks to your people. Since you’ll be responsible for anything good or bad that happens to your team, better be loud and clear always.

Always Be Humble

Being loud and clear doesn’t give you the right to be rude or arrogant even for once. It simply is unacceptable. The moment you start behaving negatively, you’ll be dragging the entire team down.

Even when your team members are not so humble to you all the time, you need to act in such a way.

Being humble shows a positive attitude. Plus, it encourages your people to practice humility as well.

I understand that you are also a human being who has emotions. Yes, you can be angry but you need to control your negative emotions.

Control your anger by using specific techniques, like counting 1 to 10 in your head. Now, once you have enough self-control, try to be humble as much as possible.

See Also: The Importance Of Emotional Intelligence For A Leader

End on A Good Note

leadership skill

If you’ve ever delivered a speech or did a presentation, you’ll know how crucial it is to end things on a good note.

Just think of someone who is delivering a motivational speech to a crowd and suddenly says ‘Thank you’!

Ending your talks or speech is as important as any other steps of being a leader. You can include any inside jokes which only you and your team can understand. It’ll help ease up any awkward situation and introduce subtle humor.

You can also include any quotes by famous personalities, such as the one below:

“We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope” – Martin Luther King Jr.

What do you think a leader requires to be legendary? Leave in comments down below.

The post Top 7 Ways To Achieve Legendary Level of Leadership appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

5 Ways You Haven’t Considered to Save or Make Money

Everyone needs money to survive, to grow, and to have fun. And Google turns up with more than 9 billion pages if you search for “I need money”!

In the burgeoning gig economy, we have hundreds of opportunities to earn quick money by running errands, walking dogs, selling artwork, and doing freelance work. You already know about them.

In this article, we will talk about simple actionable tips and frugal living ideas.

Frugal eating does not mean unhealthy eating

Most students in college think eating on a budget means shopping at Dollar Tree or Family Dollar, eating Ramen noodles or peanut butter and honey sandwiches, and drinking energy drinks.

This is not what ‘frugal eating’ means.

The cost of eating unhealthy food is way more than what’s printed on the packaging. If you really want to save money on food, drink only water and buy generic and cheap items. Good examples are potatoes, dried beans, and legumes, eggs, sauce, spaghetti etc.

You might also consider exploring your local Asian and Mexican markets as they offer pretty good deals on buying staples, rice, spices, meat or produce in bulk.

A few simple recipes can save you a lot of time and money and keep you healthy.

See Also: 10 Cooking Tips For Beginners To Help You Master The Kitchen

Try online teaching

One edge that online tutoring assignments have is that it allows you to save up on transportation costs. Moreover, you can choose to teach at any time of the day.

3 easy steps to earn as an online tutor are:

● Register yourself as a tutor on a reputed online tutoring website
● Make a good profile and fill-up as many details as you can
● Take up teaching and assignment help gigs that suit your qualifications, skills, and interest areas.

If you want to teach at odd hours, try teaching international students. It will help you widen your scope and give you better exposure to what curricula other countries are following for a particular subject.

Native English speakers can also make good money by teaching English online as a second language to foreign students since they’re always looking for online tutors for high school and competitive exams.

Sell your notes and old books

Once you complete your course or graduate from your school or college, you hardly have any use for your classroom notes or revision notes you prepared. You can sell them online to students who are about to join the course or the level.

Many websites also allow you to sell your old textbooks and guides and get a good amount of your money back. If you use your books gently, you are likely to fetch more while re-selling them.

Similarly, you can sell old clothes and junk from time-to-time to make some quick money and make your living area clutter-free.

TV/Phone/Social media addictions mean losing money

man watching tv

TV, phones, FB, WhatsApp, Instagram, and YouTube eat up a lot of our time. Most people come back from their college or workplace, switch on the TV, and end up wasting hours doing nothing.

The moment you decide to let go of them, you’ll feel calmer and more relaxed. You will also find a lot of extra time to exercise, meet with friends, take up online gigs at micro-services websites, and do other constructive work.

Hours wasted in watching TV or phone literally mean losing hundreds of dollars per week.

Save your $10 notes

Saving money needs discipline and it’s not an easy trait to acquire. However, you may end up saving a lot of money if you keep saving notes of a certain denomination.

Every time, you get a $10 note, stash it up in your ‘saving’ fund. The loss won’t hurt you immediately and you will be able to see your savings grow as your days pass by.

This only works when you deal in cash. If you make digital payments, you may try another variation of this tip. For example, each time you spend $100 or more, put $10 in a separate saving or investment account.

These days, almost everybody is doing a side job along with a full-time college degree course. These tips can help you alleviate your financial woes as a student and work your way to a happy and contented life.

The post 5 Ways You Haven’t Considered to Save or Make Money appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

8 Smart And Easy Tips To Make Moving A Breeze

Regardless of whether you have few or more items, moving is one of the biggest household tasks there is. It consumes both time and effort for both first-time movers and people who frequently move. From preparations to the moving day itself, it can be a tiring job.

In this article, we will tackle some of the best moving tips and hacks I’ve gathered.

Plan

Before you decide on relocating, you should have a plan first. This will help you achieve an efficient moving experience.

Plan about how the moving should be, your new destination, and what to pack. Know where you are relocating and how you are going to move from your house to your new home.

Are you going to hire some help or can you get some help from your friends?

Make a clear and concrete plan.

Research

Assuming that you’ve already had a destination, the next step is to research about it. Regardless of whether it’s a small move or an interstate move, getting information is always a good idea. Check for schools, hospitals, markets, and other things that can help you describe what and how the area is like.

It’s also advisable to check the area’s employment rate. This is crucial for people who are looking for opportunities in other areas. This is also the right time to choose the right home for you, the right town or suburb, and city. You might also want to check the area’s road policies and other community regulations, especially if you’re moving with a pet.

After doing so, you can hire and schedule a moving service from recommended companies. Make sure to choose a removalist with cheap yet outstanding services.

Organize

Let’s say that you’re done with the research and you’re getting excited with relocating. Now, it’s time to organize. If you’re moving to another city, try to visit your new home weeks before the moving day. This is a perfect time for you to allocate and indicate the number of items you’ll need.

Remember that the fewer the boxes, the better. This is because extra moving boxes require additional payment. There are some moving services that provide a set of moving boxes but in a limited number only. Exceeding boxes require additional costs.

Make An Inventory

Make a list of everything you’ll need in your new home. This depends on how big or small your new home is.

It’s always advisable to leave items that can be bought in your new area. These items include a toothbrush, toothpaste, and other toiletries. You can also leave electrical items such as electric razor and blow-dryer.

An inventory can also help you with determining whether you’ve lost an item along the moving process. Make sure to keep your inventory list before and after moving. If you’re taking your furniture, it’s best to ask for professional help. Hire a removalist.

Pack, pack, pack

Packing also means decluttering. Using your inventory list, pack your things in their designated moving boxes. You should have several types of moving boxes designed for specific items.

See Also: The Super Easy Approach to Decluttering your Home

Here’s a list of the types of moving boxes:

Small Moving Box – This type of box is designed for small but heavy items. The idea here is to help an individual carry heavy items in a faster and more efficient method. It’s best for carrying books and small but heavy appliances.

Medium Moving Box – The most versatile type of moving box. This type of box can carry both small and medium size items. It can withstand a weight of over 60 kilograms. It’s the perfect box for clothes, towels, and other small appliances.

Large Moving Box – Don’t be fooled by its name. It might be the largest moving box but you can’t use it to pack heavy items. Large moving boxes are made to carry small and lightweight items.

Specialty Boxes – These moving boxes are designed for specialty items such as furniture, piano, pool table, antique valuables, and jewelry.

It’s advisable to pack your items weeks prior to the moving schedule. This is to prevent last-minute preparations which always lead to stress and delay.

Label Your Boxes

Although it’s not actually necessary, it’s always wise to label your boxes. Labeling your boxes can help your removalist indicate boxes with fragile items and heavy items. This could also help you indicate which box goes to a specific room for a faster unpacking process.

Move

At last, the big day has arrived and it’s time to move!

If you did not hire a removalist but had your items packed well and secured, it’s better to know the simplest way of loading your things in a van. Removalists always say that what comes in first must go out last. This is where box labels come in handy.

Most of the time, it’s the heaviest box that goes in first and goes out last. There are some circumstances where large boxes go in first.

In accordance with this, it’s also recommended to tell your removalist about the details of your area before you move. Tell them the easiest route for their van to park and the most efficient route to carry your valuables. This is to make an organized moving process and to keep it at a smooth yet fast way.

Unpack and You’re Done

 

packing boxes efficientlyEvery moving company offers a pack and unpack service that makes it beneficial for customers. However, if you did not avail this service, chances are you’re going to spend a whole day unpacking and arranging your items.

There’s no problem with unpacking your items by yourself. However, if some of your valuables got damaged in the journey, you’ll have no one to turn to.

Hiring a removalist and availing some of their services promotes a better moving experience. Insurances are present which gives you peace of mind while your items are being transported.

Whether your items got lost or damaged, the removalist will be liable to replace them or give you a refund. This will depend on the item and the type of insurance you’ve purchased.

Overview

An effective moving process starts with a concrete plan. So, it’s wise to plan ahead.

Prepare and organize your things before you start packing. Updating your removalist for assistance or certain changes can also help promote an efficient moving experience.

The post 8 Smart And Easy Tips To Make Moving A Breeze appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

How Weight Training Will Affect You In The Long Run

I never had major struggles with my weight, but there was definitely a period of time where I was somewhat out of shape, lazy, unhealthy and unhappy. Not knowing a whole lot about fitness, I just decided to hit the gym and hope for the best.

When I started going to the gym, it was all about the cardio. I started running on a treadmill, then started using the rowing machine. Both helped me to tone up some, but I found that I still didn’t feel confident in my health and certainly not my strength.

Discovering weight lifting was a revelation for me. I watched the people at the free weights for months before I even dared to try the weight machines. Then, I finally plucked my courage and went over for tips of free weights.

Everything changed for me.

The men and women who lifted were more than happy to give me pointers on moves and form. I developed my own routine over time. I broke goals and out of muscle plateaus and I saw my body change drastically. My health improved to the point where I wouldn’t become sick every time one of my children would bring a cold home.

The Benefits Of Weight Training

What I mentioned above were the short-term benefits of my weight training experiences. But, as it turns out, there are plenty of long-term ones we should also be considering.

Building Better Muscles

This one is probably the most obvious. When you weight train, you are working the muscles in your body. While weight machines will target specific areas and help to build them up, free weights work for more groups all at once and do it more effectively than a machine. That’s why you see more results.

Also, remember that building muscle doesn’t necessarily mean building mass. Many women worry that if they start to lift weights, they will form large muscles. That just isn’t the case. What they will gain is muscle definition and less fat percentage on their overall body.

For those who are looking for mass, lifting heavy and in smaller sets, paired with a high protein diet, can get you there. However, it isn’t a mandatory part of strength training.

Building More Strength

Another given but one that isn’t given nearly as much attention is the strength gains that come with weight lifting. Believe it or not, having large muscles won’t necessarily mean you are that much stronger than the average person.

For instance, someone might have really large arms. But if their lower body doesn’t have an equally strong core, those bulky upper body muscles can leave them unbalanced and less strong overall.

Building Protection

When I was a kid, I hurt my ankle pretty badly in a snowboarding accident. Part of my recovery was a series of exercises as soon as I was out of the cast. It built muscles in my legs, ankles, and thighs.

At the time, I didn’t understand what the rest of my legs had to do with it. Wasn’t it just my ankle that was hurt?

Now, I understand that having more strength in my legs overall meant less pressure on my ankle itself. It was also building a protective layer of muscle near the tendons so I would be less prone to another injury.

Building Up The Bones

As we age, we see a progressive degeneration in our bones and overall skeletal structure. It is an unavoidable part of life, but that doesn’t mean we can’t fend it off as long as possible and reduce its severity.

Research has shown time and again that bone strength and density can be improved with the use of weight training, even in those who already suffer from the effects. It may even turn back the initial stages of osteoporosis.

Building Brain Power

Another risk of age is losing one’s mental faculties, something that most of us fear. Exercise has always been associated with lowering the chances of conditions such as Alzheimer’s, although the process is poorly understood.

One thing we do know is that resistance and weight training have been associated with better neurocognitive functions in elderly males. The study also shows that the sooner this is started, the better. The results were shown on otherwise healthy adult males who had no signs of dementia.

So, if we get our bodies in healthy shape now, we could be saving ourselves from mental decline later on.

Weight Training: A Miracle Workout

There is no doubt about it, weight training is an incredible tool for health. We can use it to keep our bodies healthy now and protect ourselves from age-related illnesses in the future.

While there is nothing wrong with cardio, and in fact, it is an important part of maintaining proper heart health, adding weight training to your routine now will have big payoffs later.

See Also: 20 Tips For Building the Body of Legend Bruce Lee

The post How Weight Training Will Affect You In The Long Run appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

Balancing Your Lifestyle With Your Pet

With the ever-increasing cost of living, one payslip is sometimes not enough for anything beyond putting food on the table. This is why most people often have to work long hours and even weekends. Consequently, finding the perfect work-life balance is a struggle for most of us, which jeopardizes relationships with family, friends, and even pets.

If you’re one of those people, here’s a 5-point guide on how to balance your lifestyle when you are living with pets.

Exercise With Your Pet

You already know that living a sedentary lifestyle can dramatically reduce your lifespan and predispose you to diseases like cancer and diabetes. So, with or without a pet, you should set aside some time to exercise at least thrice per week.

If your free time is not adequate for both exercising and bonding with your pet, you can combine the two for an even better outcome. Take your dog or cat for a walk around the neighborhood every evening or try to fit in a hike on the weekends. Your bond will grow even stronger.

Engaging in these activities sets you towards living a healthy lifestyle that’s beneficial to your health. If you have an active dog, it’s one way to keep it healthy, too.

Don’t Forget About Your Family

Your family needs your love, attention, and presence just as much as your furry, four-legged friend. So, as you make the necessary lifestyle changes with your pet, extend said changes as far as your family is concerned.

For instance, bring your kids along on walks with your pets and use the opportunity to get up to date with their lives. If you have the means and the time, you can also organize outings as a great way to bring the whole family, including the four-legged members, together.

Consider Switching to a Career with Better Work-Life Balance

Sometimes, what you need is not a bunch of lifestyle changes but a complete switch to an alternative lifestyle. And no, we are not suggesting that you start wearing hippie wigs and all that. Instead, consider changing the way you work and live.

For instance, switching your 9-to-5 job for a freelance career will give you a better work-life balance and improve your relationships with your pet and family. Other examples of best careers with good work-life balance as compiled by Forbes include:

  • Corporate Recruiter
  • Data Scientist
  • SEO Manager
  • Mobile Developer

Notably, you may need to undertake additional studies to get a job with better work-life balance, which admittedly and unfortunately is not applicable to everyone.

See Also: 7 Tips to Happy Coworking with Your Pets

Choose a Pet that Fits Your Lifestyle

Some pets require lots of activities while others can do just fine with minimal exercise. It is, therefore, imperative that you consider an animal’s personality and how it fits in your lifestyle before bringing it home.

For instance, if you have no free time on weekdays, you may want to keep off dog breeds like terriers as they need lots of activity to stay healthy. Similarly, if you happen to travel a lot for work and can’t take your dog along, you’ll be better off looking for a breed with an amiable temperament.

The number of kids you have and their ages should also be considered when selecting pets. If your kids are below 5 years, avoid toy breeds like poodles and chihuahuas as they’re known to be too nervous around small kids. Instead, go for bigger breeds like bulldogs.

Nonetheless, toy breeds are amazing if you live a minimalist lifestyle with limited floor space. You’ll need a much larger house if you like breeds such as St. Bernard and Great Dane.

Assess the Costs of the Required Lifestyle Changes

After figuring out the type of pet that fits in your existing lifestyle, the next step is to consider the amount of time and money needed to maintain it. Remember, the key is to balance your lifestyle and your needs without one overwhelming the other.

The costs to consider include:

  • Food expenses
  • Medical costs
  • Toys and accessories
  • Grooming costs
  • Recommended exercise time

For instance, common breeds like Beagle and Chihuahua are manageable even on a limited income. Others, such as Chow Chow and Rottweilers, are a struggle financially and physically. You may also find that small pets are more expensive and difficult to handle than bigger pets.

Conclusion

We all love pets for one reason or another which is why it doesn’t make any sense for either animal or man to have lifestyles that are not in sync. Whatever your professional life is like, strive to create a balance in your life when living with pets. That’s one way to increase the bond between you and your furry companion while also augmenting your lifespan as well.

The post Balancing Your Lifestyle With Your Pet appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

How The Student Loan Bubble Affects The Economy

Surpassing the market value of media giants Microsoft and Facebook combined, the national student loan debt ceiling is coming up on crisis levels. The United States is no stranger to financial disasters; the Great Depression still within living memory, the mistakes of the past are perhaps going unheeded as we approach yet another potential crisis.

Reaching $1.4 trillion, millions of Americans from recent grads to Gen X continue to struggle to make monthly payments. To make it worse, there’s only a lifetime ahead for this to go on.

What’s The Problem With All This Debt?

money management

College graduates leave their hallowed halls of learning with more than just a degree to show for it. On average, recent college grads are in the hole for nearly $30,000 and just ten years to pay it all back.

Monthly payments come out to around $400 a month, not a small amount for fresh-out-of-college graduates. The burden of an extra, hefty bill every month doesn’t just put pressure on an individual’s bank account, it also has huge ramifications for the economy at large. This is especially true since many Americans struggle to make payments.

Millennials are spending less and less on discretionary purchases every year. Average daily spending by 18 to 34-year-olds is down by $19 since 2008. By the time they reach age 30, millennials are less likely to start their own business. 42% are citing that they do not have the financial means to enter entrepreneurship.

It takes a recent college grad, on average, 12 years to save enough for a down payment on a home. Over 80% of people aged 22-35 that have not yet purchased a home blame their student loan debt. On the other hand, 47% of Americans are putting off buying a car. One in seven American couples are waiting to get married as a result of financial roadblocks

From A Drag On The Economy To The Next Bubble

So, how are we going to manage this bubble that’s about to burst?

how to manage money effectively

For those living and struggling with student loan debt, there are options to help make repaying these loans easier and faster. Income-based repayment, rather than fixed repayment base on loan amount plus consolidation options means lower interest rates, lower monthly payments, and avoidance of deferring loans. Deferment rates are highest amongst young and recent graduates, with 26% of millennials and 77% of Gen Zers choosing deferment.

Additionally, American graduates are given just one-third of the time to pay back their student loans in comparison to other countries. Extending the period of time in which to repay loans helps in the short term by lowering monthly payments. It also gives young people more options for saving money and stimulating the economy.

In 2013, Congress made moves that actually lowered the general interest rates for student loans, but these changes were not made immediately available to individuals who had taken loans out prior to the change.

  • Repayment period in the US is ten years; in England, it is 30 years
  • Extending the time provided to pay back loans will lower monthly payments, but may increase interest
  • The pre-2013 rate was 7%; 2018 rate was down to 5.05%. Lowered interest rates even by just a few points can help save the borrower thousands of dollars over time and potentially help pay off loans quicker.

However, some experts agree that it will take more aggressive and even “radical” changes to make lasting progress. This calls for a massive overhaul to not only loan policies but educational standards as well. The outright cancelation of loans, while not entirely unheard of, is rare and only available to certain careers.

Nurses and public school educators have the option to cancel their loans after a period of time. However, canceling all student loan debt could change the game completely. Loan forgiveness would encourage consumers to spend more of their money on economic goods and services, rather than on repaying on debt and interest, to stimulate the economy. On the other hand, it could increase taxes for everyone.

How Could Less Student Loan Debt Affect The Overall Economy?

A step further from loans canceled outright, some experts suggest hitting the issue right at its source is the most effective solution: free public college. Existing in several European countries, the precedent for free college has already been set and acts as a living, working “experiment” in Germany and Denmark.

From Senator Bernie Sanders’s proposed 2017 College for All Act, it was estimated to cost $47 billion per year to manage free college and states. Things are looking up in such states as New York and Tennessee as they’re already working on free tuition for in-state students in public colleges.

Canceling student loan debt would increase GDP by up to $108 billion per year for the next decade. Canceled student loans would add up to 1.5 million jobs into the economy. No tuition costs would dramatically reduce the financial burden of earning a college degree, influencing the economy as a whole.

Learn more about the student loan bubble from this infographic.
Student Loan Debt
Source: Student Loan Review

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How to Meal Prep

While many people can access helpful information on choosing a healthy diet, just a few implement the tips. You should realize that acquiring healthy eating tips is futile if your execution is wanting.

We are not here to accuse you; in fact, we understand the difficulties that you undergo to choose a healthy diet for your family amid your busy schedules. For this reason, this article will give excellent meal prepping tips.

Meal Prepping: What Is It?

Meal prepping is the act of preparing all your meals in advance. You’ll have the opportunity to prepare the meals during your free time. Most importantly, you will have all the time to shop for healthy and unprocessed ingredients.

This exercise will save your time. It’ll also ensure that your family feeds on healthy meals, as opposed to the processed and prepackaged foods which could have undesired health effects.

How Do I Start?

While you may be enthusiastic about this exercise, you should be careful not to be overwhelmed. You shouldn’t start by trying all the new healthy recipes you’ve read about recently. Instead, use the recipes that you’re conversant with and you’ll progressively move to the newer and more complicated ones.

Follow the tips below for successful meal prepping:

Pick your Day

You need to determine the specific day that you’ll prepare your meals. We recommend that you pick a day when you don’t have work!

Most people prefer Sunday and Wednesday to prepare healthy meals for the entire week. You should take charge and independently choose a day that you’re comfortable with.

We recommend that you begin by preparing meals for a few days before you can expand the meal prepping to an entire week.

Pick the Meals

You need to select the meal that you’ll prepare first depending on your needs. A person with a family would give preference to dinner, while a single person may choose breakfast. When choosing, you need to ensure that you prepare meals that are easy to prepare in bulk but slow to prepare a day at a time.

After picking the meals, you need to choose the recipe. While you can cook using a similar recipe, we recommend that you use different recipes for each day.

You should never forget to consider the nutrients composition of each recipe. You’re obliged to ensure that your family gets a balanced diet.

Use Good Containers

This is the foundation of a successful meal prepping plan. Ensure you have separate containers for each type of meal to avoid a mixture that may scare your children.

What is a good container?

Make sure that the container is segmented to allow you to place different meals in different sections. This can help prevent cross-contamination. You can save by buying these in bulk around November, when they often go on sale for Thanksgiving.

Below is a checklist for a food container you should have:

  • Divided and air-tight sections.
  • BPA-free. Never compromise on this requirement! Check the bottom of each container. If it has a triangle with number 7 written in it, then you should avoid it. When it’s BPA-free, you can safely microwave your food.
  • Clear containers. This will enable you to identify the contents easily.
  • Reliable and safe. Your container must be stackable, microwavable, freezer safe, and reusable.

In the Kitchen

Before you become an expert in meal prepping, you should start with a few meals. These tips are helpful in achieving success quickly:

Begin with simple meals. Use meals that are easy to prepare, easy to store, and are freezable. Many starters prefer chicken!

Be ready to multitask. Remember that you’re cooking meals for several days. You will have to launch your multitasking skills to achieve this in a single day. You can use multiple ovens. If you do not have enough utensils and ovens to accommodate multitasking, you may need to shop for the items.

Fruits. Including fruits in your recipe is an excellent way of achieving a balanced diet. You will need to wash different types of fruits, cut them up, and store them just like any other meal.

While this is a great idea, you need to research the effect of certain activities on the fruits’ nutritional value. Cutting some fruits can deplete some nutritional components. Some will be oxidized which will cause undesirable color on the fruit’s surface! As such, you should only implement the ideas that will not affect the nutritional value of the fruit.

The Crockpot. While this may appear obvious, many people ignore it. You can use the appliance to prepare some meals for storage. You can use it for cooking as well as for storing the food.

Bottom Line

This guide offers excellent tips on how to start meal prepping. It’s your duty to research the best recipes to try out in your kitchen. However, you should always ensure that what you feed on is nutritionally balanced and healthy.

The post How to Meal Prep appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

How To Know What Changes You Should Actually Make In Your Life

These days, the internet is full of confusing mixed messages. There is the message of “Be yourself! You’re beautiful no matter what you look like!” Then, there is the message of “You must look this exact way in order to be considered beautiful.”

Neither of those are necessarily true. Beauty is a standard and everyone has his own idea of what that looks like. You don’t meet everyone’s criteria and not everyone meets your criteria. That’s just how the world works.

This makes personal improvements tricky. When we hear things like “get in shape” or “get dressed up” or anything relating to becoming beautiful, our minds often go straight to models of some kind, whether Instagram or Victoria’s Secret.

We’re often overwhelmed by what we want to change about ourselves. We want to be perfect, but no one is perfect. We don’t like ourselves, but we don’t know what or how to change what we don’t like.

Instead of saying to yourself, “I want to be beautiful. I want to be skinnier. I want to be happier. I want to look like a Kardashian”, ask yourself this: What does being the best version of yourself look like?

This question takes all outward influences out of the picture. You don’t have to look like the models you see everywhere you look and you don’t need to look like anyone else. You can look like you.

Being The Best Version of Yourself

The best version of you might be ten pounds lighter or ten pounds heavier. You might have zit-free skin or you might have the perfect winged eyeliner look.

Maybe you drink more water and eat more bacon. Maybe you write in your notebook every day or smile at strangers more often. Or maybe you give your friends gifts more often or call your parents more. Perhaps you go out only Saturday nights, instead of Friday through Sunday. Maybe you finally do that thing you’ve been dreaming about for months.

People will still have their judgement to pass on you, even when you’re steadily working to better yourself. If you listen to them at all, take what they say with a grain of salt. What you do does not concern them and your happiness does not rely on them.

The important thing is to remember that you don’t look like anyone else, inside and out. There is a “best version” of yourself in you somewhere, even if sometimes it’s hard to find. Think about what you want to see from yourself, not what anyone else might want to see.

See Also: 3 Things That Can Help You Start Being Your Best Self

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How to Overcome Emotional Abuse

Emotional abuse isn’t the easiest thing to deal with. Compared with physical abuse, it leaves pain that lasts for a longer time. It creates a lot of grief and unhappiness that tend to torture the victim every single day.

Emotional abuse happens when the other party erodes your sense of self esteem and literally, has a hold over your mind. Your sense of self worth shrinks so much that you no longer dare to challenge what is being said about you. You believe in their stories.

Unfortunately, most of them are not true to begin with.

Your partner spins a web of lies to control your behavior and for his own selfish motives. It is possible that he has an inferiority complex to begin with.

Perhaps, there comes a time when you decide that enough is enough. You refuse to be held hostage by your mental torture and you want to move on. Fortunately, it is possible to overcome emotional abuse and regain the confidence and control that you may have lost to an abusive partner.

Here’s how:

Dissociate from the past

There is no point lamenting about what has happened in the past. It is over.

However, you shouldn’t deny it either. Just accept that it has happened and that you are now on the road to emotional health. You may not have exercised control over your past but you can take charge over your own future from now on.

Look at the past as lessons that point out what you no longer want for yourself. Admittedly, it will take time to heal from the emotional trauma caused by an abuser but gradually, you will discover an inner strength and resilience to build a bright future. A change in environment may be helpful for you to de-associate from your past.

Build self-esteem

Abusers are constantly hacking away at your self-esteem. When you come out of an abusive relationship, it is essential that you rebuild your sense of self-worth. You need to recognize that you can be strong and capable of independent thought.

Surrounding yourself with people who value you is an important part of the healing process. Form your own support group or join an online community that helps support its members to gain strength. It is vital that you remember what makes you a unique and valuable person.

See Also: Feeling Low? These 7 Mental Hacks Will Help Boost Your Self-Esteem

You hold the power

Emotional abusers do what they do to gain power over you. Consequently, you feel that you are being controlled and watched over every single movement that you make.

You fear making decisions. In fact, you find it difficult to make one without consulting your partner. You lose confidence in your own abilities and you feel incapable of rational thinking.

The important thing is to understand that you are the only person who has power over yourself. One reason why you have been subjected to emotional abuse is that you have handed your power over to your partner.

In reality, no one can make you do anything if you do not let it happen. Realize that only you hold the power. Look for ways to empower yourself.

You know what is right for you

how to deal with depression

You are the only person who knows what is best for you. An emotional abuser will want you to make decisions that are self serving for his or her interest. However, such a decision may not be in line with yours. As much as you care for a harmonious relationship, you need to take an alternate decision if your inner knowing tells you otherwise.

Hence, it is your job to take care of your own needs. It is not about being selfish, but about establishing certain boundaries. No one leads your life for you. Do what feels right. Trust your intuition.

You can only control yourself

One reason that many women stay in abusive relationships is because they think they can help their partner change. Time will lapse and they would find that they remain stuck and with no signs of improvement in their partner.

The truth is that you cannot make anyone change. You can only control the way you react to them. So, focus on improving your own life. In doing this, you will discover your own self worth. You can then decide whether or not your partner is compatible with your new lifestyle.

Spend Time Setting boundaries and expectations

People often expect a speedy recovery after being in an abusive relationship. If they do not allow themselves enough time to heal, they will often fall into another abusive relationship.

It is clear to see that they have not learnt their lessons. They continue to attract the same kind of relationships that have them feeling needy.

Hence, it is important that you spend time setting boundaries and expectations for treatment in future relationships before diving into a new one. Commit to a decision that you do not want to enter into any unhealthy liaisons any more.

If you are clear in what you want, you are more likely to attract a loving and kind partner, unlike the one that you have been used to.

Do what makes you feel good

Initially, you will feel free from coming out of an abusive relationship. However, you may start to experience insecurity because you do not know how to occupy your time. For this reason, it is important that you do not hang around by your phone, hoping that your partner will call and beg for forgiveness.

how to be happy everyday

Instead, find things to do that makes you feel happy. Take a class or pick up a hobby. Try to recall what it is that you have always wanted to explore. With no one telling you what to do or holding you back, the possibilities are endless.

Conclusion

It is important to have a vision of who you would like to become once you have regained control of your life. If it helps, look for role models. No longer will you be controlled without your permission. Most definitely, do what it takes to gain a sense of self empowerment.

Do not be afraid to ask for assistance from others either. You need time to heal and getting some form of support is always a good idea. You have the choice to make things right. Your future is bright; do not let anyone take that away from you!

See Also: The Ultimate Stepping Stone to Personal Freedom

Written by Evelyn Lim, a certified NLP practitioner and life coach. She wants to be rich, not only monetarily, but in life, love, health, etc. Visit her popular blog at Attraction Mind Map.

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How to Remove Skin Tags with Duct Tape

Skin tags can be quite embarrassing.

Also known as acrochordons, they are the small flaps of skin that appear on the body. People who are very young, very old, pregnant, and diabetic are more prone to developing them. While they are typically harmless, they aren’t that pleasant to look at.

If you have a few skin tags and you’re thinking of removing them, you can get them surgically removed. There are also a couple of home remedies you can try. Among those remedies, the use of duct tape for skin tag removal is probably the most popular one. After all, it’s cheap and it just works!

Below is a step-by-step guide you’ll find handy in removing those stubborn skin tags

Gather your supplies

In this case, they are simple. All you need is a skin tag, or more than one, and a roll of duct tape.

Wash and dry your skin completely before covering the area around it with a piece of duct tape.

Smooth it completely to ensure that there are no bubbles or wrinkles that will let air into the area. The theory behind duct tape removal is that it suffocates the skin underneath, causing the skin tag to die. Because of this, it’s a good idea to not make the tape around the tag too big, so that the skin you want to keep isn’t damaged in the process.

Wait until the tape begins to loosen, then check the skin tag

If it is still alive, it will remain attached. If it is not, it will fall off. If one round of duct tape doesn’t work, replace it with a fresh piece after washing and drying the area again. Do this until the skin tag finally does fall off.

If you want to speed the process, try a second method to help move things along

Some popular choices include painting the skin tag with nail polish to suffocate it and tying a string around the base of the skin tag as tight as you can. Do this before placing the duct tape to the skin tag. Repeat it each time that you replace your piece of tape.

A Word of Caution

Though this may work the first time, sometimes it takes multiple times to work. If your skin tags grew while you were pregnant or ill and you are now healthy, they are unlikely to return. If you are in the same health as you were when they grew, they may return.

See Also: How to Get Flawless Skin: The Best Tips You Should Know By Now

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How Toys Can Boost Your Child’s Development

How a child views their world starts from the arms of their caretakers. Their views are closely guarded with what you put in front of them. From the time they are in your womb until the end of their teens, they act like a sponge — absorbing everything around them and creating impressions that suit their mind.

This thing can be a boon and a bane in differing situations. However, if you do build the foundations strong, you would be able to inculcate the good values of being human into your child.

Nurturing them into a healthy and responsible adult is what all parents and caretakers want. If you identify yourself with this role, then read on to know how you can use toys as an important child development tool to pave a better way for them in the future.

Let’s explore how toys and child development are related:

Children learn more by playing than studying

This is why most of the playschools adopt a mix of play and learn to teach kids and it works!

Children who enjoy what they are doing learn more out of their activities rather than handing them a book and expecting them to absorb it all.

Visuals triumph over text

Yes, you might find that your child likes to read but they would enjoy something more visual. Be it pictures, videos or any brightly colored toy, they interact with visuals more.

This is why most of the toys aimed at kids are brightly colored. It helps them identify colors and things.

Toys enhance motor skills

When they play with something that would make them get up and play, they develop healthy motor skills. This would help them be active which is what their growing body needs. The more they play, the more enhanced their hand-to-eye coordination will become.

So, get them balls and doll prams that will get them moving. Find them at BabyUniqueCorn.

Toys enhance cognitive skills

Toy puzzles help children in their cognitive skills. The very challenge of figuring it out themselves enables them to become critical thinkers. Rather than throwing a book on them now, give them interesting and fun toy puzzles.

They help them understand relations

Children understand relations through role-playing. They look around their home environment and enact the same with their toys. They role-play with their toys and playmates to imitate what they observe.

Make sure you leave a good impression on them so that they understand the essence of relationships. Play with them sometimes to also guide them.

They help them understand the society

When you get them toys that represent a profession, they would be able to understand society little by little. With role-playing, they would understand the process, decorum, and manners that go with it.

Toys are instrumental in developing that attitude and learning curve. Make sure you have adequate toys that would develop their mental health.

It helps them express themselves

Toys, especially the ones they identify with, become instrumental in helping them to express themselves. Talking to themselves or personifying toys is a healthy way on how they express and understand themselves.

These internal monologues, which they express overtly, are a sign of healthy self-expression. Give them the toys, some colors, and a sketching pad and see their thoughts on canvas.

They generate stereotypes

Society and media mirror each other so much that sometimes it is difficult to tell them apart. Some toy manufacturers infamously generate negative body image or impose gender roles on the impressionable minds of the children.

Therefore, try to avoid toys that heavily stereotype people into specific roles. Instead, give them neutral toys that would help them understand that they are not defined by their gender but by their ability.

One study found that feminine toys enhance nurturing and caring personas through role-playing. The same study also found that such toys reinforce unnecessary obsession with external standards of beauty and lowers logical and mathematical skills.

In contrast, masculine toys or toys endorsed for boys promote aggression and violence but enhance spatial skills and logical skills.

So, the only way to break away from it would be to identify such toys and make sure you never purchase them. Get your children both types of toys. Expose them to empathy and balance in emotions and skills. Promote kindness and talent with the right toys!

Toys teach them about possession, maintenance, and sharing

When you gift your child with some toys, you are teaching him how to value them. In the process, he learns about possession and maintenance. It teaches your kid that if he fails to take care of his toys, he’ll lose or break them.

Apart from that, it teaches kids how to share and encourage their friends to care for their toys, too.

The toys you give your kids make a difference in the way they develop. Make sure you supervise what comes into your house and how your child interacts with it.

See Also: Connecting With Your Child: 5 Things You Can Do To Stay Close Despite Your Work

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5 Simple Tweaks to Make Your Home More Attractive

Designing or furnishing a home is never an easy task. In fact, it can get taxing most of the time, particularly for people who have no idea how to make a house beautiful and attractive.

Fortunately, there are a lot of ways to give your home the look you desire. You don’t need to break the bank right away to get that dream aesthetics for your home. There are free and practical resources offline and online that you can use as references for your home improvement project.

That said, here’s a list of top 5 doable and easy tweaks you can do to make your home look more attractive.

Be Creative

If you want to add details in your home but can’t afford to buy expensive materials, you can create your own decors to make your home look more presentable. If you’re into paintings but has no budget, you can try doing some art on your own. All you need is a big canvas and some paint to make beautiful paintings.

DIY decors can lessen expenses and it allows you to discover new things that could upgrade the look of your home.

Elegant Look

Some people want to have that glamorous look in their home that they willingly buy expensive things. If you have the budget for it, then you should consider adding furniture to give more life to your home.

One good example is a coffee table. It gives out that elegant vibe because of its structure. It’s also handy, especially if you have a lot of visitors coming to your house every day.

Nature’s Essence

Natural things are always health-friendly.

If you’re a nature lover by heart, then you should try putting up plants. They can give your home that natural and warm vibe.

Besides, having plants inside your home has a lot of benefits. For one, they can clean the air inside by removing toxic vapors.

Keep It Simple

Some people who live in apartments have trouble when it comes to spaces. Most apartments are designed with a limited floor area. Hence, it’s challenging to store and sort your belongings, particularly the bulky ones. Adding wall shelving can be a big help.

It doesn’t have to be expensive. You just need the right materials for you to make one. You can also ask local carpenters for tips.

Make It Look Big

If you have a small room and you want to make it look bigger, then you should try adding a big mirror inside your room. It’s recommended that you buy floor length mirrors to incorporate a spacious, open atmosphere.

Adding dimension to the room can also be done by positioning a mirror near the window where it can catch some light. By doing it, you would be able to make your room look bigger and broader.

Thinking of getting one? You can try searching for sites such as Craigslist and other online stores.

Takeaway

Buying new things or just repainting your home to make it look more attractive can be a great deal of fun. But, if you want to stick to what the experts have to say and you have the budget, consult your local contractor or someone with interior design expertise.

See Also: Top 11 Ways On How to Increase Your Home Value

The post 5 Simple Tweaks to Make Your Home More Attractive appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

Why Drinking Soda Is Bad for Your Health

Guzzling down one can of soda over another might be great for your taste buds but it can severely damage your health. Regardless, today’s youth is still obsessed with these sugary beverages. We’ve formed a habit of drinking a can almost every day to beat the heat or just because dinner is incomplete without it.

Not only does soda bring along zero nutritional benefits but the drink is filled with chemicals. The high content of caffeine and sugar in these beverages gives them an addictive quality. However, even if you feel you are hooked to the habit of overdosing on soda, it’s not like there is no redemption for you. You can kick the habit and reduce excess intake of these fizzy drinks.

If you are still not ready to ditch the habit, here are some great reasons why you should.

It raises the risk of getting overweight

Soda can make you fat.

These drinks contain sweetening agents that result in spiking glucose levels. Even diet soft drinks don’t cut down this risk. Their artificial sugar content just makes you feel increasingly aware of your sweet tooth.

Soda doesn’t keep your appetite suppressed for long. It ultimately leads to more cravings and exhaustion.

It can cause diabetes

Who wants to live the rest of his life avoiding delicious foods only because his health is at constant risk?

Diabetic patients are forced to live like this. Soda can take the risk of diabetes type 2 up in men by 26%. It can also cause metabolic syndrome to develop as well.

Did you know these soft drinks exceed the limit of sugar intake set by WHO?

It can cause heart disease and stroke

Soda can raise bad cholesterol levels, triglyceride markers, and also blood pressure. This all increases the chances of being inflicted by ailments of the heart. Since soft drinks can cause weight gain, this can alert the liver to produce even more cholesterol. A study found that a single serving of soda could take the risk of stroke up by 10%.

It puts your kidneys at risk

Excess intake of soda can harm kidney functionality. A study by Harvard Medical School carried out on more than 3000 women concluded that diet cola can snowball the risk of kidney decline by two times.

Soda can cause kidney stones and kidney-related diseases because it contains high amounts of phosphoric acid fructose corn syrup.

It makes you age before time

Sodas don’t only make you stack on additional pounds, but they can also cause premature aging. Research says that people who consumed sugar-based beverages had shorter telomeres. Shorter telomeres equate to slow cell regeneration which means faster aging. Soda intake is accompanied by several health risks which can also shorten one’s lifespan.

It can damage your bones

If you are an avid soda drinker, know that it can cause osteoporosis. The high phosphoric acid content in most colas forces the body to draw out alkalizing calcium compounds from bones.

This increases the risk of fractures as well. Drinking sodas a lot can also decrease bone density. Studies show that teenage girls who consumed acidic soda faced 3 to 5 times more fractures.

It can cause tooth decay

No one wants a druggie’s smile, yet no one is ready to sacrifice soda intake. Academy of General Dentistry says that regular soda consumption can lead to tooth erosion similar to that caused by illegal drugs. The acid in the drink harms the enamel and depletes minerals. It can lead your teeth to rot. Unfortunately, damaged teeth don’t heal as bones do.

Some healthy alternatives to soda

The adverse impacts of regular soda intake on your health are vast. With this in mind, you must reduce your intake of sugar-sweetened beverages that offer no nutritional value. You might be thinking what options you’ll be left with if you remove soda from your diet. There are actually plenty of options.

Switch to natural, homemade alternatives. Iced tea, sparkling water, fruit-infused water, coconut juice, plus homemade healthier sprite and sodas are some options you can explore. These are not chemical-filled and hold better nutrition for you. However, don’t forget to follow the moderation mantra.

Conclusion

At first, you may find it difficult to leave soda at once, but slowly and gradually, you’ll be able to get rid of the habit. However, it’s not necessary that you don’t drink a can ever in your life — just don’t be an addict to it. As Heather Mangieri, owner of a nutrition consulting business says, “If you’re drinking one soda on occasion … that doesn’t equate to it being necessarily unhealthy.”

Therefore, devouring soda once in a blue moon shouldn’t be a problem.

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Fake Productivity vs Real Productivity

Putting in work or “hustling” is the most widespread maxim for success in the world of entrepreneurship. But the question is this: Are you really being productive with your time or is your work merely a heightened form of procrastination?

The three levels of productivity:

The first level of productivity is outright procrastination

It is zero productivity. It’s neglecting your priorities and responsibilities in lieu of the dopamine rush of a Netflix series or a video game. Procrastination is a killer of success and deserves no further mention.

The second level of productivity is work

However, it is not productive work but it is the work you use as an alibi against procrastination. It is cover-up work.

When you are engaged in cover-up work, it may seem like you are being productive and putting in the sweat necessary for success. In reality, you are running a hamster wheel, making no discernible progress.

An example of cover-up work is the salesman who is making 100 sales pitches every single day, closing one. His approach is self-pitying and self-centered. Rather than focusing on the potential customer, he focuses on his own deep desire to sell. His egocentric mindset shines like a flare gun.

Nevertheless, the salesman sits at his laptop in the evening and posts on Twitter “Putting in work! The hustle is real!”

People engage in cover-up work to feel better about their lack of progress. If you are doing cover-up work, you are stuck in your comfort zone.

The third level of productivity is the only work that will take a person towards their entrepreneurial aspirations

It is level-up work at the very top of the productivity pyramid

Let’s examine.

Level-up work means doing the tedious work. It means digging up the roots, getting dirty, and planting new seeds. It means dealing with the grit. Real productivity is hardly exciting.

If the aforementioned salesman engages in level-up work, he will spend his evenings learning about human psychology. He will start going from house to house and website to website to learn about his customer base. He starts reading books and magazines that help to increase his social acuity. As his knowledge expands, his percentage of converted customers increases exponentially. Rather than closing one out of 100 cold-calls, he closes 10 out of 20.

Level-up work requires spending unromantic hours in your room filling your head with all the knowledge that you will require in your field and then some. It means building the backbone of your business. It means becoming more than your next competitor. In the end, it is the only path towards true success.

To engage in real productivity, start mastering level-up work: Become more than your competition. Be smarter, better practiced, more up-to-date. Put in the hours that matter.

See Also: 6 Strategies to Increase Productivity in the Workplace

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How to Take Care of Your Garden in Winter

Don’t let the winter ruin the beauty of your garden. Take care of it using the tips you can read in the following section. Maintaining your garden in this cold season, after all, can also prepare it for when spring and summer come.

So, if you’re ready, let’s begin highlighting the things you can do to maintain your winter garden.

Removing spent plants

Cleaning up finished and rotting plants is one of the best ways to keep your garden healthy in the winter. Removing old plants will not only tidy it up but also prevent the spread of fungi, pests, and diseases.

Getting rid of spent plants and then burying those disease-free finished plants can prevent most garden pests from spreading when the spring comes. In addition, burying them will also improve soil health as they can add organic matter to it.

Pruning in winter

Pruning helps remove dead plant in order to promote the growth of larger shoots for the coming growth season.

When pruning shrubs and flowering trees, you must prune the autumn and summer flowering shrubs and trees in the early spring and late winter. You must also prune those when their flowers started fading.

Also, you should be pruning deciduous plants for their spring re-growth because many of them are inactive or dormant in the winter. And as the foliage of the plants is gone, it is easier and faster to see their shape.

For best results, keep the following in mind:

  • You should first prune out diseased or dead branches.
  • You must also consider pruning on a dry day.
  • In order to increase both the air and the light at a tree’s crown, you should remove smaller and overgrown branches.
  • Also, don’t remove the branches that keep the tree’s structure and that are developing.
  • You should also cut branches at the part wherein a twig or branch is attaching to another.

Planting bulbs

This winter, you should also learn how to divide and plant bulbs.

Bulbs, including daffodils and tulips, should be planted early in the winter because they require much time before blooming in the spring. These bulbs also need cool temperatures which can speed up their flowering.

For fall-planted bulbs, you should soak them in warm water for 12 hours before planting them, especially for tunicate-type bulbs that have teardrop-shaped or enclosed, round bulbs. However, this method is not suitable for lilies and other bulbs with fleshy scales.

By soaking them, the bulbs will absorb enough water to grow fast, saving you three weeks of time, especially if you’re in a northern climate location. Divide and then fertilize the bulbs to promote their blooming.

For bulbs that have few or no flowers, you might want to divide or fertilize them first. You can also consider using slow-release bulb fertilizers to keep its effectiveness in the early spring.

Planning Ahead

Use these tips to prepare your garden for the next gardening season. These tips will improve your yields in the end aside from helping you keep a lovely garden in the spring and the summer.

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9 Immediate Tips To Stay Focused on Your Goals

Honestly, do you still remember the new year’s resolutions you set at the beginning of this year? How are you faring in them right now?

If you’re like most people, chances are you’ve long abandoned those goals. Some of you may not even recall the goals you have set and that’s really unfortunate.

Goal setting works and it has never failed anyone. The only reason why goals would stop working is because the person who has set them chose to give up on them mid-way.

During the past few years, I’ve been working relentlessly on my goals – be it blogging, setting up my new business, improving my diet, losing weight, making like-minded friends, improving my relationship with my parents, and so on.

Over the course of the past 2.5 years, I’ve made significant progress on those goals.

For example, I lost about 7 to 8 kgs this year. Currently, I am at my desired weight. I’ve switched from an unhealthy, junk food diet to a healthy, vegan diet which I’m proud of.

I created my personal development blog and built it from 2 readers a day (me and my good friend) to over 600k page views/month, making it one of the top personal development blogs online. I’ve created a successful business out of my passion in personal development and am earning a steady, passive income from it.

I resolved a deep-seated emotional eating issue which I’ve been struggling with the past decade. My previously sour relationship with my parents has dramatically improved for the better in the past 2 months.

I’m not sharing the above to distance myself from you or to put myself on a pedestal. It’s quite the opposite. I’m sharing the above to let you know that because I’ve achieved my goals, you can achieve your goals, too- no matter what they are. It’s all a matter of staying focused.

If you constantly get distracted in your goal pursuits, here are 8 tips I have for you to stay focused:

Concentrate on 1 to 3 goals

If you constantly have trouble sticking to your goals, maybe you’re spreading yourself too thin. Pick 1 to 3 goals that are most important to you and stick to them. Don’t bother yourself with any other goals until these goals are achieved or unless your priorities shift.

focus on one goal

For me, my top priority goal is to reach out to more people through my blog. So, I ensure all my daily actions ladder up to this one goal. Majority of my time in the week is spent either writing new articles for the blog, maintaining my Facebook and twitter account, maintaining the blog and forums, processing my emails or creating upcoming plans. If I’m caught up with something else for a long period of time, it’s a cue to me that I’m off-track.

Such laser focus has allowed me to make much more progress, compared to when I juggle across 4 to 5 goals and make little progress in them.

Create a vision board

A vision board is a collage of pictures and images that represent your goals and dreams. Creating a vision board helps you to visualize your end goals more clearly. Inevitably, it will inspire you to take consistent action. It also serves to remind you of your goals every day when you see the board.

I’ve a vision board in my bedroom which I see every time I’m in my room. Every time I see my board, it reinforces my goals to me and reminds me to take action and move forward. 

If you’ve yet to create your vision board, I’ve created a video tutorial which you may find helpful. You can watch it if you want to know how to create your vision board.

Create milestones

If you just set one huge goal, it can be discouraging, especially when you don’t achieve it after a short while. When that happens, some people may procrastinate on the goal altogether which is quite unfortunate.

identifying one goal

I find it helpful to break a big goal into smaller goals. Just like when you go on a long road-trip, you set pit-stops to rest/recuperate throughout the trip. 

Create a plan

If you have a plan worked out for your goal, it becomes much easier to stick to it. All you have to do is to follow the actions you have planned for the day. The best time to work out your plan is when you set the goal because that’s when your motivation is the highest.

Usually, I create my goal action plans right after I set my goal. I take action immediately and that helps create a positive momentum. 

Track your results

It’s important for me to track the results of what I do because otherwise, it feels like my actions are not making a difference. Hence, every time I work on a goal, I will identify 1 to 2 performance metrics, then track those metrics daily/weekly.

They are my connection to the end goal because they let me know whether I’m on track or off track. They let me know whether to tweak my actions or not. 

Have goal buddies

Goal buddies are people who share similar goals with you. They help to remind you about your goal, spur you on when you feel unmotivated, give you new ideas on how to achieve your goal, keep you on track, among others. Your goal buddies can be your friends or people whom you meet in interest groups. Since you already share similar interests, it’ll be easy to find people with the same goals.

Start a journal documenting your goal pursuit

Having a blog or private diary to document your goals can be a therapeutic experience. A lot of times, we abandon our goals because we get frustrated mid-way and we are not sure what to do about that.

However, when we write out our thoughts, it helps us to get clarity on our issues and renews our interest in the goal. Many readers at my blog created their life journals in the blog forums and have found that to be tremendously helpful in keeping them focused on their goals. 

Be clear on why you’re pursuing the goals

If you keep giving up on your goals halfway, perhaps you were never serious in them to begin with. For me, if I’m really serious about a goal, I’d never give up on it – I’d keep hammering away at it, regardless of the obstacles, until they give way and I’m enjoying the fruits of my labor. 

I once had a coaching client who would embark on many new business ventures only to stop within the first 2 to 3 months. He never knew why.

When I drilled into the issue with him, he found out it was because he just wanted to start a business to earn money. Well, he was already earning good money with his current job and that gave hi little reason to move out of his comfort zone.

After that, I recommended him to identify a business idea which he was truly passionate about and he did. Today, he has been working on this same business for the past 1.5 years, the longest he has ever kept to a business venture.

Learn to say no

Do you often put your goals aside for other people?

It’s okay to do that once or twice but if you keep doing the whole time, something is seriously wrong. You can’t forever put your life on hold for others!

I used to have trouble saying no to others. That’s until I realized I was just doing myself and my dreams a disfavor when I say yes to something that’s not what I want. Learn how to say no and you may find a bigger pot of gold at the end of this rainbow.

Check out my related posts at Dumb Little Man that will help you stay on track in your goals:

Written by Celestine Chua, a writer at Personal Excellence where she shares her best advice on how to achieve personal excellence and live your best life. Get her RSS feed directly and add her on Twitter @celestinechua. If you like this article, you will enjoy one of her top articles: 101 Things To Do Before You Die.

Photo Credit: lululemon athletica

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Alien Landscapes: Places on Earth You Should Totally See

Planet Earth has more than its share of magnificent spectacles, many of which tourists queue to see. Earthly wonders like the Niagara Falls and spectacular man-made miracles such as Egypt’s pyramids are fascinating for sure, but they keep our feet and imaginations planted firmly on the familiar ground. Postcards, textbooks, and holiday brochures make us feel we’ve seen these sights before even when we haven’t.

But we needn’t venture too far off the beaten track to encounter some truly alien landscapes right here on Earth. Our planet is home to bizarre and magical sights which would seem perfectly at home in a sci-fi movie or gothic fairy tale. Jagged mountain ranges shrouded in fog, gaping holes churning with molten lava — these are mysterious places that can stir your soul.

Marble Caves, Chile

via The Times

The hypnotic swirling patterns which adorn the walls of the Marble Caves have been formed over thousands of years as wind and water chiseled away at the rock face.

Known locally as ‘The Marble Cathedral’, its space has an ethereal quality caused by the plunging shards of rock, which looks like it’s been painted with a cosmic paintbrush. Experience the glorious cavern on a boat trip with winds beneath the voluptuous blue rock.

The Singing Sands of Liwa, UAE

via Expedia

As wind and heat combine, the desolate sand dunes of Liwa in the United Arab Emirates vibrate. And with their frantic movement, it creates a haunting song. The low-pitched wail seems to emanate from the entire desert.

To be surrounded by this choral hum is to be transported to another place and time. With the dunes undulating before you in shades of peach and gold, the roar of the sands is a rousing soundscape that will make the scorching desert impossible to forget.

Abraham Lake, Canada

via Feel The Planet

Nestled snugly in the Canadian Rocky Mountains, Abraham Lake might look stunning, but it can be as dangerous as it is bewitching. With frozen bubbles suspended just below the water’s surface, the Lake appears like a scene from Alice in Wonderland.

The icy orbs, however, are actually pockets of trapped methane gas which is highly flammable. At a distance, these bubbles resemble frosty lily pads or jellyfish frozen in time beneath the lake’s glassy surface.

Tianzi Mountain, China

via World Atlas

These ragged peaks of rock are often wrapped in a dense grey fog, so the shards stick up like cacti on some faraway misty planet. Sedimentary rock was eroded over millions of years, leaving craggy formations of quartz sandstone towering in the gloom.

It created an alien landscape that was otherworldly enough to inspire the floating Hallelujah mountains on the planet ‘Pandora’ in James Cameron’s blockbuster movie, Avatar. The giant mountains reach a peak of more than 1,200 metres and are considered sacred by local communities.

The ‘Gates of Hell’, Turkmenistan

via The Times

The churning Darvaza gas crater, found in the Karakum Desert of Turkmenistan, is a fiery field of natural gas. A Soviet drilling operation opened an underground cavern in the 1970s. It has been known locally as the ‘Gates of Hell’ ever since.

When the rig collapsed, engineers set fire to the gas lake. They hoped that it would burn off in a few months. Almost 50 years later and it’s still going strong. Filled with scalding gases and glowing orange embers, the crater certainly looks like the fiery entrance to Hades and must be seen to be believed.

Grand Prismatic Springs, USA

via Independent

The third largest hot spring in the world has rainbow-striped layers of color. It’s caused by layers of microbial organisms around the edges of the mineral-rich pool.

Ranging from a spellbinding turquoise to a deep, hypnotic green, the central pool is wrapped in rings of yellow and red, depending on what time of year you visit. Surrounded by lush alpine forests, the spring is an unexpected drop of otherworldly color against a picture postcard backdrop.

Cappadocia, Turkey

via Wikipedia

The pastel skies and peculiar clusters of rock in Turkey’s Cappadocia make it a mesmerizing spot like no other. With tall spires of rock known to locals as the ‘Chimneys of Fairies’, the landscape will set your imagination free and you can see how the area has inspired myths and folklore passed from one generation to the next.

If the unfamiliar landscapes weren’t enough, a gentle shoal of hot-air balloons floating across the sky at sunset should do the trick. The mounds of autumnal colored earth and stone are actually home to a huge community of around 10,000 people. They have built underground dwellings in this magical terrain.

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How to Effectively Remove Mold From Your House

Molds aren’t just eyesores; they’re a threat to your health and property. Molds can cause allergic reactions which can be dangerous in rare cases. They can also cause damage to your property, including your clothes, furniture, wood, floors, and just about anything else they come in contact with. If left unattended, the damage can be so great that you’ll have to spend a huge amount of money.

Mold Truths: The Real Reasons For Mold Growth

clean dishwasher

Moisture is the main culprit in mold growth and development, this much we know. But what we probably don’t realize is that the very things we do every day can put us at risk for mold infestation. This includes washing, bathing, and cooking.

Even the very act of breathing gets some moisture in the air. The same thing happens with humidity because it allows moisture to form when the air is trapped and unable to circulate well.

Where Molds Lurk: Places and Things In Your Home To Check For Molds

When considering the possibility of mold infestation, the first things you’ll probably be looking out for are leaks. But remember, moisture can develop in any place where there’s a water source. It can happen even if there are no leaks and where there’s too much humidity.

Your kitchen is at risk and so are your bathrooms and your bedrooms. Molds can easily find their way on kitchen counters, chopping boards, shower mats, and even your children’s toys. Attics, cabinets, basements, and other enclosed spaces in your home are likely to become breeding grounds for molds as well.

Large-Scale Mold Infestation: When Professional Help Is Necessary

Mold infestation comes in all sizes and shapes and how you must deal with it depends on how big or small the area infested is. For example, if the area infested is less than 10 square feet, the size is considered small enough that you can do the cleanup yourself.

But if the infested area is bigger than that, it’s a lot wiser to get a professional mold remediation team to do the job. Why?

It’s because a large-scale infestation means a much bigger damage than your eyes can see. Mold specialists can spot problems our untrained eyes can’t. Moreover, they have the right equipment and the right techniques not only to remove all traces of molds but to keep them from coming back. They can repair the damage, too.

Moisture Control: A Key To Preventing Mold Infestation

Since moisture is the reason for mold growth, controlling moisture, therefore, is the most obvious key to keeping mold infestation at bay.

Begin by identifying risk areas in your home. As mentioned previously, these typically include your kitchen, bathrooms, bedrooms, attic, closets, basement, and so on. Keep these areas dry at all times.

If flood is the cause for waters having gotten into your basement, dry your floors and walls as soon as the waters have subsided. If your carpet is soaked in water, hang it out to dry.

After you’re done showering or bathing, make it a habit to wipe the floors dry. In enclosed spaces where ventilation is poor, running a humidifier can help control the humidity and keep the molds out of the way.

Home Products For Molds: Get Rid Of Molds With Stuff You Have At Home

If attempts to control moisture are not enough and molds manage to get their way into your home, don’t fret. If it’s a fairly new infestation involving a small area, a basic cleanup with products you already have at home is usually all it takes to remove the molds.

You can use bleach, vinegar, tea tree oil, hydrogen peroxide, and baking soda to get the molds out and disinfect the area. If you have disinfecting wipes, you can also use them to clean your mold-infested counters.

All these work so well to remove the molds while they’re still small. Remember, molds multiply very quickly. If you take action at the first signs of mold infestation, they’re less likely to cause a bigger problem.

Removing Molds Off Painted Walls: Tips and Tricks

Molds on painted walls are visually annoying. To remove them effectively without damaging your paint in the process, try using the milder forms of cleaning solutions. Rubbing a mixture of vinegar, borax, and water on the walls usually gets the job done.

white-vinegar

Still, you need to exercise caution when doing this trick. Protect yourself by wearing old clothes and using gloves to wipe the molds off. Remember to dispose of them properly once you’re done with them so as to prevent the molds from spreading.

Conclusion

It always pays to keep your home mold-free as much as possible. Be mindful of the early warning signs of mold infestation and take the necessary actions at once to remove them. If doing it yourself is not recommended considering the size, nature, and extent of the damage, don’t hesitate to hire the services of professional mold mediators to handle the job.

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How To Make Your Wife Smile

When you meet the woman of your dreams, a marriage becomes suddenly inevitable. And a few years into your marriage, everything changes as you get to know your better half. You realize that keeping up with your wife can be a drag. Despite that, however, you should still play your part and give your wife the attention and love she deserves.

Here are some really great ways to make your wife happy.

Make Her Feel Special

courting relationship

Once you are friends with someone as a guy, it naturally gives you the inclination to be more frank with them, tease them, be more personal in your comments, and share things together. However, a woman is a much more complex person and that is what we tend to forget about our wives.

Without them, we are simply lonely. All the fame, power, and money can go rust in the corner. If you don’t have someone to share them with, then what is the point of having them in the first place?

You need to know that your wife is yours and she deserves to be treated in a way that doesn’t make her feel anything less.

Here are some things that can brighten up her day:

• Leave her a genuinely felt and sincere note of thank you or reminder for how much you truly love and care for her.
• Get her favorite ice cream, chocolate or anything sweet that you know she likes. She appreciates the fact that you remember her.
• Make waves the next time you get intimate with her by making the setting more attractive and appealing. We don’t need to delve too much on this subject. We know that you know what we are hinting here.
• Complete your honey-do list and if you haven’t, then now is the right time to start one.
• Calling her on the phone or sending her a message is something that doesn’t need much effort nowadays, thanks to the internet and technology.
• Make her feel at ease. After work, ask her if she needs a massage and if you don’t know how, then learn a few routines for free online.

Remind Her How Beautiful She Is

If you are the man who truly admires your life partner, then you should know why ‘beauty’ or being called ‘beautiful’ is important for a woman.

Here is what you can do:

• Respect your own physique. Wash yourself, brush your teeth, cut your nails, and get groomed. This will make her question your actions — we bet on it. And when she does, tell her up close with a gentle hug or a cuddle that it was all for her.
• Never forget to compliment her with pure honesty regarding how amazing she is in front of everyone.
• Don’t wait for a fight or some other bad time to tell her how beautiful she is. Be generous and straight up tell her and do it differently every time you do.
• Your affection towards her is probably what she needs. The trust she has on you can make her fight the entire world just for you. So, be a man and ensure that you will do the same with a kind smile.

Instill Happiness

You know, there are couples in the world that are broke as hell yet they live the most lovable lives. Even the kings and queens would envy them. Money, property, fame, and power has nothing to do with the state of pure joy. It comes from within — a fulfilling feeling which you can share with your loved one without restrictions or limitations.

Here are some of the ways you can still mean the world to her no matter who and wherever you are:

• Believe in her dreams and support her causes in life. Let her be free to choose what she wants in life or professional career.
• Treat your wife with care. Be gentle and use kind and grateful words for her loyalty and dedication she puts into making your house feel like a home.
• If there is a quarrel, listen first. And if she is right, then you have no reason not to apologize to her and make the necessary changes.
• If there is a decision to make, always ask for her opinion.
• Travel with her, even if it means doing the groceries together or simply going out for a dinner or watching a movie. Ideally, making her leave the house for a week-long trip at the least will really bring out the colors in her cheeks.

A Note

I hope that this post didn’t meddle with your ego as a man too much. Though I certainly do not proclaim myself as a feminist nor does my writing depicts it in any manner possible, I certainly do agree that God creates women and men to complete each other.

Without the other half, we are simply deserted on this tiny blob of water and land placed among the infinity of the cosmos around it. Wealth and youth come and go, time flies by, everybody leaves and nobody stays forever. That’s why we have to do our best to make our better half feel special and loved.

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Creating Great Habits Through Self-Improvement

When you realize you’re not happy in the situation you find yourself in, it’s time to take action. If you’re unsure about where to start and how to make that change, there are two options you can take: a sudden, dramatic overhaul of your life or gradual change that leads to a permanent improvement.

While the former might offer a short-term hit, the latter is where you need to go for longer-term gains and where you will find the most improvement.

Below, take a look at some of the most effective habits to improve yourself:

Be The Early Bird

It’s easier said than done if you’re a night owl but it’s true. The early bird really does catch the worm.

Getting up even an hour earlier will make your day a lot productive. Whether you spend that hour working, meditating or exercising, it will be an hour that sets your day up. Incorporating this great habit into your daily life will lead to self-improvement in your mind, body, and soul.

Be disciplined, set an alarm, and get into the habit of getting up over several days.

Bite Size Goals

You may feel frustrated at your lack of progress in your job or how your dead-end relationship is panning out. However, making a drastic change may not be the answer.

To improve your situation and set up the right habits, you need to consider your goals.

Get Into The Sleep Habit

Such a basic but necessary habit.

Think of all the benefits you take on board by getting sustained, deep sleep. Your brain function improves, your physical and mental well-being is enhanced and you generally feel more capable and ready for action.

Consider you in your sleep-deprived state — always dozing off, finding it hard to concentrate, and feeling strung out. Getting good sleeping habits will lead to huge improvements in your day-to-day life.

hypnosis for sleep disorders

Start by setting your own bedtime routine. Make sure all screens are off at least an hour before bedtime. Turn your bedroom into a sanctuary for sleep with a cool, dark, quiet environment. There should be no distractions, such as phones or television.

If you find your room is too light, consider blackout linings on curtains. If your environment is too noisy, then think about investing in earplugs.

Stay Reading

Making reading a habit can seriously change your life for the better. Reading books and magazines takes us away from the phone screen and transports us into a world of pure imagination and fantasy. It gives our weary brains a break from dealing with social media and business, allowing us to tap into areas that often lie dormant.

For personal growth, try and read things that you wouldn’t usually pick up, such as a historical novel or self-improvement book. Open your mind to new experiences and knowledge and this reading habit will quickly lead to a new, improved you.

Practice Meditation

A habit that has tangible improvements, quickly.

meditate regularly

Physically, meditating helps by improving blood circulation and bringing oxygen into the body more efficiently. You might also find that it lowers your blood pressure and gives you an enormous sense of calmness.

Mentally, a meditation practice like mindfulness, for example, will help to calm your thoughts and fight against stress and anxiety.

In many ways, it doesn’t matter which kind of meditation practice you follow as long as it’s one that is sustainable and can be incorporated into a daily routine with little or no extra stress.

Evaluate progress

Taking time to step back and seeing how far you’ve come is an invaluable part of any self-improving habit.

You’ll be amazed and encouraged at how much closer you are to achieving your life goals. It’s worth taking the time to regularly check in with yourself.

Don’t Waste Time

Procrastination is the thief of time and will rob you of forming life-changing habits that can lead to a better you.

writing goals

Instead of spending hours in front of the TV or your computer, you need to concentrate on your goals. Allowing yourself a set time every day to check out screens will help, but only if you have the discipline to follow it through.

The real key to success in this area is two-fold: to make it a habit and to replace those wasted hours with tasks that are fulfilling and useful.

Conclusion

Changing your life for the better is not an easy task and requires great discipline and sacrifice. However, this change is not impossible.

Write down your goals and dreams and believe in your vision. Take time to plot how you will get there and set about incorporating new habits into your life that can help meet these self-improvement objectives.

Don’t be distracted by unimportant things that will stop you from your dreams. Avoid being your own worst enemy by letting poor discipline let you down.

Instead, grasp the nettle and work towards a better, more fulfilled you. Start creating healthy habits that’ll make you even better than before.

See Also: 10 Simple Self Improvement Hacks

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24 Ways to Find a Date Offline

Everyone seems to be trying out online dating these days. With how common it is, you might think that it’s an easy process. The truth, however, is that online dating isn’t always ideal. Apart from the risk it poses to your security, you can also end up feeling disappointed and frustrated.

If you want to avoid those things, you should probably consider dating offline.

But first, let’s review a few tips to make it work.

  • Have a simple goal of making new friends. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself. Seek to find a great friend and see where things lead.
  • Commit to saying “Hi” first. Don’t be shy. Perhaps set a goal of saying hi to 5 people a day. Start with one a day and then work your way up.
  • Smile and have fun. Everyone looks better with a smile.
  • Be open to meeting new people- anywhere and everywhere.
  • Always be dressed and groomed to meet new people even if you’re just running out to get milk. You just may meet that someone special in the dairy isle!
  • Be interested in others and ask lots of questions.
  • Don’t be afraid of rejection. You’ve got nothing to lose!! What’s the worst that could happen? Someone will laugh at you? That’s hardly likely. And even if they do, who cares! Just say “Next!” and move on!
  • Go slow for safety and success. Never rush into anything. Go slow.
  • Check out these conversation starters from Searchwarp and Suite 101.

Now that we got that out of the way, here are the best ways to find an online date:

Host a “White Elephant” party for singles

The idea is everyone who is invited must bring a single friend, preferably of the opposite sex. You can also have each invited person invite 5 other people to increase the numbers for your party.

Join a social/singles group in your area

Check the newspaper, yellow pages or online.

Start a social/singles group in your area

If you don’t have one in your area or want something different, start your own. Start small and build. It can even become a business down the line if you have success and decide to charge dues.

Ideas for events for your group:

  • Themed parties
  • Sports events, like ski trips or baseball games
  • Meet and greets with a speaker of interest

Find singles magazines or newsletters in your area

Join their mailing lists and see if you can find anyone who interests you.

Check the “Local Happenings” section of your newspaper

Clip out the events that interest you and go. Bring a friend or go solo, but just remember to meet at least one new person when you go!

Take your dog or other pet to a dog/pet park

You can also search for pet meetups online according to dog breed or really any other interest you may have. Other places to use your pet as a lure: main street shopping areas, fairgrounds, and outdoor sporting events.

The ‘Ole Meat Market

Yes, you can meet someone in a bar. People do it everyday. Is it the best place? Maybe not, but you shouldn’t rule out any place where there is opportunity.

Join a club in an area that interests you such as astronomy, public speaking, gardening, books, or whatever. Check Google, local bulletin boards, or your local paper for ideas.

Take an adult education class in something that interests you

You’ll be surprised at the people you’ll meet there.

Go shopping in the opposite sex’s department

Ask a stranger for help in shopping for your relative.

Browse bookstores, libraries, and video stores

Go in the sections that interest you. Ask someone their opinion and see what develops!

Attend trade shows, conventions, specialty sales, and auctions for things that interest you.

It is the perfect place to talk to new people because that’s what it’s all about!

Your workplace

First know your employer’s dating policies and always use discretion. Many people have met their mate this way. Maybe it will happen for you, too.

Attend an event of another department. Let select co-workers know that you are looking. Maybe they will know someone you’d like to meet.

After hours shopping

Grocery shopping, the hardware store, and the like can be great places to meet someone just like you. If you’re shopping after 5pm or on a Saturday pay attention to check out more than just the produce and then take some action by saying hi and asking a question.

Attend a singles dating event

It can’t hurt. Bring a friend if you need a little confidence boost.

Go to those weddings, reunions, and other such events that you’ve been invited to.

Fight the urge to say “Ugh. Oh no.” Go. Have fun. Talk to people and see what happens.

Volunteer for a group or an area of interest for which you have a passion

animal rescue volunteer

What better way to meet someone that may be compatible with you? Looking for people in your area of interest is one way to make sure you end up with someone who has the same passion as you.

Attend art gallery and museum openings and functions

Culture, creativity, and dating potential, oh my!

Join a professional organization

And when you do, be sure to go to events and maybe volunteer to help out with some of them. Working on projects with others is a great way to get to know some new people.

Join a health club or a casual sports group

This includes softball leagues, golf, ski clubs, sailing, etc. And don’t rule out groups just because you’ve never done it before. If you’ve always wanted to learn how to sail, then join a group and learn. There’s always room for newbies.

Travel

international travel tips

Consider a singles vacation trip. There are many organization including Club Med that organize trips to any and all destinations you can imagine. Search the newspaper or online.

Spiritual groups

If you belong to a religious group, see if they have any groups that interest you. If they don’t maybe you could start one and then advertise it in their weekly bulletin or newsletter.

Music and Theater

Go see a band, a play, the orchestra or an opera. Expand your cultural horizons or simply go for some head banging. Just remember to meet some new people.

Attend a free seminar

Many businesses present free seminars to gain new clients such as brokerage firms, home improvement stores, and technology stores. Go get some learning and chat to some fellow attendees.

A little help from your friends and beyond

If you’re really looking, put the word out to a lot of people that you are open to introductions or invitations to events to meet people. Hand out your card with your number and email. Tell people what you are looking for. Then let it sit. If you do this consistently, you’re sure to end up with some dates.

What do you think is the best way to meet someone? What is your favorite conversation starter? What’s the craziest story you know of a couple and how they met?

Please share in the comments!

Written by K. Stone, author of Life Learning Today, a blog about daily life improvements. Popular articles are How to Write a Book in 60 Days or Less and Should You Start Your Own Work at Home Business?

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How Do I Stop My Belt From Squeaking When I Start My Car?

The sound of a squeaking belt in a car’s engine can be caused by weather conditions, leaking fluids, maintenance issues or wear and tear. The magnitude of sound can range from a soft squeak to a loud and noisy squeal and it may occur while starting a cold engine or during normal vehicle operation. This is an issue that requires attention but does not pose danger or immediate risk of major damage.

Locating the Source of the Noise

The number of belts in an engine will vary according to the make and model. To determine which belt is making the noise, the best practice is to ask an assistant to start the engine while taking a look under the hood.

Modern vehicles typically have one or two belts:

  • A single serpentine belt that drives several components or a separate one for the alternator. Older vehicles may have a series of belts.
  • A main drive belt and separate ones for the alternator, fan, water pump, hydraulic steering, etc.

It is generally easier to determine when alternators are the cause of the squeak since they tend to be closer to the top and front end of the engine. After turning off the engine, the belt can be visually inspected for wear and tear. It can also be checked for tension by pushing down on it.

Loose belts are more likely to squeal in warm weather. However, if the belt appears to be tight and in good shape, then the issue may be the internal bearings of the pulley.

The same visual and tension check can be performed on the serpentine belt.

There should be enough tension to allow the belt to be pushed down about three quarters of an inch. Some hands-on car owners might be able to replace the alternator belt, but the serpentine belt may require a trip to the auto shop. Some engines feature an idle pulley that also serves as a tension adjustment device that can be dialed with a wrench.

Lubricating the Belt

If the belt is not loose and there are no signs of wear and tear, closer attention should be paid to any noise coming directly from the pulleys. This will require an inspection from a mechanic.

Otherwise, the squeaky belt can be lubricated for the purpose of silencing the noise. Only two lubricants should be used on belts: bar soap or belt dressing.

The latter can be purchased at an auto parts store and the former should only rubbed to the interior of the belt in dry conditions.

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On Knowing What Destiny Has Prepared You For

What’s stopping you from being the creative person you were created to be? What’s stopping you from stepping into the void of your life and creating fullness?

For every mess, there is a creative idea to fix it and for every void, there is creative wholeness to satisfy it.

The creative idea you’re in need of, the creative wholeness you crave, is not outside you but within you.

On Discovering Your Destiny

Unfortunately, we tend to spend more time studying who and what surrounds us than we do ourselves. So, we don’t know ourselves. We don’t know our true capacity and capabilities.

Destiny is the only one who fully knows what’s inside you. In order to reveal you to yourself, it will sometimes put you in situations of chaos or void with the expectation that you can handle it.

Chaos will show you what’s inside you.

Rejection will show you what’s inside you.

Trouble will show you what’s inside you

Hard times will show you what’s inside you.

You can endure the challenge of any situation as long as the chaos of it doesn’t get in you.

Like a ship at sea, you can weather the waters of any storm as long as the water doesn’t get in you. Once the water gets in the ship, the survival of the ship lowers.

Have you ever been in a difficult situation where everyone around you seemed to fall apart while you remained steady? You knew it was a bad situation but somehow it didn’t affect you. It didn’t affect you, because it didn’t get in you.

I was in labor for over 87 hours with my son. It was a really hard labor. It was completely natural, with no meds and at home. As the days rolled on and my support grew tired and frustrated, a thought came over me, “stay strong, people. I need you to stay strong”.

During that time, I knew that I couldn’t afford my support to grow weak. I couldn’t afford for them to internalize the storm of frustration, fear, and tiredness. Also, I knew that the integrity of our journey through labor and delivery depended on how well they weathered the chaos of the storm.

I was tired, weak, afraid, and frustrated but I could endure as long as the rest of my crew stood strong, refusing to allow the chaos of the situation to go internal.

Can you recall a similar event in your life, when the integrity of your journey depended heavily on how well your crew weathered the storm of circumstances?

You will always have a special grace to get through the challenges that come your way. But, that doesn’t mean that the people present with you also have that grace for that challenge.

Have you ever looked back and wondered, “how did I do that? How did I pull that off”?

You were graced for it.

On Discovering Yourself

You’re designed strong enough to get through the storms of your life. Each storm is an opportunity to reveal the strength of what’s inside you. You absolutely have what it takes to overcome every storm of your life!

Your storms are your opportunities to discover yourself. You were in that situation to discover yourself, to stretch you, to encourage you, to empower you, to see eternity in you.

You’ll never know what’s in you if you don’t push through the storm.

You are creative because destiny is creative.

Destiny is also systematic and, therefore, so are you.

The seed of every thing is in itself. The seed is the potential of the thing. The apple seed is the limitless potential of the apple tree. The seed inside the apple is the life inside the apple. This is destiny’s system of design.

The potential to bring forth exists inside you as a key component to your inherent makeup and design. You were created with a system whereby whatever you need will always be inside of you.

The implication of this realization is significant…

You cannot expect people to give you what they don’t have.

They can’t give you love if they have none. They can’t give you peace if they have none. And they can’t give you wisdom if they have none.

The fact that you have a need doesn’t mean that the solution can be found in someone else. Your need does not determine another’s capacity to give, so don’t go looking to people for what you need.

You’ll wear yourself out looking for love, attention, affection, and significance from someone who has none to give.

On What You Need to Be

The primary expectation destiny has of you is that you would be productive.

You don’t have to ask for joy if you’re productive. You don’t have to ask for peace if you’re productive. You’re going to have joy, you’re going to be happiest, and you’re going to be most fulfilled if you live your purpose.

Your purpose above everything else is to be productive with what destiny has placed inside of you. So, be productive!

Every day of your life up to this point is forever gone.

Every day that’s entrusted to you is given with the expectation that you would be productive. Don’t let a single day go by without producing something or anything.

Use every new day you’re given to go further than the day you had.

At every age or stage, the only thing that Destiny asks of you is that you would be productive with what’s inside you.

This is divine expectation.

Have you ever suspected that there was more inside of you?

Have you ever suspected that you might be living beneath your best purpose, your highest use, your ultimate destiny?

Or have you ever looked into someone’s eyes and seen that they see that something special in you? What does that do to you?

It’s the most attractive quality, isn’t it? When they see it in you?

In order for you to be productive, you also need to see what’s inside you. Let the storms of your life serve to reveal your seed so that it can be turned into a fruit. Then, multiply the fruit.

However, do not multiply what didn’t survive the storms of your life. Take what’s left after the storm calms and multiply it.

Find a mirror. Get in front of your reflection and with your eyes locked onto the eyes of your reflection, say aloud, “Something is about to happen in your life. You had to fight to get here, but you survived. Your purpose is about to flow from your life. You’re about to multiply what survived. It’s your season!”

You’re coming into it! You’re starting to figure it out. Your eyes have not seen and your ears have not heard the things that destiny has prepared for you.

See Also: Accept Your Destiny and Build The Ultimate Form of Confidence

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5 Unique Ways To Celebrate Your Parents’ Anniversary

Anniversaries are considered as one of the most special occasions in the life of a couple. And if you are planning to celebrate the day when your mom and dad tied the knot, then you must be quite excited. They definitely deserve some fancy celebration on achieving such a big milestone in their life.

If your parents are a social couple, then it is important to include all their favorite people in their anniversary celebration to make it unforgettable for them. If you don’t have a plan yet, here’s what to do for your parents’ anniversary.

Pool Party at a Farm House

Imagine all your family members having fun at a pool party while enjoying exotic cocktails and scrumptious cuisines. Yes, just the thought of it sounds so exciting!

It’s best if you have a farmhouse of your own away from the hustle and bustle of the city. If not, then you can always rent one for your parent’s anniversary celebration.

Let all your dear ones witness the most important day of your parents’ lives. Your parents will be thrilled with the idea of a pool party. They will surely have a great time with all their favorite people at one place.

Special Wedding Anniversary Cake

We all agree with Julia Child that a party without cake is just a meeting.

So, add some fun and flavor to your parents’ anniversary celebration with a lip-smacking cake of their favorite flavor. You can order a heart-shaped special cake for a wedding anniversary. You can also get a photo cake with a memorable picture of your parents’ wedding day.

Just the sight of the cake will make them smile. They will surely enjoy every bite along with the rest of the family.

Create a Video of Some Old Memories

Your parent’s marriage must be full of happy moments and wonderful memories. Turn them into a video they can watch on their anniversary.

Plan a Treasure Hunt with Family Members

If your parents are quite sporty and love to play fun games, then you should plan something that will get them moving for their anniversary celebration. You can plan a treasure hunt in your basement or backyard.

Everyone will surely have fun while hunting for treasures. It will give them an opportunity to work as a team, too.

Redesign their Old Wedding Attire

Consider redesigning your parents’ old wedding attire. Remember, you don’t really have to make these trendy and up to date. You can just repair any tears and wash away any stains. Surely, your parents will be in tears after seeing that what they wore on their wedding day are now good as new. Everyone at the party will have their eyes fixed on how thrilled your parents are. Not to mention, on the remarkable restoration of their wedding attire.

See Also: What to Give On Anniversary: Gift Giving Tips To Make It That Extra Special

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How To Modernize Your Business By Ditching The RFP

In our modern, fast-paced world, there is hardly any time to spare. Businesses need results and they need them quickly, encouraging the development of new technologies that can keep up. Yet 95% of companies still use RFPs when they need to get the job done – why is this outdated practice still treated like a business staple?

It’s Time To Move On From The RFP

request for proposal

Smart businesses today understand the value of diversifying away from the risk of relying on single one-stop-shop vendors. If the massive change in Forbes Global 2000 companies that outsource IT projects to single vendors is any indication, this shift is a massive trend. In 2008, 42% of these businesses worked with a single vendor for their IT or application needs; in 2018 that number is just 15%.

And yet, for lack of a better method, many businesses find themselves at a loss for reaching new vendors. Whether their project scope is too wide for in-house work, or they just need some extra guidance from creative professionals, it’s easy to turn to Requests for Proposals to scout out the talent. But there’s a glaring problem with using RFPs to do this – the results very rarely elicit the most innovative solution. Companies that use RFPs may ignore innovative startups in favor of “established” vendors, rewarding longevity over skill and flexibility.

How Do Startups Compete With Established Relationships?

When we look at startup funding trends, we are met with stats of explosive growth. In 2017 alone, the global venture capital investments for startups hit over $140 billion, and in the years between 2015 and 2017, the total global startup economy value creation was $2.3 trillion. Any way you spin it, there is some serious firepower behind startups and for good reason. Unfortunately, these talents can go ignored and even outright rejected when forced to participate in requests for proposals.

  • Bidders must specify how long they have been in business to even qualify
  • Not useful and counterproductive in the age of startup innovation

As a result, RFPs are actually a roadblock to reaching effective new vendors, placing incumbent vendors ahead of other bidders. For new vendors participating in RFPs, they may only have a week to respond, yet incumbent vendors are notified several weeks beforehand. Even then, many startup level vendors find it challenging to work within the confines of typical RFP guidelines and are unable to let their talents show.

  • Discourages considerations of more innovative proposals
  • Rewards easy solutions over flexibility and talent
  • Low value and low innovation
  • Long-term costs are higher than originally projected

There’s A New And Better Way

It’ll take more than a simple update to overhaul this antiquated process. Real solutions will come from a total mindset change, improved flexibility, and real ROI projection. The best way to try out a new vendor is by using Proof of Value, or PoV. This process ensures the best value projects are done for the right price and by the right people. Based on information measurement theory, Proof of Value considers the predictability of success or error using measurable, factual information. This replaces the RFP with scalable options using information and performance-based solutions as a new standard.

  • Create a full working cloud-based model app
  • Share the real app with business users to get an idea of what the full solution will look like
  • Use PoV as a first iteration jumping off point to fast-track the project

Accounting for lost time, wasted money, and piles of busy work, RFPs, or requests for proposals just don’t work anymore. A LexisNexis survey revealed nearly 17% of businesses deal with up to 10 RFPs per month, and 15% of businesses have a load of 21 or more. Organizations are relying more on RFPs, but it doesn’t necessarily benefit their firm. Smart businesses can use more nimble vendors and methods to outperform instead.

  • Intuitive user experiences
  • Clean interfaces
  • Deliver against tighter project deadlines
  • Reliable, measurable ROI
  • Diversify risks away from conventional mega-vendors

It’s Time To Ditch The Outdated RFP

Though many organizations are still using RFPs for solutions, when has following the status quo ever done business any favors? Is your company still using RFPs? Take a look at this infographic for more on how RFPs hurt innovation, stunt professional growth, and ignore real talent, and what you can do to break this cycle by developing better solutions that fit with your business’ needs.
RFPs: Dinosaurs of the business world?
Source: Semarchy.com

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Access to Contraceptives Around the World: What You Need to Know

Here in the US, we’re lucky to have relatively easy access to contraception, with the FDA approving the first oral contraceptive in 1960. There are also other forms such as the implant, the patch and the sponge. Forty-five countries have proudly offered contraception to patients free of charge for years, whilst some governments have dragged their feet on making such treatments available.

How do seven varying countries around the world compare in terms of accessibility? Here’s what you need to know about people’s access to contraceptives.

United States

Despite being the first nation in the world to introduce the birth control pill, the United States does not give out free contraception. Instead, women have to pay around $59.25 each month for the pill, depending on their health insurance coverage. It also prohibits the sale of birth control pills over the counter.

Spain

condom-vending-machine
Via athingforwords.com

In Spain, the average cost of contraception is around $2.91 per box. Condoms are very easy to find in supermarkets and pharmacies, and there are also condom-dispensing machines dotted around on streets. The Spanish tend to have a pretty liberal view on contraception in general. In fact, some pharmacies even sell birth control pills over the counter.

Canada

Canada has a healthcare system called Medicare, which is publicly funded. Most forms of contraception are easily affordable and available under this system/ Birth control pills are usually available for free or up to around $37.57 per month, depending on the type.

Brazil

Brazil offers a year’s supply of birth control pills for only $2.36, as long as citizens are able to present their national identification card. By the letter of the law, one can only buy the morning after pill with a prescription. Most pharmacies, however, tend to sell it without. Women and girls of all ages can also purchase it legally.

Japan

blood test

Japan is not so relaxed when it comes to issuing birth control pills, probably because they have quite a low birth rate. Japanese Health Insurance doesn’t cover the contraceptive pill and women have to pay around $25.67 each month. Many doctors require women to take a blood test to see if they’re fit enough to take the pill, and this isn’t free either, costing around $86.

India

Although healthcare in India is universal, it greatly fluctuates in quality and coverage throughout the country. Those who live in more urban areas tend to benefit more. While contraception remains available from $2.48 to $5.85 in India, worryingly,the most common form of birth control is tubal ligation, a form of female sterilisation.

Ethiopia

Although there is a lot of awareness about modern contraception in Ethiopia, a large proportion of the country do not take any. Both male and female condoms are available in pharmacies at a low cost. There are also a few other places where Ethiopian nationals can get them for free. Birth control pills can also be bought without a prescription and, in some cases, are free as well.

Conclusion

Many medical advancements have been made since the 1960s. There are now more contraception options than ever before. Over the next coming years, a male contraceptive pill is expected to be rolled out for general consumption. This could balance the responsibility between men and women. For the moment, the pill is still being trialed, but has so far received an 83% success rate, with minimal side effects.

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6 International Travel Tips You’ll Find Handy

Exploring world-class destinations, learning about unique cultures, and treating your taste buds with delicious foods is what traveling is about. And the fun of traveling multiplies if you are flying to a foreign destination, more if that’s your first international trip.

To help you prepare, here are some international travel tips you’ll find useful on your first vacation abroad.

Know Your Travel Budget

Are you traveling as a backpacker or want to bask in the luxury your hotel and airline may offer you? Knowing how much your vacation may cost you can help you budget your trip. It’s great if you already have the money in your bank. If not, take the time to prepare your budget and allocate your funds wisely.

See Also: 7 Ways To Save Money While Traveling

Create an Itinerary

create itinerary

This includes everything from the length of your trip to the attractions and landmarks you wish to explore. You don’t have to know the exact dates and time but a rough idea of when, where and for how long you’ll be staying there can greatly help you. Certainly, you wouldn’t want to be wondering what to do next with three or four more days in your hand, do you?

Book Flights and Hotels

With the internet at your disposal, once you know where you are going, booking your international flights, hotels, and activities are perhaps the easiest part of planning your trip. However, you must not be impatient to book whatever you find through your travel agent. Browse the internet and find out some great deals for yourself to make the most of your budget.

Pack Light and Right

pack light

No one likes to pay for extra bags unnecessarily! If you don’t wish to be levied with additional charges, knowing a little about the weather in your destination and packing accordingly may help you. Pack as less as possible.

Pack woolen clothes if you think it’ll be cold where you land and pack light clothes if it’s summer there. Don’t forget to pack a few waterproof jackets, a poncho, and a light sweater if your destination tends to experience rain a lot. This practice will also allow some space for you to bring home some keepsakes for your loved ones.

Buy travel insurance

We all want our vacations to be full of happy moments and great experiences, but that’s not always the case. For not-so-pleasant situations while traveling, such as lost baggage, health issues or trip interruption, you must buy travel insurance. Speak with your travel agent or ask people you know for recommendations and have an insurance that provides great services.

See Also: How To Stay Safe and Prevent Theft While Traveling

Automate Your Bills

A missed credit card payment or mortgage repayment may be the last thing you would like to discover after you are back from your vacation. You can automate your personal finances to ensure that your dues are paid on time while you are on a flight, sleeping in your hotel room or clicking pictures of a breathtaking sight before you. Do it and save yourself from incurring late charges.

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The Accomplishment Journal: A Yardstick Against Your Life

Have you ever gathered all of your professional and personal accomplishments into a single document?

An accomplishment journal isn’t equal to your CV, credentials or acquired skills. It’s a simple bullet list of your achievements that you’ve completed throughout your life or over the recent years.

Whether you are about to change careers, set stretching goals or just need a yardstick to measure where you are now, an accomplishment journal will let you address tough questions.

Let’s jump in and see what an accomplishment journal can offer and how to create one.

How do I keep an accomplishment journal?

accomplishment journals

It was a course I took on Coursera―one of the largest online learning platforms―when I first came across the idea of the accomplishment journal (credit to Charles Duquette and the Coursera community). I quickly embraced the concept and scheduled a one-on-one meeting with myself to create one.

Then, I faced a painful experience. It dawned on me that, despite my degrees, credentials and almost 10 years of work experience, I could hardly put any measurable accomplishments onto paper. Still, I persevered and finally hammered out a nice list of accomplishments. Well, it’s not so easy to get everything measured, but once you get the idea, it will be a lot easier and fun.

Your accomplishment journal should be composed of accomplishment statements. Begin your statement with an action verb and use the simple past tense. Be as specific as you can. Name things by their names and underpin your statements with exact numbers wherever possible. The key here is to be measurable. No place for rambling here.

For example, you could put an accomplishment statement like this: “Authored 13 guest posts in top-ranking productivity magazines with a total number of 152 comments.”

As a backup of your statement, articulate the antecedents, the steps you took to move things forward, the competencies you needed, and the deliverables. You could then make use of all these pieces of information as you will see later in this post.

Your journal can be a physical bullet journal. A note-taking app like Evernote or even a mind mapping tool will do the trick as well. Whatever platform you use for journaling, keep it simple and easily available for future references. The latter is the subject we continue with.

How do I harness my accomplishment journal?

writing accomplishment journal

Let’s assume you’ve gathered all your accomplishments and put them in a journal. The next step is to claim your benefit.

Have a look at your list and ask yourself the following questions: What are my enjoyable accomplishments? Are there any? How could I build on them? What steps could I take to get more enjoyable accomplishments done?

Maybe, it’s time to change careers, harness your dormant skills or negotiate with your boss for more deep work.

If you’re preparing for a job interview, it’s mandatory that you consider your accomplishment journal first. It’s very likely that you’ll meet some tough questions about your accomplishments and a list can help you with that.

Carefully selected accomplishment statements would perfectly fit into your CV as well. If you keep your accomplishment journal updated, you no longer have to spend hours updating your resume. You would just pick up those accomplishments that are in line with your targeted position and fine-tune them if necessary.

Your journal will best serve you if you keep it fresh and to the point. I suggest that you schedule a regular update of your accomplishment journal. I would prefer a monthly update, but a quarterly update is highly recommended. Group, rethink, and rephrase your statements as frequently as you need.

See Also: Inspiring Journaling Prompts To Help Re-Shape Your Life

Final thoughts

I found that an accomplishment journal takes minimum effort to assemble, but it really pays off in the long run. It can assist you when applying for a job or building your career further.

More importantly, it may serve as a yardstick against your life. It may point you in the right direction and keep you on track.

Give it a try and schedule a meeting with yourself now to put all your accomplishments together.

See Also: 5 Benefits of Journaling To Inspire and Motivate You

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How To Choose the Best TENS Unit for Home Use

TENS machines come in a wide range of shapes, sizes, and features. As a first time buyer, the long list of choices can frustrate, overwhelm and confuse you all at the same time.

Since TENS units for home use promise pain relief without the nasty side effects you can get from pain medications, you’d want to make sure you get one that’s effective and convenient to use.

In choosing the best TENS unit for home use, here are the 5 most important factors you need to consider.

Modes

Different types of pain respond to different electronic pulses or modes. With that, you need to make sure that your unit can be set in various modes. With most high-quality TENS unit, that won’t be a problem. However, in some low-end models, your options may be limited as they generally work with one or two models.

Choosing a TENS unit with multiple options can make the experience more enjoyable. It’s what will make the unit more effective in providing pain relief.

Battery Life

choosing best tens unit
Via thewirecutter.com

There are units that can work well on a 9-volt battery or 3 AAA batteries. While they look like a convenient and practical choice, they can increase the annual cost of using a TENS unit on a daily basis.

A high-quality device that works on a lithium battery is actually a better choice. It can take you weeks or even a full month of using the unit before you need to recharge it.

Additionally, a TENS unit working on a lithium battery can save you from the hassle and stress of constantly changing dead batteries.

Power Level

You need one that feels intense but won’t hurt. Now, this is tricky since people don’t have the same pain tolerance.

With most low priced TENS machines, their highest level may still not be enough to provide their promised benefits. So, what customers eventually do is upgrade their units to something better. This is simply a waste of money.

To avoid that mistake, get a TENS unit with a wide range of power. That way, you’ll be able to set your unit to your preferred intensity.

Number of Electronic Pads

The more electronic pads you have, the wider area of your body you’ll be able to cover. If you have multiple areas of pain or you’re suffering from multiple injuries, try to get a unit with multi-channel outputs.

Budget

You don’t necessarily have to spend a lot on a TENS unit for home use. However, you need to understand that a unit’s price will affect the features you’ll get. As mentioned, low-priced models may fall short when it comes to modes, battery life and even power level.

Now, this doesn’t mean that you won’t be able to enjoy a TENS machine at home just because you are on a tight budget. The trick here is to know exactly what you need. Don’t spend a lot of money on a unit with features you don’t really want or need.

Ease of Use

For someone who’s new to using a TENS machine at home, the idea of operating it on your own can be nerve-wracking. With that, find a unit that’s easy to use. You should also consider getting a unit with a user-friendly interface and buttons with clear and easy-to-read labels.

There are machines that are compatible with smartphones. Some of them even come with their own dedicated apps and downloading them on your phone can make it possible for you to control your session with just your handset.

There are units that allow users to pre-set programs, making them easy to use. Others feature options to customize intensity and frequency to give you maximum control.

Life of the TENS pads

Quality electrode pads should last for months even with daily use. Low priced replacements pads, on the other hand, wear out easily and quickly which means that you will have to purchase new ones more frequently. This can skyrocket the cost of using a TENS unit over time.

In addition to inquiring about the life of the TENS pads, you should also ask about their price. Those pads, in general, don’t come cheap but they don’t have to burn holes in your wallet. Choosing an expensive set of TENS pads that will last long is better than buying low priced TENS pads that wear out in just a few weeks.

Customer Service

great customer service

Believe it or not, this is one of the most important factors you need to consider when buying a TENS unit. Should something go wrong with your machine, there should be someone to assist you and answer your questions concerning the unit. A reputable company can easily address that.

Apart from the quality of customer service a brand has, you should also ask about its return policy. If you notice that your unit isn’t working as it should or you’re just generally unhappy with it, you should be able to return the machine without encountering a lot of issues.

Portability

Since you are looking for a unit you can use at home, it’s a good idea to consider its size. A small and compact TENS unit will make it easy for you to use the machine anywhere in the house. A small size also means better portability. You’ll be able to take it with you when you travel or work.

Treatment Timer

Most TENS machines have treatment timers as an added feature. A timer allows you to set your desired time for the treatment and automatically shuts off the unit when that time runs out. While it’s not that necessary, a timer makes your TENS unit more convenient.

Conclusion

Choosing the best TENS unit for home use isn’t easy. You have to be thoroughly informed if you want to find a unit that will fit your needs. With this list, you should be able to have a clearer idea about what you want and don’t want in a quality TENS machine.

The post How To Choose the Best TENS Unit for Home Use appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

How Do I Get My Dishwasher To Stop Leaving White Powdery Film On My Glasses?

Do you get that white powdery film on your glasses after you clean them in the dishwasher? Isn’t that annoying?

Well, the good news is that removing white residue on glasses is actually easy. Here are a few things you can do make your glasses spotless after wash:

Dishwasher Cleaning and Maintenance

cleaning dishwasher
Via howtocleanthings.com

The first thing you want to do is to ensure that your dishwasher parts are clean and in good working order. After that, you can proceed with the following steps:

  1. Clean out the dishwasher garbage trap of any old food, hair or dirt particles. There might be clumps of dishwasher soap in there also. Remove the trap screen and wash with vinegar to make for a more thorough cleaning process.
  2. Then, get a towel or brush and manually scrub the interior part of the dishwasher. Remove the parts and clean them thoroughly. Check underneath them for caked soap.
  3. Use the same vinegar solution with plenty of hot water to clean the interior part of the dishwasher. When the powdery soap cakes up, it leaves that powdery film. You want to make sure that all of the soap is liquefied when you wash your dishes.
  4. Wash a small container full of white vinegar by itself in the dishwasher. This will also remove any microscopic particles that you missed. Vinegar is the nemesis of powdery soap. Wipe down all the surfaces once again.
  5. If you want to remove any lingering smells, you can place some baking soda in a container in your dishwasher and wash another load. This will soak up any foul odors.

Clean This Way Every Three Months

clean dishwasher

Now, your dishwasher should be sparkling clean and ready to go. When you do the next dishwasher load, you might want to pre-dissolve the powdery soap to ensure that it is properly liquefied.

You can also shake and bust up any cakes that may form in the soap container when it is not being used. Any humidity could lead to the soap turning into clumps. A higher quality soap might help also.

Regularly clean your dishwasher every three months using this process to remove all of the powdery soap. Do your best to look for caked soap that is not dissolved properly. With regular cleaning and maintenance, you can stop the dishwasher from leaving white powdery film on your glasses.

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4 Ways Men Can (Accidentally) Mess Up Their Relationship

Men are from Mars and women from Venus, right? That was the big a-ha moment back in the 90s when Dr. John Gray wrote his book. When that book came out, men and women everywhere stopped, took notice, and said: “Okay that makes sense. Men and women handle relationships (and many other things) differently!”

Not that it was that big of a secret. The emotional differences between men and women have long been noted. Those differences, however, can also be one of the reasons why many relationships fail.

In particular, men are too often at fault on this score. Because many of us haven’t developed emotional intelligence, we often look past the emotional needs of our partners. We may not experience the same feelings, so it doesn’t occur to us that they would. As a result, we get ourselves in trouble and can, without even realizing it, mess up our relationships.

Before we take a look at some of the areas men routinely overlook, let’s talk about the #1 way that men kill their relationships.

The biggest man-made problem is thinking that those differences don’t matter and that we don’t need to worry about them. Of course, if you are one of those men, you are probably not reading this. Good for you as you’ve dodged the biggest bullet.

Just because a woman views things differently than you or measures the impact of things differently, it doesn’t mean you can dismiss those things and keep going. Actually, the fact that you don’t get it probably means you need to stop and take notice.

So, assuming you are trying to avoid accidentally ruining your relationship with your partner, what are those things you should pay attention to?

Below are four of the biggest relationship mistakes guys make.

Letting your appreciation go silent

When you started dating, you likely told her pretty routinely how much you appreciated her presence in your life. You probably said things like “you’re beautiful”, “I am lucky to have you” and “thank you”.

Once your relationship is firmly established, those often stop. There’s no need, right? You told her over and over before and now you guys are committed and she should know.

Nope.

When the expression of appreciation stops, women take notice and not in a good way. For many women, no longer hearing those things means you have stopped feeling and thinking them. That translates into feeling taken for granted and undervalued.

I know you are saying to yourself, “Why is she so insecure?”

Guys, this is usually not an insecurity thing. It’s more of reinforcing your connection and not taking her for granted. It doesn’t need to be done excessively. You don’t necessarily have to do daily flower deliveries and love songs, but routinely letting her know that she’s important to you will go a long way.

See Also: How to Get Rid of Relationship Insecurities

Thinking that sex no longer requires romance

romance tips

When you’re in a steady relationship, you might think that you can just roll over any morning and let her know you’re ready and it’s game on. Well, not so fast.

While that may work on certain occasions, a woman really never stops wanting to feel pursued. Taking the time to do things right will maintain the intimacy in your relationship and reinforce that feeling that you want her and she’s worth the time and effort. You may be pleasantly surprised at her reaction.

Ignoring what she tells you

relationship tip

One thing that women tend to do far better than men is express their feelings. The problem is that not only do men not DO this well, they also don’t LISTEN to it well.

I have a friend whose wife told him for years what she wanted from their relationship – more time together, sex, and romance. She said she felt secondary in his life to work, friends, football – you get the picture.

I was actually around to hear some of these things said. He seemed caught completely off guard when she decided she was done talking and never being heard. She decided to file for divorce.

The point is, listen to what she tells you. Many women will almost give you a blueprint for the relationship if you just pay attention.

Assuming she cares about your underwear and socks

Here’s the thing – she doesn’t.

Don’t assume she’s going to take care of all your incidentals. Your laundry, dinner dishes, putting your shoes away, ensuring that you always have deodorant — those things are your responsibility. That doesn’t mean she may not do those things, it depends on how you have your division of responsibilities arranged.

But when you get angry because your sock drawer is empty and that becomes a regular complaint, it’s time to read the signs and take care of things on your own. Women want to be seen as equals, partners, and intelligent human beings – not your mom.

When you take that for granted, she will handle all those little things. She may end up pushing back or spending time with someone who doesn’t expect her to do them.

Men often assume that once the relationship is established, we are good and all the work is done. That’s simply not true. And although women can be just as guilty of all of the points above, we are often our own worst enemies when it comes to these things. Try appreciating and respecting the natural differences between you and your partner. Doing this will help keep you from accidentally messing up a good thing.

See Also: 7 Best Secrets To Building Lasting Relationships

The post 4 Ways Men Can (Accidentally) Mess Up Their Relationship appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

Identify One Goal: The Secret to Discovering Your Purpose

I think a lot of young people will find this post very useful if they were to apply themselves to it.

Most often, I find people wondering what their purpose in life is. And before they discover it, they try a couple of things and make some mistakes. They are the lucky ones as some people don’t even find out their life’s purpose at all. So, they end up living someone else’s life — a fake life.

But discovering your purpose is not a hard thing — at least not as hard as some say it is.

As a motivational speaker and life coach, I encounter this question a lot and most often, usually asked by young people. Not too long ago (January 2017), someone asked me that same question.

This lady was in her early thirties, a banker, had a car and living in a really nice apartment. At that point, she was living better in most standards than me. As we got talking, she asked me how someone could identify one’s purpose. I was shocked because, in my own mind, I would think she’s living her dream life. However, I contained myself and gave her an answer.

Identify one goal

What do you want to spend your life doing? What is that one thing you want to be identified with? And what is that one thing you want to be known for?

Identify that one thing you can do forever and you don’t mind doing it for free. That is the question that can point you to where your passion lies.

identifying one goal

When you finally identify it, spend every day of your life learning about it, studying it, practicing it, and doing it. Practice until you are not afraid to do it in front of other people.

“Don’t think about money; don’t start by focusing on the money. Do it because it just makes you happy and satisfied.”

be happy

Like I don’t care if I get paid for writing or speaking, as far as there is one person who listens to me or reads what I write, I’m satisfied. That’s why on my website, I have a place to book a one-on-one time with me because I care about just you who’s reading this.

“Focus on what you love and when you are so good at it people will start paying you for it.”

Usain Bolt is a multi-millionaire for just running. Andy Murray and Maria Sharapova are worth millions of dollars for just playing tennis. Linda Ikeji is a millionaire for being a gossiper. But at first, they all started loving what they do and they were doing it whether money was involved or not.

Takeaway

If you want to be counted as one of the greats or one of the richest, identify that one thing you are passionate about and be the best at it. You’d be lost having fun and doing your thing that one day, you’ll just discover that you’re rich and you’re celebrated.

The post Identify One Goal: The Secret to Discovering Your Purpose appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

6 Foolproof Ways to Refine Your Professional Life

Sometimes, we feel that a new job will diffuse us with happiness we have always longed for. At times, however, we feel that staying away from toxic people and jobs can improve our lives.

There are a number of things that can make you unhappy at work. This includes feeling unfulfilled, lacking direction, being ignored by superiors, performing repetitive tasks, and not being considered for promotion or appraisals.

The good news is that you don’t have to feel that way about work. With these tips on how to improve yourself professionally, you’ll be able to develop a better perspective about your career.

Decide what you want from your career

career choice

It’s time to stop complaining and walking in circles. Think about your existing status and where you want to head in the future. Craft a plan or roadmap focusing on what you want to achieve. Then, start working on your goal one step at a time.

The entire journey won’t be consistently paced and smooth. Some days you will feel like running. At times, you will struggle to even jog. It’s okay as long as you are moving forward.

Take care of yourself

A human body is a machine. Just like any other machine, we need to tune it each day. Eating, exercising, and getting a proper rest is crucial for your well-being. Having enough physical, mental and emotional strength is mandatory if you are to stay laser-focused on your goal and achieve it. Furthermore, being strong enough also makes us more resilient in the face of never-ending obstacles.

Always embrace new ideas

Everyone is advised to keep their minds open to new idea. There is always some learning in every communication and idea we share. You never know what insights the colleague seated next to you holds that might boost your career like never before.

Cut out toxic influences

It is impossible to eradicate all the negative and toxic situations and people around us. However, we have the authority and power to decide whether to fall under their influence or not. If you uncover a certain aspect of your life that’s particularly negative, an instant action is required to protect your emotional and mental well-being.

At times, some negative influences are difficult to discover. Consider an example of sharing a college dorm with a particularly pessimistic, unhealthy roommate. The person might have been quite intolerable, but he might also be fun at times. In fact, his dark side only protrudes when you start to spend a considerable time with him continuously.

Toxic people and circumstances at workplaces are great examples, too. Your colleague might complement you now but right in the next meeting, he/she will try to discourage and contain you in front of your manager or badmouth you to others.

In order to get away from such craziness, you must first learn how to refuse to cater to such false pretenses. Keeping your interactions polite and distant is another great way. And if you think your negative colleagues need to hear how their behavior and vibes are affecting others, then explain it to them.

Furthermore, try to replace negative interactions with positive, healthy ones. People who aren’t judgmental and narcissistic can help bring out the best in you.

See Also: 5 Signs You Need to Start Removing Toxic People

Unplug and get out

People who spend most of their time behind a desk are more irritated and cranky. Every employee, ranging from an office boy to CEO, should understand that unplugging themselves from the never-ending work and going outside is downright beneficial physically and mentally.

Spending time with others, staying away (for a while) from your system’s screen, and making the most out of your break times are great things you can do to elevate your spirit and re-energize your mind. If your manager expects you to be a genuine workaholic who put extra hours at work, then you need to stand up for yourself. Politely let him know that you have a life out of your office, too.

Even small acts like a high-five over a short humorous conversation, applauding someone over a job well done, and hugging your colleague-turned-close-friend on special occasions can be a mighty boost in uplifting your mood.

Start participating in community work

community work

Quite an extension of the last point, you should consider getting out and becoming a part of communities working for the betterment of society.

Whether it’s spending time with kids in an orphanage, teaching useful life skills or even forming groups to clean the neighborhood, you are using your free time productively and contributing well to great causes.

Participating is similar social causes which will make you understand that true happiness doesn’t only lie in living and earning for yourself. Instead, it’s more about stepping out in the harsh realities and helping others acquire the comfort they have always been deprived of.

See Also: The Power of Volunteering

The post 6 Foolproof Ways to Refine Your Professional Life appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

E-Waste Tips: What To Do With Old Tech Gadgets

Have you noticed how we seem to be piling up a lot of our electronic devices at home? Some we use and some collect dust in some forgotten drawer. If you’ve always puzzled how to do some electronic spring cleaning, here are some ways that you can get rid of old gadgets.

Take it to a Retail Location

Did you know that several retail stores will accept old and broken electronics? Best Buy accepts a huge selection of electronics ranging from car GPS units to larger appliances. You can drop your fax machines, shredders, tablets, and phones at Staples. Finally, Lowes accepts rechargeable batteries at no cost to you. They’ll take your old electronics and dispose of them in a safe and effective manner.

Donate

ebay for charity

Even if your electronic is a few years old and still works, many nonprofit agencies or charities would be glad to have them. You can start by calling and asking senior centers in your area if they’re interested. If you have any thrift stores in your area like Goodwill, they may be interested as well. eBay for Charity lets you sell you things through the platform and donate your earnings to whatever charity you choose. Just be sure that you keep your receipt because this will let you write it off to taxes at the end of the year.

Recycle Your Electronics

Almost every city or town has one or two days a year where they accept all types of electronic devices for recycling. You can gather up all of your outdated or broken electronics and bring them in on this day. If you don’t want to wait, look for a rechargeable battery and recycling program in your area.

Call2Recycle is a great option because it accepts batteries and old cell phones. All you do is input your zip code to find the closest location where you can bring your items and drop them off. Their services are available in Europe and UK as well.

See Also: Your New Year’s Resolution: Better Recycling Practices

Check if the Manufacturer Will Take it Back

Many electronic manufacturers don’t want to see their items end up in a landfill. This is why they offer large recycling programs where they’ll take back your outdated or broken electronic device and recycle it for you. Apple and Sprint both have Buyback programs available. You can get phone line credits or gift cards for returning certain items instead of throwing them out.

Trade Your Device In

There are reputable tech recyclers, like Plunc.com, that will let you swap and trade in your electronics for money. You enter your electronic’s details and the company gives you a quote. They’ll send you a shipping label and envelope to send your device to the retailer. When they get it, they’ll send you a check, gift card or deposit your money into your PayPal. It’s perfect if you want to sell your iPad, phones, tablets, or computers.

List them on Electronic-Based Apps

There are several quality apps available that allow you to list your electronic devices free of charge and sell them to people who will use them. Certain apps are for face-to-face meetings and restrict you more to your local area while others will generate shipping labels for you, so you don’t have to worry about trying to send your items to the buyers. This lets you connect to more people. You do most of the communicating through the apps as well.

Sell It on eBay, Craigslist, or Facebook

sell on facebook

Craigslist, eBay, and Facebook are sites that let you list your unwanted electronics free of charge. You can list them through Facebook’s Marketplace or in local selling groups. Craigslist has selling lists for each state, and you can even narrow it down to the city if you live in a larger one. eBay lets you list to sell or auction, and you send the item to the buyer once they purchase it. Local classified ads are another great option to consider if you’re not moving the items as quickly as you’d like.

See Also: 4 Ways You Can Make Money Online By Selling Old Stuff

Take Part in an Electronics Drive

If you have a lot of older electronics laying around, chances are your family, coworkers, and friends do as well. You can all get together and host an electronics drive. When it’s over, take all of the bulk electronics you have to a certified electronics recycler. This is a great way to clear out any electronics you have gathering dust. You can have your event run for a few days or a few weeks at a time.

Consider Repairing It

repair gadgets

Just because you don’t have a need for your old electronics doesn’t mean someone else won’t want it. Taking your electronics to a computer or electronic repair shop is the first step. They’ll tell you if they’re able to get it back to good working condition. If they are, have them repair and call your local schools to see if they have students who could use your old electronics. They usually do, and they can give the electronics to the students for you.

Now, don’t forget. It’s important that you keep your own safety in mind when you’re dealing with your old electronics. You want to make sure that you wipe any personal or sensitive information off of your device before you get rid of it. This can help protect your identity, and it can stop people from seeing things that they shouldn’t see.

Done right, these nine e-waste tips will help you get rid of your old electronics in a safe and effective manner. You won’t have to worry about them cluttering up your local landfills, and someone may get more use out of them.

The post E-Waste Tips: What To Do With Old Tech Gadgets appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

10 Things You Didn’t Know About Your Car Insurance

Car insurance can be very confusing for anyone. It’s also one of those things that can be very costly if not done right. We rounded up the 10 key things that you may not know about your car insurance.

Having “No-Fault” Insurance

Many people mistakenly think that when they have a no-fault car insurance, no one will be blamed or considered at fault in the event of an accident. If you cause an accident or scratch a car when you park, having this type of insurance doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re safe. If you caused the accident, you can and most likely will be held accountable.

This type of insurance means that if you are in an accident and it isn’t your fault, you won’t personally have to go after the other driver’s insurance or the driver for compensation. The insurance company will do it for you automatically.

Several Factors Impact Your Insurance Cost

You’ll get asked a series of personal questions when you apply for your car insurance. The list can include your gender, age, marital status, and how long you’ve had a license count. Your answers will impact how much your insurance premium will cost per month or year.  Additionally, any previous accidents or tickets can make your premium go up.

If you’re a male who is under 25 years old, your insurance company will deem you a higher risk for accidents. In turn, you’ll most likely have a higher premium than a female who is under 25.

Your Car’s Age and Type Increase Your Insurance Costs

car model insurance

People who drive high-end or luxury cars will typically pay more to have their car replaced or repaired in the event of an accident. This means that you’ll most likely pay more to cover this type of car because your insurance will pay out more if there is an accident. Cars that cost less to repair or replace or cars that are older will cost less to insure because it won’t cost your insurance company much if there is an accident.

Modifying the Car Can Cost You

A lot of people like to modify their vehicles, but insurance companies don’t necessarily like these modifications. There are a few valid reasons behind this. First, modifying the vehicle can impact how much emissions it releases into the environment. Second, if something happens and the insurance company ends up with the car, they may not be able to sell it again because the modifications make it illegal to drive on the street.

If you modify your vehicle, the car insurance company may take steps to protect themselves. This can mean increasing your premium. If you absolutely have to modify your car, look for a specific insurance company that won’t penalize you for it.

All Car Insurance Companies Have Different Rates

When you apply for car insurance, it’s vital that you shop around to find the cheapest car insurance that can give you all of the coverage you need. Several search engines allow you to compare various car insurance companies side-by-side so you can find the best rate. Don’t skimp on liability insurance and be very aware of what your car insurance covers and what it doesn’t cover. That way, you won’t get a surprise if you’re involved in an accident.

See Also: Average Car Insurance Rates For People Under 21 Years Old

Perks

When you think of car insurance, you usually don’t think of any perks that come with it other than avoiding a ticket for not having it. However, some insurers offer perks for people who are loyal to the company. You may get free towing in the event of a breakdown, tiered rewards with lower rates when you stay with a company for over a year and a refund for not having accidents every six months.

Your Rates May Increase with a Claim

Say you caused an accident on your way to work or school and the other driver filed a claim. Some insurance companies will increase your monthly premium in response to this claim. This includes if you file a claim in the event of an accident as well, and it applies whether or not the accident was your fault.

It Won’t Cover Your Belongings in the Car

Did you know that your car insurance will cover the cost to repair or replace your car and some medical expenses depending on your policy but not any belongings you lose as a result of an accident? For example, say you have your laptop, cell phone, GPS unit, or tablet in the car and they got ruined due to a car accident. Your car insurance won’t cover the replacement cost. It also won’t cover their replacement if they’re stolen out of your car.

It May Cover Pet Injuries

pet injuries car insurance

Some car insurance companies have coverage for veterinarian expenses if your pet is in the car and injured when you have an accident. Not all insurance companies offer this though, so you should ask if your pet routinely rides with you. Also, make sure you check on how much the insurance will cover because a lot of them cap at $1,000 for veterinarian bills.

You Can Save Money By Paying Your Premium in Lump Sum Form

Yes, you can pay your car insurance every month. This may seem like the cheaper option upfront. However, you’ll most likely pay more over the course of the year by doing this. It’s better to pay for a year or half of the year when you buy insurance. It’s more expensive upfront, but you’ll avoid additional interest fees, payment processing fees, and other miscellaneous fees.

No matter what insurance company you decide to use for your car insurance, make sure that you compare them. The goal is to get the cheapest car insurance available that will still provide adequate protection in the event of an accident. Take your time, shop around, and pick the car insurance plan that is going to work for you.

See Also: Not So Perfect Driving Record? What You Need To Know About Car Insurance Coverage Costs

The post 10 Things You Didn’t Know About Your Car Insurance appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

​How Intermittent Fasting Helped Me Hit My Diet Goals

A few years ago, my body wasn’t what I wanted it to be. I wanted to lose quite a bit of weight. So, I tried monitoring my portions, counting calories, cutting out certain foods, and exercising like crazy. Unfortunately, nothing worked. I wasn’t getting any closer to attaining my weight loss goals. It was frustrating, to say the least.

Then, one day as I was pumping iron at the gym I overheard someone talking about intermittent fasting and the incredible gains that came with it. I was intrigued.

As soon as I got home, I did my research about this weight loss method. Then, I started to put it into practice.

Even I couldn’t believe the amazing results I got after intermittent fasting for just over a year. I’ve increased my muscle mass and decreased my body fat — all while eating less and spending less time at the gym.

What Exactly Is Intermittent Fasting?

Simply put, intermittent fasting involves eating within a specific window of time in the course of the day and not eating anything for the remaining hours. Instead of changing what you eat, you change when you eat so that you can get the most from your meals. I like to think of it as a pattern of eating, not a diet.

There are different intermittent fasting methods and you get to choose the one that suits your goals. Some people prefer alternate-day fasting while others find it better to have 24-hour fasts once or twice per week. There are people who find that a daily fasting window works for them. When choosing which method to go for, make sure that you understand your choices completely. Searching for a reliable intermittent fasting guide can help you.

I personally follow the 16:8 model of intermittent fasting, also known as the Leangains method. This involves having an 8-hour eating window followed by a 16-hour fasting period.

Most days, I simply skip breakfast and have lunch as my first meal of the day at around noon. Then, I eat one or two more meals during my eating window and stop eating at 8 p.m. After that, I fast until noon of the next day.

I admit that it took some getting used to but since my mornings are typically busy. I don’t find it hard to put off eating until noon.

Benefits of Intermittent Fasting

intermittent fasting benefits

Intermittent fasting comes with a number of benefits including:

Fast weight loss

Thanks to intermittent fasting, I was able to quickly achieve my weight loss goals. Since I was eating less, I was consuming fewer calories per day without having to count them or change my diet. Fasting for short periods of time increased fat burning levels in my body, resulting in significant weight loss. Best of all, I lost that stubborn belly fat in the process.

Losing body fat while holding on to lean muscle

Surprisingly, not only did intermittent fasting help me shed body fat but I was also able to increase my lean muscle mass. I did some research and discovered that this was largely due to the hormonal changes during fasting.

During the fasting hours, the levels of human growth hormone skyrocket, leading to muscle gain. Insulin decreases while norepinephrine increases. This means that the body finds it easier to burn fat when it enters a fasting state.

It’s easier to stick to than dieting

I have tried several dieting methods over the years with limited success. I found it difficult to adhere to them because they involved eating new foods or changing my eating habits.

With intermittent fasting, I don’t have to cut out my favorite foods, I simply have to change when I eat them. Additionally, while I still have to keep an eye on my portion sizes, I don’t have to get into any tedious calorie counting. The simplicity of this weight loss method made it easy for me to keep at it.

What To Look Out For

intermittent fasting tips

While intermittent fasting does have tremendous benefits, keep these things in mind if you want to lose weight:

Start slowly and be patient. If you’re new to fasting, consider starting with a moderate approach, such as overnight fasting before progressing to more intense fasting schedules. This gives your body time to adapt so you won’t be overwhelmed by the transition. Be patient as it takes time for the body to get used to going without food for long periods.

Be consistent. To help your body adapt, be consistent with fasting. Choose a schedule that works for you and stick with it until you attain the benefits.

Focus on the quality of the food you eat. While you don’t have to count calories, the quality of food you consume still matters. Include complex carbs and whole foods in your diet to keep you satiated for longer.

Ensure you don’t overeat. As you start out with intermittent fasting, you’re likely to experience increased hunger as your body isn’t used to going for long periods without food. This might tempt you to overeat to compensate. Giving in to this urge can undo all the good that you’ve gained from fasting.

Going without food for long stretches isn’t for everyone. However, if you’ve tried other methods to hit your weight goals without success, intermittent fasting might just do the trick.

See Also: Breaking the Fast: What I Have Learned Using Intermittent Fasting

The post ​How Intermittent Fasting Helped Me Hit My Diet Goals appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

5 Little-Known Steps To Get Over A Painful Breakup

Life is already difficult. Let’s try and make it a little less complicated and happier.

Let me start with something you would want to hear in a difficult time like this, okay?

It is completely alright to break up with someone if you think that the relationship was too draining and you’re not receiving enough in return.

Sometimes, saying goodbye hurts, but it is important for YOU. You need it to be happy and to love yourself.

If you’re not happy, you know it’s time to pack your stuff and leave. It doesn’t matter how long the relationship lasted. You will always feel heartbroken after parting ways with someone you couldn’t imagine living a day without. You may feel lonely and vulnerable. You may even want to call them back.

The effects of a breakup can last for a long time if you let them get to you. However, you have an option to slide through those effects and get back to being you.

First of all, I would like to inform you that self-harm, alcoholism, grieving for too long, cutting communication with friends and family or anything that doesn’t sound like a healthy way to get over a breakup is most probably not it.

Instead, you should indulge in activities that make you feel more like yourself — the person you were when you were single.

This doesn’t necessarily mean single people are happier. It just means that you need to learn to love yourself again and then, think about dating. Do one thing at a time.

Here, we are going to focus on how to be the better person after a breakup. Some of these tips will directly and immediately affect you while some can make a difference in the long run.

Curious? Read on to find out more.

Accept the Fact And Let It Out of Your System

Realize that shit happens and you are not responsible for it. You are just sad that it ended and you can take your time to feel alive again. Give yourself some time to do whatever it is that you want to do to accept the breakup.

Grieving is not bad. In fact, it can help you move on. However, hanging onto it for too long is not a good idea. Avoid drinking too much or harming yourself because trust me, you may feel like doing it when the agony becomes too much.

Once you have realized that what has happened has already happened, then you have to be okay with it for your own good. You can congratulate yourself for successfully taking the first step to moving on.

Clear The Chaos Around You

breakup tips

A lot of people will tell you to go out and have fun after a breakup. This is a flawed way of dealing with the situation. Hanging out will divert your mind away from your heartbreak but at the end of the day, you will have to come back to the same place. That’s when you’ll start feeling lonely again.

To get your life back on track, you need to make your living space more lively and organized. Clean up well and create a space where you can breathe freely. Open the windows and let the fresh air and sunlight in your room. Make an environment that has no place for grief or sorrow.

You can also look for cleansing incense sticks to create a fresh atmosphere in your room. Get some crystals, like amethyst, moonstone or citrine, that absorb negative energy.

Remove his belongings if they remind you of him. Throw them away if you don’t think he would want them back. It is completely your decision.

Surround Yourself with Positivity

Think about yourself and the people around you. Take the time to invite some of them over for a barbecue or simply to hang out at home. It doesn’t have to be too extravagant.

Having others around you is actually good. You’ll have people to talk to, particularly when you are feeling down

Keep your routine a healthy one because after a breakup, people tend to oversleep, overeat, and avoid going to work. If you notice that you’re falling into that pit, make the effort to work on a healthy routine, diet, and social life. That way, you’ll feel better faster.

Even if you don’t, you will get there. Just keep in mind that you are the most important person in your life and whatever you do, you keep your own best interests in mind.

Treat Yourself

treat yourself

Heartbreaks can make you feel depressed and unable to take care of your hygiene and appearance. So, put in some effort and take time out of your schedule to visit a salon or a spa to treat your mind and body. Spas can feel relaxing when you’re feeling distraught.

You can also go out shopping and get some new clothes. Be inclined towards brighter and more lively colors as those can make you feel a lot more positive.

You can also get yourself some jewelry or a good pair of shoes. Don’t feel guilty about splurging a little if it’ll make you feel better.

Take Comfort In Your Community

All these efforts are of no use unless you cut your ties off completely from the person who broke your heart and settles back into your community.

You can start making new friends, go out with your old friend, and carry out activities you think you were missing out on when you were in a relationship. Spare some time for yourself and the people who care about you.

Conclusion

It is said that the longer you date someone, the harder it is to let go. This may be true at some level, but it is never impossible to let anyone go. All you need to do is exert effort and the first step towards that is ‘wanting to do it’.

Breakups become as difficult as you make them. You don’t have to follow the dreaded routine of over-indulgence. You can let it not affect you by taking care of yourself and putting your happiness above everything else.

See Also: Written By Him: How To Handle A Break Up

The post 5 Little-Known Steps To Get Over A Painful Breakup appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

How AI Will Make Workflow Easier for Marketers in 2019

We’re not going to suddenly see a robot takeover in 2019. However, we will see the continued improvement and application of artificial intelligence in marketing.

As software gets better, the strengths of AI remain: taking in and processing large amounts of information very quickly and performing tedious tasks without complaint. Next year, we will see marketers ramp up the integration of the application of artificial intelligence in marketing.

Here are some of the areas you can expect to see AI gain ground in marketers’ everyday routines:

Content Creation

content creation

Was this article written by artificial intelligence? Would you even be able to tell if it was?

No, the current and near future of AI does not allow for writing fully creative and narrative pieces. However, many of the sports and finance articles you read are already authored by artificial intelligence. AI is helping marketers speed up and optimize many areas of content creation.

Video

As video takes over your Facebook newsfeed, AI is helping speed up the process of creating videos in a major way. Antonio Otalvaro, CEO of Raw Shorts, sees the value in automation and efficiency and knows that creators are mainly looking for a way to cut down on tedious tasks in their workflow. With video creation becoming faster and easier, he says we’re going to see people in all industries gravitate towards video as the communication medium of the future.

Ad Campaigns

In 2019, you can expect to see a lot more marketers adopting AI for testing ad campaigns. There are a lot of pieces to an ad campaign, like slightly different wording, layout, and background images. An AI program can be given a handful of variables and can test them to see which ones perform best.

Internal Communication

One of the more tedious parts of any marketer’s day is creating and writing internal communication. This includes summary reports and descriptions of their projects. This can be automated fairly easily, as they typically follow a set format and need minimal input from the creator.

Customer insights

Marketers can use AI to collect and analyze tons of data from email campaigns, ads, website visits, and so much more. All of these data help to create much more specific and targeted customer segments.

Understanding

understanding ai

AI will assist marketers in understanding their customers’ behavior better than ever before. Marketers will start utilizing AI to engage existing customers better by tailoring their experience with the brand.

AI can process information much faster than any human. It can take in tons of data about a visitor in no time at all. Then, it can use that information to present the visitor with what he or she is more likely to interact and engage with.

Marketers will also begin applying AI to retain customers. They can implement intelligent software that can learn when a customer is about to leave the page or abandon the brand for a competitor. When this happens, marketers can instruct the software to implement strategies that will help keep the customer engaged and discourage them from leaving. These steps can increase retention.

Targeting

The knowledge AI provides about customers will help marketers target them across all channels more effectively. In ad campaigns, AI can help with targeting viewers based on huge amounts of data, like location, demographics, and what device they are using.

It can help optimize mobile marketing and make it easier for marketers to do the difficult job of demographic research. By showing them a specific, personalized, targeted message based on that information, they have a better chance at optimizing that interaction.

These insights lead to better-targeted segments:

Instead of a 22 to 35-year old female, she’s a 26 to 29-year old female who uses Facebook, loves cats, and is shopping around to invest in quality pieces to create her capsule wardrobe.

The Future of AI

We’ve seen the future of AI. It’s faster, more efficient, and more personalized than ever. Marketers will have more time to be creative as they spend less time doing boring and tedious tasks. Targeted and personalized messaging will become easier and much more common as AI helps marketers get to know their customers better and improve interactions between customers and brands.

The post How AI Will Make Workflow Easier for Marketers in 2019 appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

5 Super Easy Skin and Beauty Hacks For Lazy Girls

Keeping ourselves camera-ready every day requires money, time, and effort. The usual Korean skincare routine, for instance, even involves 8 full steps. That is definitely not ideal for the naturally beauty-lazy people.

Fortunately, there are beauty hacks for lazy girls you can totally try to look and feel beautiful even without exerting a lot of effort.

Purchase multi-purpose products

When buying beauty products, it’s a great idea to stick to those that target more than just one skin or beauty problem. For example, you can choose a lip tint that can be used as a blush whenever you are in a hurry.

These days, beauty balms are not only infused with skin nutrients but they also offer better coverage and a wider range of shades. With that, you can also use them as a foundation.

There are many other beauty products that can serve more than one purpose. Most of them require no more than 3 minutes to apply. Find one that will suit your skin type.

Keep hair oils handy

hair oils

Essential oils are no longer just for treating ailments. They also work great for fixing messy hair and dry skin problems.

If your hair has split ends, make it a habit to apply argan oil. It coats your locks perfectly. The oil can also double as your moisturizer when your hands or arms get too flaky.

More so, some essential oils have empowering scents. Use them and you won’t need to constantly reapply your perfume.

Keep a brown eyeliner

Eyes are your face’s focal points. You most definitely need a brown eyeliner, preferably the pencil-type, to hide your tired eyes without being obvious.

Brown is also a very versatile color. It can be worn for a casual look for a daytime event or a bolder look for a nighttime affair. If you forgot to bring your eyeshadow and eyebrow powder, you can use your brown eyeliner to fill in your lids and brows for a sultry look.

While others prefer the lighter shade of brown, you can experiment and go for the darker shade. It’s relatively more flexible and visible.

When applying an eyeliner as eyeshadow, you can either just draw thick lines following the shape of your upper lids or you can draw a criss-cross pattern on your outer eye area and smudge the color for a smoky look.

Carry a toner everywhere you go

Most people fail to realize the magical importance of toner. Ideally, you wash your face first with a cleanser before applying a toner. However, during lazy nights and mornings, you can skip the lengthy process of washing your face and just apply your toner directly.

A toner cleanses, refines, and freshens up your face as easy as 1-2-3. It can also be an alternative to a makeup remover.

You can carry a bottle of toner and a small pack of cotton with you wherever you go. That way, you can clean your face as you wish or in the absence of water. This especially holds true when you have a long-haul travel and your entire beauty set is packed in your checked-in luggage.

As a recommendation, use an alcohol-free and paraben-free toner so you won’t end up damaging your skin. Toners, unlike wet wipes, are specially formulated for facial application. You can be guaranteed that the ingredients are safe and effective.

Invest in a good facial treatment

facial treatment

Skin becomes easily unhealthy with today’s lifestyle and heavy use of makeup. Add that to the lack of time and effort for self-care most women are guilty of. Well, here’s the ultimate life hack– go to a trusted beauty salon and indulge in a good facial.

These days, facial treatments only last for about 30 minutes to 2 hours, depending on the kind of treatment. It’s basically the perfect treat for time-pressed women.

After a single session, your face will feel significantly rejuvenated, hydrated, and plump. And you won’t have to spend a lot of money just to enjoy a quality facial.

There you have it, 5 easy hacks to keep yourself looking well-kept and healthy every time. They’re super easy beauty hacks for lazy girls. They are not time-consuming so you’ll definitely enjoy trying them out.

 

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Take Up Your Business: How To Pitch A Business Idea

Presenting is probably one of the most common things people are afraid of. Anxiety, headache, high heart rate… All these symptoms are familiar to unexperienced presenters and professional speakers.

You might have an excellent idea which will take your business to a higher level, but if your presentation skills are not developed enough, you are likely to fail. Low self-esteem and anxiety are frequent enemies of young and ambitious professionals.

So, what can you do to pitch your ideas successfully? How can you stand out from the crowd and make people listen to you? What qualities or skills will assist you in this task?

Below are six ways on how to pitch a business idea successfully and draw the attention of your audience.

Face the Fear

business presentation

If you feel nervous while making a presentation, psychologists suggest you look straight in the eyes of your fear. Gain more experience telling jokes to friends, presenting ideas to your colleagues or just speaking to a crowd in the street. But don’t attack people straight away as you might have troubles with the police.

Try to capture the audience’s attention with funny stories or interesting facts. If you can pitch to a stranger, you can conquer the world with your ideas! All these exercises will help you reduce stress and feel calmer while presenting to a bigger audience.

See Also: Overcome Your Fear of Making a Presentation

Assertiveness

“Assertiveness” is a “buzzword” in the world of business. Assertive employees do not hesitate to respond to colleagues’ negative comments or ask for a pay rise. They state their position clearly so that no one can question their authority.

So, next time someone tries to kill your idea with negativity, feel free to fight back with arguments. If you’re assertive enough, others will treat your suggestions seriously and take your opinion into account.

Know Your Audience

There is a substantial difference when you present to a group of colleagues or you try to pitch your idea to a “big cheese”. The structure of your presentation, the choice of vocabulary, and even your look will be different.

It would seem weird if you organize a meeting with a board of directors and start your presentation with the phrase: “Hey, men! What’s up?” or show up dressed in a swimsuit.

Of course, you will bump into your audience’s memory, but your idea will unlikely gain the necessary support it needs. Surely, it would be better to prepare beforehand. Ask your colleagues for advice and get some information about your manager’s opinion. These steps will help you customize your ideas so they will be more appealing to your audience.

Predict Questions

It would be a fairy tale if your bosses accept all your suggestions without a question. Most likely, they’ll be interested in details or ask you to present a business plan. However, you have to stay realistic.

Your boss will not request your marital status or talk about space projects (unless you work for NASA). Financial statements, implementation plan, and profitability are what will make your bosses interested.

Try to get into your manager’s shoes and anticipate potential objections. Perhaps, your idea is not profitable enough or it is too risky for the company. Get prepared to defend your point of view with convincing arguments.

Use Visuals

visual presentation

Did you know that the human brain processes visual information 60,000 times faster than a speech or a text? You can be as eloquent as Kennedy or change your communication styles as a chameleon changes its colors, but you will not succeed if you don’t provide any pictures or charts.

The best solution here is to use infographics to briefly present the data. They are entertaining and will likely grasp the audience’s attention.

See Also: 7 Ways To Create a Presentation that Captures Attention

Show Your Personality

You can learn all the rules and still talk like a textbook. The best speakers, such as Margaret Thatcher or Martin Luther King, had a set of distinctive features which set them apart from other public figures.

If you are average, nobody will remember you!

It’s better to show something weird and become a star in the office rather than ramble, making people not want to pay attention to your ideas.

Are you a great joker or an interactive lecturer? Engage your audience in some activity or just tell a fascinating story. Define your peculiarity and show it up!

To wrap it up, you don’t need to spend long hours studying the habits of famous speakers. Just allocate some time, get prepared, remain assertive, and show your personality. Just follow these tips and you won’t have problems mastering how to pitch a business idea to anyone.

The post Take Up Your Business: How To Pitch A Business Idea appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

How to Get Rid of Relationship Insecurities

The best relationship advice for a happy marriage is never to compare yourself or your spouse to someone else. Unfortunately, this is easier said than done, especially if you are insecure by nature. Getting over relationship insecurities can be hard for you.

Insecurity often boils down to a deep feeling of inadequacy in a relationship. You may feel like you aren’t smart, pretty, funny or interesting enough to keep your partner’s attention. Insecurity may also stem from a distrust from your partner due to a past indiscretion on their behalf.

Feeling insecure about yourself or your spouse can do some serious damage to an otherwise healthy relationship. Here are 6 tips on how you can start getting over relationship insecurities.

Consider Your Baggage

Some of the best relationship advice you can follow for handling insecurities in your marriage is to pinpoint the source of the problem. Some examples of what led you to this emotional point may be that:

  • You have been cheated on in the past
  • You watched your parents go through a messy divorce
  • Your current spouse has been unfaithful in the past
  • You have experienced a drastic change in appearance (weight gain/loss/pregnancy)
  • Your emotional connection to your spouse feels lacking

The list can go on and on, but it is important to learn where your insecurities are stemming from. Once you know what led to your romantic insecurities, you will be better equipped to handle them.

Stop Comparing Yourself

Always remember that comparison is the thief of joy. The more you compare yourself to someone else, the less happy you will be in your marriage.

It is common for someone who is feeling insecure to begin comparing themselves to their spouse’s former lovers. This can lead to boiling jealousy, hurtful fights, and much irritation for both you and your partner.

If your spouse wanted to be with someone else, they wouldn’t be with you. Your partner is not with their ex-flame, they are with you. They love you, are charmed by you, and choose to spend their time with you because they enjoy doing so. Remember that the next time you are feeling insecure about your partner’s past.

Get It Out of Your System

talking about insecurities

If you’re feeling insecure or jealous and it is bubbling to the surface, don’t wait for it to explode. Let it out!

The longer you hold back your insecurities, the more time they have to build and fester. Instead of letting things spiral out of control, talk to your partner about it. Do that before you start snooping on your partner’s phone, following them around, and having friends check up on them.

Communication is the key to a healthy relationship, especially when you are feeling insecure or jealous.

When you sit down to talk to your partner, don’t snap at them or turn your insecurities into an argument. And trust us, that can be very easy to do.

Instead, speak calmly and reasonably about how you’re feeling. Explain to your partner why you might be feeling this way. You will likely find them to be understanding and eager to help in this matter.

Practice Self-Care

The best relationship advice for building confidence is by practicing self-love. Take care of yourself. Dress up, take a bubble bath or play guitar. Whatever makes you feel great, do more of it!

Exercising is a great way to build confidence. Learn to appreciate the unique qualities that make you a lovable and valuable partner to your spouse.

When you exercise, you are feeding your self-confidence.

Exercising triggers your body to release a compound neurotransmitter called dopamine. It’s the body’s natural reward system that causes euphoric feelings of happiness. This mood-elevator can do wonders for your confidence and overall outlook on yourself and your marriage.

Getting fit and stronger is another benefit of working out. You’ll find that the healthier your body feels, the better your mental state will be in. Doctors recommend getting at least 30 minutes of exercise each day for the best results both mentally and physically.

Have a Regular Date Night

Emotional and physical intimacy are both integral to a happy marriage. Scheduling time each week to spend a romantic, fun or exciting evening together as a couple is a great way to strengthen these aspects of your relationship.

Studies show that building emotional intimacy and boosting oxytocin is actually proven to boost trust in humans. Having more trust in your spouse will put you at ease about your insecurities. It’ll give you more time to spend enjoying each other’s company.

When sitting down for date night, make sure to put your phones away. Having an electronic-free date night will prevent you and your spouse from feeling snubbed or unappreciated.

Write It Down

writing down insecurities

It’s healthy and wise to talk to your partner about how you’re feeling, but you can’t do that 24/7. Not only is it unhealthy for you to make them the source of your constant reassurance, but it is exhausting for your partner.

Make it a goal to talk about your insecurities for no more than 20 to 30 minutes a week. If you still feel the need to talk about it after this time frame, why not create a journal?

In a study done by the BMJ Journal, patients undergoing stressful situations were encouraged to write about their plans for the day for three 20-minute periods over the course of several days. The results showed a reduction in emotional stress. Just from writing!

Writing down your feelings is an excellent way to get them out of your system without starting a fight or getting upset with your partner.

See Also: 3 Writing Techniques to Increase your Self-Esteem  

It’s normal to have insecurities, even in healthy relationships. Focus on the good in yourself and in your spouse. Learn a healthy way to communicate with your partner about your insecurities and always work to build up your relationship. Following these best relationship advice tips will help you maintain a happy marriage.

The post How to Get Rid of Relationship Insecurities appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

How To Stop Unhappiness Rituals in Your Relationships

I once had a patient, we’ll call her Betty, tell me that every night she would cook her spouse a gourmet dinner. At first, it didn’t look like she was unhappy in a relationship. After dinner, she would ask, “How was your dinner?”

The response was always the same: “So, so.”

Every night, she would find herself angry, unhappy, and resentful. She would focus on how hopeless her situation was. After all, she told herself that all she wanted was to please her partner and to get a little appreciation for her efforts. This woman was definitely unhappy in a relationship.

What is an Unhappiness Ritual?

unhappiness ritual

An unhappiness ritual is a repeated, unsatisfying, cyclical behavior that leads us to unhappiness. There is always a beginning to our unhappiness rituals. Entrance to them is usually initiated by the person who maintains the ritual. As long as we keep our unhappiness rituals going, there is no end to the hopelessness, disappointment, resentment, guilt, and anger that comes as a result.

Over time, unhappiness rituals become automatic. They become habits. We unconsciously include them. The unhappy feelings, which is the outcome of our unhappiness rituals can evolve into a state of chronic discontent and bitterness. Depression often awaits us as we endure with predictable outcomes.

How do unhappiness rituals begin?

Let’s review the patient above.

Her unhappiness ritual with cooking dinner began because she unknowingly needed some kindness, appreciation, and validation from her husband. She didn’t put those needs into words. It was rather a wordless longing inside her.

Then, the idea came to her that cooking nightly gourmet dinners would certainly invite conversation and expressed appreciation from her husband. When her solution didn’t give her the outcome she wanted, she kept on cooking, hoping things would change. She initially became disappointed.

Then, she became sad. Anger and resentment took over. She became stuck in a repetitive unhappiness cycle.

Here is the equation for the inception of unhappiness rituals:

  1. We have an unarticulated, unmet want that is surrounded by a discontent about our need not being met.
  2. We try to get our needs met by creating a solution.
  3. The solution doesn’t work. Our needs are not met. We get stuck in the solution, hoping that one day our needs will be met.

Why do we stay stuck?

Think back to when you learned to drive a car. If you were like most, you paid attention to how you pulled away from the curb. You always put on your turn signal and you checked the speedometer to make sure you were not going too fast. You were aware of what you were doing and what other drivers were doing.

Compare that to how you drive a car now.

After years of driving, isn’t all that you do on the highways and byways automatic? Do you consciously think about how you drive? Probably not, because your driving is now habituated. You do it without even thinking about what you are doing.

We get stuck in unhappiness rituals the exact same way.

We practice them over and over and without knowing, they become automatic. Like Betty, she no longer was aware that every evening around 4:00 she would begin thinking about what she would cook for her husband.

She would comb Gourmet magazine or her recipe books for new and delicious-sounding recipes. Around 5:00, Betty would have selected a meal and she would begin preparing it. Her mantra was, “maybe this time my husband will love the dinner.”

She reported that she was “always hurt when I got the same “so-so” response, night after night.

We become unconsciously and habitually stuck in our unhappiness rituals. Inexplicably, in our stuckness, we expect others to change their responses. It is our fervent hope that others will “get it” and we will be acknowledged, appreciated or feel loved because someone else changed their behaviors.

How to stop being unhappy in a relationship

unhappy relationship

After some therapy and planning, here’s what Betty did:

She stopped putting so much energy into meal preparation and she stopped asking her husband how he liked his dinner! Does that sound too simple?

It took Betty some time to gather the courage to sort out the needs and feelings that were related to her unhappiness ritual. She took quite some time for her to embrace the idea of stepping out of her automatic behaviors. It took creating new ways of interacting and connecting.

How to get out of your unhappiness rituals:

  1. Identify what is causing unhappiness for you. What is it that you repeatedly do that leads to your unhappy feelings?
  2. Name your feelings. Instead of just saying you feel unhappy, name exactly what the feelings are. Are you resentful or in an unhappiness ritual because of guilt? Are you accustomed to being a victim in your life and therefore being in an unhappiness ritual feels comfortable and uncomfortable at the same time? Exploration of your feelings is more easily done with a neutral third party involved.
  3. Learn what you are needing. We enter unhappiness rituals through a desire to get some response usually from another person.
  4. Dissect your ritual. When does it begin? What thoughts go through your mind? What do you tell yourself? Is guilt, retribution, anger, revenge, manipulation or setting yourself up for victimization a driving force? Write it down. Look at it.
  5. Clearly state what it is about your unhappiness ritual that you want to stop.

Action exiting

Change is very difficult as our automatic behaviors are hardwired into our brains. It takes consciousness and perseverance to depart from our unhappiness rituals, especially when they have become entrenched through years of practice.

Betty made a step-by-step plan. She took action!

She identified that around 4:00 pm, she would start planning the evening meal. Her first exodus step was to create activities for herself at that hour.

After some time, Betty decided that she and her neighbor would either play tennis at the local community center or hike with their dogs. In inclement weather, Betty worked out at the gym.

Unhappiness rituals usually fall apart after we intervene on our first step into the ritual.

Next, Betty stopped her subscription to Gourmet Magazine and she boxed up her cookbooks and the recipes that she had collected from newspapers over the years. She put them in the guest room closet.

Then, she considered what types of meals she would make for dinner. Betty decided on some frozen, pre-prepared meals and fresh salads. She had advised her husband.

It went like this:

Honey, I have changed my schedule so I won’t be dedicating so much time to preparing dinner. Just wanted you to know. I’ve got to go right now. I’m going to the gym. If you have any questions, we can discuss it later.

Notice that Betty was brief and respectful. She simply told her husband that she was making a change and then, she exited. No justifications and no explanations. No processing of feelings and no making her husband wrong for not fulfilling her unspoken needs.

To exit an unhappiness ritual:

  1. Write down a plan. Get feedback from an impartial party.
  2. Tell the person/people involved what the change is going to be. Discussing the reason for the change is not necessary and usually leads to a diatribe about our unhappiness because someone else is not meeting our needs (which usually translates into blaming them for our feelings and for making a change necessary).
  3. Plan activities you can do before you enter your unhappiness ritual.
  4. Stick to your change. Practice the change you have selected. Do the change.
  5. Remember, the more you practice your new behavior, the more quickly it becomes automatic.

Finally, get yourself out of your unhappiness rituals. If you follow the steps, you will alleviate emotional pain and find yourself happier and more satisfied with your life.

The post How To Stop Unhappiness Rituals in Your Relationships appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

5 Reasons a Messy Desk Is Not Good For Your Productivity

Do you feel stressed or distracted as soon as you get to work? Here’s one cause you may not have considered: not having a clean desk at work

Sure, you’ve probably heard things like “yeah, my desk is messy, but so was Einstein’s”. This idea that having a cluttered desk is a good thing has become much more common in the last few years. But alas, that doesn’t make it right and we’re going to do a bit of debunking.

Here are 5 reasons why a cluttered desk isn’t better:

messy desk

It Creates Stress

When you start the day feeling like you’re behind, that can be deeply discouraging. That’s exactly what happens (even subconsciously) when you’ve got unsorted piles all over your workspace.

It’s Distracting

A mess can stop your flow. If you find your eyes drifting to the odds and ends strewn around your desk, those moments are lost time. More importantly, it’s an interruption. This can be particularly counterproductive when you’re “in-the-zone” and cranking out fast, quality work.

It’s Unhealthy

The average office keyboard has roughly 7,500 bacteria on it. Taking care of yourself includes taking care of your work surfaces. An uncleaned desk can have a real impact on how often you’re sick or not feeling well.

It Can Undermine Your Reputation

According to Adecco, a majority of Americans (57%) admit they judge co-workers by how clean or dirty they keep their workspaces.

If you work in an office or shared space, your desk will impact how your colleagues and superiors see you. A messy or disorganized desk can be interpreted as a sign you are disorganized and inefficient in your work. That’s not the type of image any of us want.

It Reduces Self Confidence

In addition to affecting the way others see you, a messy desk can impact how you see yourself. Don’t miss the importance of this. Having confidence can have a profound impact on how you present yourself and pursue your work. A clean desk at work is a very simple step that can have a variety of benefits in your professional life.

Now that we’ve established the negative effects of a messy desk, let’s do something about it. Here are 4 things you can start today to get your desk in order:

organized desk

1. Create a Cleaning Habit

Even 15 minutes/week makes a huge difference. I like to do this on Friday afternoons. It gives me a sense of resolution and paves the way for a positive start on Monday morning. If you want to go bigger, decluttering at the end of each workday can be a great cadence.

2. Purge Based on Frequency

If you don’t use it every week, store it or throw it away. If you use it every week, put it in an easily accessible bin/shelf/drawer. In case you use it daily (or hourly), keep it within reach. The idea is to strategically place files, tools, and materials based on how often you use them.

3. Create a Clear Filing System

This applies to paper files and digital files. The amount of time we waste trying to find stuff is outrageous. Take an hour to establish a clear system. This will save you hours (even weeks) in the long run.

4. Splurge on Organization Tools

Sometimes, the best thing you can do for your desk is to add something to it. That may be a bit counter-intuitive but adding something like a shelf or desk cover can have a huge impact on the look and feel of your workspace.

That’s it, now do it! Add a block to your calendar or planner and transform your workspace into a well-oiled machine.

The post 5 Reasons a Messy Desk Is Not Good For Your Productivity appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

The One Post Breakup Thing Women Need to Do

“I’m not happy anymore. I see no future with you. I will never love you. You need to accept that and move on. I’m sorry.”

As cliché as it may sound, that was the last I heard from the guy I was so desperately in love with. He’s the guy who dumped me for his major insecurities, male ego, and limitless tail-chasing.

After some time, he went with a follow up stating that he wanted the possibility of a friendship with me- different from what I had been hoping for with him.

break up

You’d like to think that I immediately jumped at the chance to get back together, even if it’s just on a level of completely platonic pals. Or perhaps one of his many previous conquests-now-turned-buddies.

Well, let me tell you this.

I was not that desperate and pathetic.

Flipping him off was below my ladylike standards, so I told him an outright no.

Naturally, he didn’t understand my reluctance as much as I couldn’t comprehend why he wanted to keep me with him, when in fact he’d expressed openly in different terms that he’d rather close the chapter of his life where I was in it, to begin with.

How to handle a break-up with class

post break up

After a breakup, especially in this sort of situation, no matter how much you think it will work on your favor, never beg or plead. That’s even if you are still completely not over or might never be over him. By never, I mean it would be horrific and downright mortifying once you come to your senses!

Trust me. Begging does not work, even if you blackmail him emotionally.

And, do not accept a “Just Be Friends” proposition from the man who brutally jilted you under any circumstance at all! It would be unfair of him to ask that of you, especially when you didn’t want whatever relationship you had to end in the first place.

Handling breakups are different for the vast majority of us as there are a lot of factors that tend to vary.

However, acting loony will get you nowhere.

Overreacting would be a nasty faux pas.

Blowing up his phone and stalking him on social media would not only strain an already non-existent relationship. It would also make you- and not him- more miserable in the long run.

My dear women, I say, go through the breakup with class and what’s left of your dignity.

Various online dating gurus would tell you this and I can attest that it absolutely works a hundred and ten percent: Lose all form of contact with him, as long as it would take for you to reconvene your feelings and your life in general.

Human nature dictates that pain is unwanted, in every aspect, be it physical or emotional.

Unquestionably, going through your normal routine will prove to be very, very difficult. You may find yourself at the end of some nights tired, weeping, and lonely but don’t fret too much. It’s all part of the process to heal yourself.

The bottom line is for you to get a life where you are happy and secure with yourself. You don’t need him to be in it.

Then, live that life and let things run their course.

If he comes back, then it’s up to you to accept him. If you do accept, set boundaries for yourself, which he has to learn to respect.

In case he doesn’t, well, do you really want a man who wants to stay uncommitted and yet desires the benefits of a committed relationship?

See Also: Let Go of Your Ex: 7 Excuses You Need to Stop Making Now

The post The One Post Breakup Thing Women Need to Do appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

How to Stay Strong and Extremely Resilient In Chaos

Despite avoiding the news and mainstream influence 90% of the time, I’m still aware that the world is in a state of chaos and that people are having a hard time finding peace in chaos. Especially in the United States’ political climate, we see ongoing negativity, reactivity, and ignorance.

We typically see chaos as a negative concept while order is preferred. With order there’s stability and predictability, thus we know we won’t be challenged. But of course, a challenge is important to an individual’s growth and most of us know that deep down.

The same goes for societies – they must be challenged to either grow or dismantle.

In nature, chaos is generally what happens before growth and change. While yes, chaos can cause an organism to die. However, it is stagnancy and repetition of old patterns that lead to death.

So, what does this mean for the individual who’s trying to stay sane in the midst of (what is often) other people’s chaos and pain?

Here are what I’ve found to be the two most useful actions to take:

Disconnect

disconnect

NOTE: This does not mean give up. Disconnecting isn’t the same as becoming apathetic and complacent.

Disconnecting is an act of self-preservation and restoration. It simply means you are choosing to disconnect from the things that you know to be false. It could be anything that goes against peace, authenticity, etc.

This will probably include a lot of media.

You will need to take long breaks from the news, social media, and maybe even social events in which your friends/family relentlessly complain, argue, etc. By disconnecting, you claim back your power and separate yourself from the endless barrage of negativity – a lot of which is inflated and false.

You get comfortable in your own energy, without the TV blaring or a friend listing all the horrible things that happened that day. This is an especially critical practice for empaths who have trouble holding their own energy around others. Disconnecting doesn’t mean you don’t care. It means you care enough to make a change.

Act from the Center

staying strong

Once you’ve disconnected from the mainstream thought process, you can then have a genuine, positive impact. This is HUGE.

Why?

Because everyone else is so caught up in the struggle – the bickering, the wallowing, the insistence that “my way is the best way.”

In this state, chaos, inequality, and violence will continue to flourish indefinitely. The only thing that holds society together is individuals who step outside the thought stream and say, “here’s what I’m going to do to benefit people today.”

Period.

They act from their center because they’ve disconnected from the outside enough to hear their own voice. These people go on to start businesses, volunteer projects, fundraisers or even just bring their own families back to a place of stability. As a famous musician wrote, “they hold us at the center while the spiral unwinds.”

So, if you’re uncertain of what to do and wish you could have an impact during these times of chaos, try this and see what comes out of it. You might be surprised at how stepping back can actually save time and allow for greater productivity.

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How To Tell If You Or Someone You Love Is A Narcissist

We have all known that person, the one who monopolizes the conversations or seems to always have a flattering story to tell – always about themselves. Maybe, we listen politely for a bit and make a break for it as soon as we possibly can. Perhaps, we suffer silently while inwardly rolling our eyes.

But what if that person is you? Would you even know it?

Identifying narcissism in others is one thing. There are some glaring signs that we can all agree upon. However, identifying it in yourself can be more difficult.

Most narcissists have no idea that they fall into this category. They often view themselves as unique, special, outgoing or justifiably confident. What they don’t realize is that those views taken to the extreme can cause many problems in their relationships, work or even their family.

Why Narcissism Is Dangerous

narcissistic person

Although narcissism can be a dangerous trait, it exists in all of us to some degree. In its most mild and most common form, it can be looked at as a desire to feel special. We can all relate to that on some level. Wanting to feel like there is something that makes us unique, interesting or desirable is completely normal.

For some, however, this goes far beyond the general desire to stand out. For certain people, narcissism can become so extreme that they can no longer relate to anyone around them. They feel they are in a category of greatness no one can understand. They may also assume that they are so unique that rules don’t apply to them or that they are more interesting and have far more to offer than anyone else.

The narcissist may become so intent on proving their superiority that they lie, manipulate or hurt those around them. They do these things in order to maintain the feeling that they are better and more worthy of admiration than anyone else. While these behaviors are destructive in and of themselves, they also have an impact that goes far beyond the day-to-day.

Relationships for someone with extreme narcissistic behavior are often either short-lived or unhealthy. A healthy relationship balances the needs of both partners with each respecting and appreciating the other. When your focus is completely on yourself, this isn’t possible. People in relationships with narcissists will often be used as a prop for the narcissist’s ego. This should prompt a swift end to a relationship because it often results in emotional and mental abuse.

Recognizing Narcissism

narcissist

This isn’t really a fair question because almost everyone will answer no. None of us wants to feel like our behavior rises to that level. It is possible, however, that you are or someone you love is exhibiting narcissistic tendencies.

Consider the following questions when recognizing narcissism:

  • Do you often feel like your decision-making skills are better than others?
  • Do you override what others want because you are sure your desires/interests/plans are better?
  • Are your achievements over-embellished?
  • Do you often think, “they will thank me for this later” when you are doing things?
  • Do you feel like you have an undiscovered talent and you are just biding your time until people see it?
  • Are you a good listener or are you just waiting for someone to stop talking so that you can talk?
  • Do you feel like you have a way to get around things you don’t like and that the rules don’t really apply to you?
  • Do you expect to receive special treatment above others in the same situation?
  • Are you looking forward to talking about your achievements?
  • Do you always have an “I can do you one better” kind of story when others have talked about something?
  • Do you reject criticism and feedback as being stupid or a product of other people’s jealousy of you?

If the answer to more than a couple of these questions is yes, you or the person you answered for could likely be classified as a narcissist.

Narcissism can be a disabling trait. It destroys friendships, romantic relationships, careers, and causes a great deal of personal pain and conflict. When a person finally comes to terms with the truth, it can be a difficult road to recovery.

If you recognize these behaviors in yourself or someone else, it is time to initiate change. For a narcissist, change is a big step in the right direction.

That change is possible but it won’t happen overnight. So, if you or someone you love is trying to make positive alterations, be patient. With time, effort, and a good support system it can be done.

The post How To Tell If You Or Someone You Love Is A Narcissist appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

How to Avoid The Regret of Yesterday And The Fear of Tomorrow

“We look neither ahead nor backward. We look straight into the present.”

Stay in the present, be in the now, just for today.

We’ve heard those lines time and time again, but we still struggle to get hold of this life-changing concept.

Why? Why is it so hard to know how to stay in the present?

If we’ve been told that focusing on the present is the answer to all of our problems, then why do we find it so hard to do it?

Why do we insist on continually dragging ourselves back into the past or propelling ourselves forward into the future?

The answer is simple. It’s because it’s easy to say but not so easy to do!

So, here are 5 tips on how to stay in the present.

Focus on one thing and look at it with all of your might

I’m not talking about some random object like a pencil or a chair. Looking at that with all of your might would be pretty pointless and boring.

I mean something in nature. It could be a tree, a flower, your dog or your cat.

Stare at it with all of your might. Take every single tiny detail in.

If you’ve chosen to focus on a tree, watch how each leaf moves individually. Zoom in on the lines and texture of the bark and count how many different hues of green you can see. Listen to the tree whisper to you as the wind dances through the branches.

If you decided to gaze willfully at your pet, watch how its body moves gently as it breathes. Watch how it gazes so simply into space or how peacefully it sleeps. Focus on its nose and how it subtly twitches as it smells the world.

When you focus solely on something like that, you are being 100% at the moment and you won’t even realize it.

See Also: Feeling Stuck In a Rut? Here’s How to Change Your Focus

Do a guided meditation every day, just for 10 minutes

practice meditation

Come on now, it’s just ten minutes.

I don’t believe you are that busy that you can’t throw a quick 10-minute guided meditation into your day.

You don’t have to be a spiritual guru or a yogi in order to meditate. Anyone can do it and it really is the best way to center you into the present moment.

There are some brilliant meditation apps for your phone that make meditation quick and easy. Check out Calm or Headspace.

See Also: Benefits Of Meditation: How You Can Change Your Life In 10 Minutes

Watch the world like you’re watching a movie

When you are sitting on a train or a bus, sitting in a coffee shop or restaurant or even walking down the street, imagine yourself sitting in a movie theater.

Be absolutely still for a moment and just watch everything that is happening all around you in that very moment.

The movie is called ‘Life’ and it’s a fly on the wall documentary film.

It’s the quickest way to get out of your head and find your way straight back to the present.

Focus on the soles of your feet

A weird one I know, like my other four suggestions haven’t been somewhat odd.

If you find yourself feeling all kinds of yucky because you’re preoccupied with what happened yesterday or what’s going down tomorrow, just pause for a moment and focus on the soles of your feet.

Close your eyes and just zone in. Try and feel the soft skin on the soles of your feet without touching them with your hands. Simply use your concentration.

Feel the soles of your feet against your shoes or how they feel against the tiled floor or the grass between your toes. Pay attention to your toes, the arch of your foot, and the bottom of your heal.

Sounds weird but while zoning out on your feet, you’re actually being completely in the present moment. Your thoughts of yesterday and tomorrow have disappeared.

Dance

dance with abandonement

Dancing with abandonment is the best way to clear your head of overthinking and to just feel joy and pleasure right now.

I’m not saying you have to start dancing with abandonment in the middle of the supermarket or at the bus stop. However, if you have the courage to do that, then kudos to you.

No, I’m just suggesting you put some headphones on, lock your bedroom door, and just have a quick boogie to one of your favorite uplifting songs.

It’s impossible not to stay present when you’re strutting your stuff without a care in the world.

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How To Crush Uncertainty And Realize Your Dreams

You know the feeling.

You have a dream or maybe a plan. You’ve been at it for quite some time now. Weeks, months or maybe years.

And yet, the dream hasn’t come true yet. In fact, you feel farther from your goal than ever before.

Doubtful thoughts mess with your head in an infinite loop.

What is it that you’re missing?

Are you not smart enough? Is it about luck? Are you too young/old for this?

You feel you know what it takes to make your dream come true, but what if you’re wrong?

Maybe you’re wrong in thinking that you know how to do this.

And that’s exactly what is holding you back.

The Hidden Failure Of Conventional Wisdom

You’ve heard the advice.

Believe in yourself.

Focus.

Keep a positive attitude.

Never give up.

Whatever your goal is, if you follow all of those, you should be able to achieve your goals, right?

Wrong.

Here’s why.

Imagine you’ve come to a new city. You do not know what places to explore. So, you use a map to guide yourself.

Except, it’s the wrong map.

No matter how much you search for a place, the map will always mislead you. You can keep a positive attitude, reaffirm your self-belief, and try as hard as you can. It wouldn’t get you any closer to your destination.

Unless you realize you have the wrong map, the only place you’ll reach is frustration.

Why Most People Fail To Achieve Their Goals

achieving goals

You learn from life experiences. Take a moment and think about all the things you know today.

If your father is a software engineer, you probably started to code at a very young age. If your uncle is a professional painter, you would know the different color combinations and brush strokes.

In short, your life experiences have been a source of knowledge.

But here’s the problem.

Your life experiences are limited. So, the things you learn are also limited.

What happens when your goal lies outside your life experience?

What if you want to build a business when everyone in your family has had traditional jobs? How to be a creative writer when the only people around you are corporate buddies?

How to make up for what you do not know?

You do the obvious.

You guess what will work and hope that you’re right.

Usually, you’re wrong.

See Also: Your Ability To Fail Without Fear Is A Requirement To Reach Your Goals

What Does It Really Take To Succeed?

Two reasons why the successful achieve their goals:

  • They know things that you don’t know.
  • They do things that you don’t do.

If you study the methods of successful people, it becomes obvious that their approach is unique and counter-intuitive.

More specifically, it’s counter-intuitive to your guesses, because you don’t understand things the way they do.

Here’s a personal example.

Years ago, I started a blog without knowing much about it.

I guessed that I should start a WordPress website and write as well as I can. The readers will happily show up on their own.

What I just described is the fantasy of every blogger on this planet.

Unfortunately, it’s merely a fantasy. It never happens this way.

Today, we have hundreds of thousands of blogs. With so many options for a reader, I’ll probably get lost in the crowd of average bloggers, even if I was really good.

It wasn’t just about writing good content and hoping people to show up. I needed to find my readers and bring them to my blog. I have to learn about them and produce my best work that actually helps them. Apart from that, I should do this consistently and exactly in this order.

See Also: 5 Habits Of Successful People You Should Be Following Today

How To Not Waste Years In Making Silly Mistakes

The real reason you fail at goals is that you have no idea of what it takes- at least initially.

And if you rely on personal experiences, you’ll have to make tons of mistakes and take years to learn what works.

How to learn about things that you’ve not experienced?

“Proactive Learning”.

You learn how to “avoid” making mistakes. You realize the common pitfalls ahead and prepare in advance.

Why wait to learn from mistakes when you can find and avoid them in advance?

You may feel that avoiding all mistakes is not possible. We all falter and that is true.

However, do you really have to make all the mistakes that most people make all the time?

Instead of making 100 common mistakes, would it not make sense to avoid 90 by being proactive? Just because a person walking ahead of you fell into a hole doesn’t mean that you should, too.

Simply walk around it.

Go Back To First Grade

I know what you’re thinking.

“All this sounds great. Sure, it would be great to avoid mistakes instead of making them. But we realize our mistakes after we’ve made them. How to predict mistakes before making them?”

To answer the above question, you need to answer this first:

Who knows more about building a profitable business?

A businessman earning huge profits or an employee of an organization?

It’s obvious.

It’s the businessman.

He knows how to build a business. He’s done this for years now. He made some mistakes along the way but finally, he is successful.

He knows this game.

If you seek his help, he will show you the right way. He’ll tell you what steps to take. He’ll explain what mistakes most beginners make and how you can avoid them.

His lessons can be the difference between your business thriving or turning to dust.

This question points to an important truth.

99% of people never do much in life. So, when they hear about your dream, the best they can do is discourage you. They’ll call you mad for believing in something big.

But there’s also the 1% that actually make progress, achieve dreams, and realize their aspirations.

These people want you to trust in your dream just like they did. These people don’t want you to give up just like how they didn’t. They want you to succeed just like they did because they know it’s possible.

Your job is to become deaf to the 99% and learn from the 1%.

Not everyone’s opinion matters.

Become A Zen Student Of Success

By now you must have realized:

  1. If you chase your dreams on your own, it’ll take you years before you make it (you can still do it though).
  2. You can save years of effort and time if you learn from successful people.

But, you may still be wondering.

How to learn from the successful?

These people are extremely busy. Bill Gates isn’t sitting close to his phone, waiting excitedly for your call so that he can teach you his Microsoft secret.

The answer.

You live in the Information Age.

There are books, interviews, audio podcasts, and so much more out there. You can sign up for premium courses. A little research can find you plenty of resources to help you understand their methods and philosophies.

You want to understand what they know and how they act based on that knowledge. You’re looking to avoid the mistakes which they’ve made when they started out. You’re looking to succeed without falling into the traps that kept them stuck.

As you pursue proactive learning, you’ll begin to see the following benefits:

  1. Stronger self-belief – Learning from the successful will give you success stories affirming that you’re not crazy in chasing your dreams. Their stories prove it’s possible.
  2. Better Focus – When you’re unsure of your plan, you keep wondering if you’ve made the wrong plan. Proactive learning gives you better focus because you know it will work.
  3. Better Planning – You know you’re learning from the best, so your plan is bulletproof. It has worked earlier and will probably work for you, too.

Rise Of The Superhero In You

rise of the superhero

So, now you know.

You know exactly how to find what it takes to succeed.

Like Luke Skywalker, you will blast the Death Star of self-doubtful thoughts. There is “A New Hope”.

You’re free.

It’s not about being smart, lucky or having the right age. It’s about finding what actually works in real life and then doing it.

You no longer have to guess. By learning from the successful, you will know exactly what to do and what mistakes to avoid. No way are you falling for those traps again.

Like an expert driver avoiding most bumps on the road, the way to your dreams will be one pleasant ride.

Buy that book on business principles. Sign up for that writing course. Book that coaching session with your ideal teacher.

Your goal is no longer lost in some distant future. It’s coming true right now. Every action you take is in the right direction.

You’ve found the right map.

Now, your beliefs, attitudes, and focus will skyrocket your growth.

Go live your dream.

The post How To Crush Uncertainty And Realize Your Dreams appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

7 Reasons to Head Over to Seoul Right Now

You might have heard the saying: Go to Seoul to refresh your soul.

It is one of those emerging tourist spots where the new meets the old. If you haven’t visited this South Korean capital as of yet, then you should totally do it at least once in your lifetime.

Why visit Seoul?

Here are 7 great reasons why Seoul should be on your must-travel list.

Exciting Nightlife

seoul nightlife

The Seoul scene does not die with the sun. Instead, it comes alive with the darkening skies.

After a hard day’s worth of work, the South Korean population tends to get out of their houses and become a part of the vibrant nightlife culture. Amidst the dazzling neon lights and the echoes of laughter, you’ll find people clubbing to vivacious music in the Gangnam district and relaxing in the mini-pools of Club Bugatti Syndrome.

Other than that, you’ll see them heading to the famous Dongdaemun Market to get their hands on the latest fashionable items and to shop till they drop. Karaoke in Noraebang is also one hot nightlife activity which you should add to your list.

Historically Rich

seoul historical places

Seoul has a tale as old as time which is inscribed on the artifacts in its museums and embedded in its famous historic sites. One such site is the revered Changdeokgung which is a grand royal palace of the times of Joseon dynasty. It has a neat architecture and sprawling gardens.

Similar in the theme is the Gyeongbokgung Palace. It’s a large 14th-century wonder, having an attached museum and a peaceful landscape.

Free guided tours are offered for these sites.

Seoul is quite rich when it comes to museums, covering both antiquity and modernity. This includes the 1946-built National Folk Museum of Korea, which highlights the customs and culture of the Korean people. There’s the 2005-built National Museum of Korea as well which displays recent military artworks.

You can visit these, in addition to the famous War Memorial, traditional neighborhoods of the Bukchon Hanok Village, and the rehabilitated historical city gates of Namdaemun and Heunginjimun.

Technologically Savvy

Even though Seoul’s feet are dipped in its traditions, it continues to soar through the clouds of digitization. Just take a look at last year’s Olympics that Seoul hosted.

There were multi-lingual robot greeters, virtual reality ski-jumping simulators, ‘ghost skier’ technology and holograms, 5G speeds, and integrated AI to blow the mind of the internationally visiting crowds.

Other than this, Seoul’s passion for technology shows in its architectural wonders, too. Just look at the Lotte World Tower which was constructed in 2016 and opened to the public in early 2017.

It is a major recreational complex which hosts the world’s largest indoor theme park, movie theaters, and shopping facilities. But its most advanced and highlighting feature is its super-fast elevator which covers ten meters per second. It’s covered with animating screens on all sides.

Spiritually Enlightened

Even though the people of Seoul are becoming more religious, they still value their old traditions at heart. They continue to respectfully visit their Buddhist temples of yore.

These quaint places are full of spiritual energy and you can be a part of it by going for the so-called Templestay Programs. It’ll allow you to live like the Buddhist monks for more than one night. You can observe their rituals and even go on a lengthy discussion with the resident scholars. The 7-story pagoda temple of Jogyesa with vast halls should be on your list.

Low-Budget Options

Though it is true that the average cost of living in Seoul is going on the rise, there are still some pocket-friendly options which will not bore a hole through your budget.

The accommodation is pretty cheap. It’s around US $10 a night if you go to an Airbnb. You can also easily book a dormitory or rent a room in a guesthouse online.

Not only that, if you go around Seoul on public transportation instead of hiring a private cab, you’ll save a lot. Food is also quite budget-friendly and tasty.

So, it is possible to have fun in Seoul without going too much out of your way- money-wise.

Hiking & Mountaineering Possibilities

seoul bukhansan

Seoul is a confirmed metropolis but that does not mean that it lacks natural wonders. There are mountain ranges interspersed throughout the land, offering many hiking opportunities for the locals and the tourists.

Bukhansan is one such range. Having a triple-peaked face, it’s located near Seoul. It’s around 2744 feet in height and is a part of a wider Bukhansan National Park.

Other than that, there is a mountain fortress city to the southeast named Namhansanseong. It’s one of the ideal places to hike through. Inwangsan which means ‘mountain of generous king’ and Gwanaksan are other famous mountain ranges which you should look into.

Culinary Varieties

seoul culinary varieties

If meat-based dishes are for you, then you need to visit the famous Korean BBQ spots.

Imagine carving through the tender marbled cuts of meat lightly seasoned to suit your taste. Brings water to your mouth, doesn’t it?

Head over to Wang Bi Jib to savor such high-quality cuisine. If you’re a vegetarian, then there are Buddhist food options for you, too. One of them is located at the tranquil Sanchon. If you’re a fan of the weird and the extravagant, then Seoul’s themed cafes are waiting for you. Cartooned Hello Kitty or Kakao Friends cafes are some of the most popular sites.

So, what are you waiting for?

Make South Korea’s Seoul your travel destination ASAP.

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