13 Ways to Invest in Yourself

When you hear the word “investing,” you probably think about stocks, bonds, maybe commodities. It’s far less likely that your reflex will be inward – but indeed, you can, and should, invest in yourself, too.

Investing is an enormous industry solely dedicated to the idea of using capital to create more capital. We highly suggest you do it. But in many instances, investing time and energy – which, just like money, are in finite supply – in yourself can lead to a meaningful payoff, too. And sometimes that payoff includes the accumulation of wealth.

It’s just a matter of application, and making a plan.

To that end, here’s a rundown of 13 different ways to invest in your career, your mind and your happiness that have nothing to do with buying low and selling high. Becoming a more marketable worker, earning a chance to be your own boss and simply broadening your horizons can yield rewards, too.

Find a Mentor

Spending time with a mentor is one of the best investments you can make. Mentors are plentiful. It doesn’t cost much to talk with them – just the price of a cup of coffee, or maybe an Uber trip if your mentor works elsewhere. And they can provide you with a wealth of benefits: They can improve your current job skills, help you network within your field and potentially become an employer in the future.

What workplace mentorship looks like will vary from one employer to the next. But in almost all cases, it could and should involve a senior employee acting as a guide for a newer worker with less company-specific experience. In some cases where management is willing to provide time off and funding, leadership “camps” and team-building experiences can also make employees more effective.

But what if your employer doesn’t facilitate such programs? Be the organizer of a formal, company-wide effort that pairs newer workers with veterans. It’s not a difficult sell. Your boss will benefit from a staff that at the very least better knows one another, and they’ll probably appreciate the subsequent synergies too. Meanwhile, you’ll make new intra-office contacts.

You can find mentors outside of your workplace, too. A simple way to start is by simply reaching out to leaders and other knowledgeable members of your field for “informational interviews” – nothing more than a cup of coffee or lunch to talk about the profession.

Depending on the topic, you might be able to find more plentiful outside resources. For instance, small-business entrepreneurs have a host of options at their fingers, such as Score.org, which pairs individuals up with local SCORE (Service Corps of Retired Executives) chapters to pair them with one of more than 10,000 volunteer business experts.

More Education for a Career Change

Many young college graduates might be happy working in the field they just finished studying, but some individuals further into their careers might be mulling a change – perhaps a pivot toward one of these top jobs of the future.

In many cases, however, these individuals don’t feel they can because they lack a degree related to their new dream job. Or if they do “change things up,” they make a move within the industry rather than taking on a whole new category – even when that new job could prove more lucrative.

Knight Kiplinger points out the benefit of such an investment in his “Keys to Financial Security”: “A $30,000 pay hike can be viewed as an annual return on a capital investment, like earning a continuous yield of 6% on $500,000 of savings. You know how hard it is to save up $500,000. Maybe that $30,000 boost in salary is easier to achieve.”

There’s good news for the hesitant, however. More than 80% of people who changed careers after they turned 45 years old found success in their new field, according to the American Institute for Economic Research.

For some occupations, such as teachers and nurses – two of the most popular second careers for older rookies – might require a brand-new degree. But the advent of the internet has changed the way we learn. Traditional college classrooms are still an option, though career-changers with families who might need to work at the same time they’re going back to school have plenty of internet options. Roughly one-third of college-level studies are now done online, and many employers see this classwork as credible.

Professional Certifications

In some cases, a college degree might not be the right kind of continuing education for you. Some employers are more interested in specialized skills and credentials. Company hierarchies in the modern workplace are optimized by a diversity of detailed, focused knowledge that sometimes comes in the form of a professional-level certificate.

And at the least, there aren’t many industries that don’t encourage the attainment of specialized credentials.

Take the finance industry as an example. Most career-minded jobs in the sector require a minimum of a college degree. But some of the most successful financial planners are Certified Financial Planners, with a CFP designation. Chartered Financial Analysts (CFAs) also enjoy a high-level of credibility within the investment management arena. There’s even a professional designation for investment professionals that specialize in analyzing stock charts: Chartered Market Technicians.

The technology arena arguably offers the most, and most diverse, options for readily attainable certifications. Certificates aimed at demonstrating expertise in Cisco networking, Microsoft systems and coding languages such as Java and C++ can all be earned in just a few months.

In most cases, these certificates can be secured while you work a full-time job. Some employers will even pay the costs associated with them.

Join Toastmasters

Even when Toastmasters International was in its infancy nearly a century ago, the organization invoked the occasional eye roll. Some outsiders snickered as the seemingly silly gathering of like-minded people that just wanted to practice public speaking in front of other members wishing to do the same.

However, the clubs – all 16,800 of them that meet regularly in 143 different countries – are no joke. Aside from a judgment-free, supportive environment where individuals can get comfortable confronting the one thing they fear more than death itself, Toastmasters is a chance to network with other aspiring business-minded individuals in the area.

And the organization certainly has its share of high-profile success stories. MSNBC’s Chris Matthews, comedian and actor Tim Allen, the late iconic Star Trek actor Leonard Nimoy, and the late James Brady, former presidential press secretary, are all former Toastmasters members, along with a whole slew of other recognizable names that leveraged their Toastmasters experiences into successful careers.

Toastmasters charges $45 in semi-annual dues as well as a $20 new member fee. Meeting frequency varies by club but typically are held weekly or every other week, for one to two hours per meeting.

Move

It doesn’t sound like a way to invest in yourself. It sounds more like a chore, or even just a flat-out expense. But you might find that simply moving from one place to another can open all sorts of doors … and not just career-oriented ones. New locales bring new people into your life, new kinds of entertainment, lower expenses and new scenery that can make your life better in a myriad of ways.

The latest relocating-minded trend is an exodus from the nation’s biggest cities and the establishment of new roots in less urban areas. Bustling New York City lost 76,790 residents in 2019, and 143,000 in the year before that, mirroring a bigger trend evident across the entire northeaster portion of the country. Lousy weather is cited as one reason for the growing disinterest in the region, though the bigger concern is the sheer cost of living in places such as New York City and Washington, D.C.

Conversely, there are still good reasons to head toward the pricier parts of the country, particularly for people looking for jobs in the financial and tech arenas. Most Wall Street-type jobs require you to actually live somewhere near Wall Street, and Silicon Valley in northern California is the nation’s technological development hub. If you want to work there, you typically have to be there.

If you’re broadly looking for a place to start, consider these states with the fastest rates of job growth. And if you’re looking to figure out how much to budget, Moving.com says the average cost of a long-distance move (1,000 miles) is $4,890, based on a two- to three-bedroom move of about 7,500 pounds.

Start a Side Gig

The idea of a “job” has changed dramatically in just the past few years. Gone are the days when individuals clocked in at 9 a.m., worked for an employer that was trusted to remain in business, and then clocked out at 5 p.m.

The new normal is … well, there is no new normal, given the statistics.

Roughly one-third of U.S. workers claim they utilize “alternative work” arrangements as their primary source of income. That is, they don’t necessarily run their own businesses per se, but rather are contracted, self-employed people that rely on middlemen to connect with a stream of customers. Think driving for Uber, completing projects through Amazon Mechanical Turk, or picking up regular work at a website like Freelancer.com. In some cases, these workers might see more income by being self-employed. But certainly, some see less.

It doesn’t have to be an either/or matter for the entrepreneurial-minded, though. Side gigs can be managed without “giving up your day job” by doing work outside of regular work hours.

The effort is arguably worth it. A recent survey performed by The Hustle found that the average side-gig operator spent an average of 11 hours per week as their own boss, and earned $12,609 per year – an average of about $22 per hour. Real estate, management and money-related side gigs appeared to be the most lucrative, according to the survey.

The payoff can be more than in immediate income. You can use a side gig to hone new skills or test new ideas that can be used to fuel a career shift.

Set Up a (Real) Home Office

Whether you’re self-employed or just one of the lucky corporate employees who are allowed to work from home, there’s much to be said about a space that functions and feels more like an office and less like a bedroom or basement. Indeed, you might be more productive working at home, for yourself or for an employer.

Despite all the noise often made about the pros and cons of working from home, it’s not as widely available an option as you’d think. Only 7% of employers facilitate work-from-home options, according to Fundera, even though the option saves companies an estimated $44 billion per year. Fewer than 4% of employees (including freelance workers) are allowed to work from home for at least half the workweek, says Small Business Trends.

In other words, if you do have an employer that allows you to work from home, be sure to perform just as you would if in an office setting. Companies remain broadly suspicious of the practice.

The one area where it pays to spend more than you might like to on a home office is on a new computer. It is, for better or worse, the centerpiece of the modern work world. Not only are computers used to create and store documents, they’re also becoming the key means of communication with clients and customers. They’re even replacing phones with apps such as Skype. An unreliable or underpowered PC can quickly turn into a nuisance.

Get Healthy

The benefits of living a healthier lifestyle are clear: A longer life, feeling better and being able to physically do more are all good things.

However, there’s a financial upside to eating better and getting more exercise too. More than one, in fact. Chief among them is the sheer cost of being unhealthy, and as such, needing to see a doctor more often.

As part of efforts to make health insurance, and therefore health care, more affordable for everyone, deductibles have soared in recent years. In 2008, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation, the average deductible for a single-person health plan was $735. It has since soared to $1,655. Premium prices are up, too, at $7,188 annually as of 2019, and the maximum out-of-pocket expense in 2019 for an ACA-compliant plan was $7,900 for individuals, and $15,800 for family plans.

Although health insurance is effectively a must-have, using it can prove expensive.

The other financial upside to healthier living: Feeling better, or not being distracted by fatigue, lets your mind stay sharp during sales calls, when meeting new people and when simply being sized up (literally and figuratively) by someone interested in your work. Every interaction or connection is in some way an effort to sell something. Being at your best makes it likelier you’ll perform well.

Get Organized

Most individuals who live disorganized lives, personally and professionally, would argue they don’t have time to organize. In reality, it takes more time, energy and money to not be organized.

Did you know the average American spends 2.5 days per year trying to track down lost items? That’s the case, according to a study by Pixie, a smart-location solution for missing objects. Did you also know that the National Association of Productivity and Organizing Professionals (yes, it’s a thing) reports that between 15% and 20% of the average household’s budget is wasted by buying items to replace ones that simply can’t be found? Here’s the kicker: NAPO also estimates that 40% of housework currently being done in the U.S. wouldn’t be necessary if we were willing to de-clutter.

It’s not just time and money. Your mental well-being is at stake, too. People who have successfully mastered the art of self-organization find they’re less stressed, sleep better and ultimately end up being more productive. In the workplace, a more organized desk, office, briefcase or vehicle makes a good impression on prospective clients, co-workers, even your boss.

Keep Your Brain Sharp

By many measures, it’s a cruel trick. Never before have people been expected to stay as focused as they are now, yet never before has it been so difficult to prevent your mind from being overwhelmed by a constant barrage of digital data.

Your smartphone has much to do with that. We check our phones for no particular reason about once every 12 minutes; some of us, more frequently.

But the challenge extends beyond just phones. On average, says productivity expert Chris Bailey, we’re distracted by something every 40 seconds. Bailey also says all the regular distractions we experience ultimately extend the time needed to complete a task by 50%. Plus, it can take several minutes just to resume the work being done before the distraction took place.

So, how do you keep your mind sharp in this kind of environment?

For one, try to put down the phone a little more often. Then, start following some of the other steps on this list.

Staying in shape isn’t just a good way to cut down on medical costs – it also helps brain health as you age. Art Kramer, professor of neuroscience and psychology at Northeastern University, tells Kiplinger that people who do more aerobic exercise tend to be better at solving problems, have better memory and show lower rates of dementia.

You want to “network,” too – but not just professionally. Being socially active has many positive effects on the brain, including areas that have to do with memory. So, as you can, try to interact with friends and family more often.

Build Your Own Website or Portfolio

The upside of building your own professional website or portfolio will vary from one person to the next, and with the intent. But if there’s any arguable reason not to invest in yourself in this way, cost isn’t it. The hosting price for a low-end (though still professional-looking) website can be less than $10 per month; for those willing to make a longer-term commitment, requesting and registering the domain name is often free.

What you can do with even the simplest of websites, however, is almost limitless.

Chief among those options for a job-seeker is the use of a website as a digital resume of sorts. But a website can provide a potential employer with work-related details that might otherwise be difficult to present with just one sheet of paper.

In that same vein, a website could serve as a repository of past work for individuals who offer services on a regular basis. Writers, artists and architects are just some of the people who benefit from being able to publicly showcase their work.

And naturally, any entrepreneur with e-commerce ambitions will want to develop a website, and spring for a few more of the bells and whistles required to do business online.

Hire a Career Coach

Sometimes it’s difficult to push yourself to the proverbial next level, whatever that might mean in your given field. Stagnation can sap creativity, and disappointment can quell drive. It’s all too easy to become complacent and resign yourself to doing the exact same thing until it’s time to retire.

A career coach might be just the kick in the pants you need.

But first, you need to understand what a career coach is, and what it isn’t. Career coaches aren’t headhunters. They also can’t tell you what sort of job you should be seeking. And they most certainly won’t be able to help if your impasses are personal rather than professional in nature.

A career coach can, however, help you identify your strengths and weakness as other people see them, assist you in formulating a career-advancement strategy and advise you on how to make a successful career change.

They’re not necessarily cheap. On a per-hour basis, they can charge anywhere between $75 and $250. Some ask for a longer-term, multimonth commitment that can cost a total of anywhere from $1,000 to $2,500.

But they can be worth the outlay. A promotion-related raise or a job offer with a new employer can easily fund such an investment within just a year.

Read Books

There’s a universe of great information floating around, ready to be gleaned. Much of it can’t be found at your workplace. Instead, it’s at a bookstore – or, for the more economically minded, a library.

The statistics on the matter are nothing short of amazing. Fast Company says the average CEO reads 60 books per year. Ben Eubanks, human resources analyst with Brandon Hall Group, believes “people who are successful are often crazy about reading. They make time for that because they understand how important it is, and it’s kind of like a secret weapon.” However, a person in the United States only reads between two and three books per year, most of those purely for pleasure.

A lot of that has to do with time available, but if you have recreational time you aren’t spending on reading, you might consider re-allocating it to hitting the books.

The upsides? Aside from the knowledge and perspective gained from teaching yourself about something new, reading also expands your vocabulary and opens up opportunities to discuss new ideas with your boss (current or prospective). There’s something powerful about being able to say, “That’s something I was just reading about the other day.”

One word of caution: Reading a work-related book just for the sake of being seen reading a work-related book can easily backfire. Most experienced managers can spot an effort get the wrong kind of attention. They might not like the tactic. Just read a book on faith that it will eventually matter, even if that means with a different employer.

By: James Brumley

Source: https://getpocket.com/

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Related Contents:

How To Actually Stop Caring What Other People Think Of You

Firstly, don’t beat yourself up for caring about the opinions of others – we’re actually programmed to do it, so that’s extra negativity you don’t need.

“We care about what people think about us because we need to belong to a group,” says Counselling Directory member Dr Melissa Sedmak. “This is hard-wired into us and there was even research a few years back about how we accept lies from people (unconsciously) just to be a ’member of the tribe’.

“As species, we have an innate need to belong in order to survive. Therefore, caring about what other people think, and tailoring how we express ourselves and who we are, enables us to fit in and not become an outcast.”

Like most things in life, it should be activated in moderation, though, says life coach Kanika Tandon. “Caring about the opinions of other people helps when it comes to working as a group,” she says, “but it turns into a problem when we begin to lose the path to our integrity by putting others before us.

“It crosses a line when we begin to make decisions on how it will be received by others instead of what we truly, genuinely want and desire.”Taking time to figure out what you truly value in life can be the first step in realigning your behaviour.

“A lot of people in lockdown have come to question their choices because they realised they were loving life according to other people’s standards and values,” says Tandon. “Realising that we are people-pleasing is the first step to finding solutions.”

To further redress the balance, it can also help to ask yourself whether your group – or “tribe” – would really judge you for making a mistake/saying what you think, or whether this fear of judgement stems entirely from you.

“We need to ask ourselves: is this just a perceived mould we are trying to fit in or are these expectations of my tribe really this high? And if they are real, do I want to associate with the tribe where people impose this mould on the members?” says Dr Sedmak. “Is there another tribe where I would fit better, with having to let go of less of myself?”

Having strong self-esteem will help you stick to your decisions, adds life coach Joanna Ward. “Remind yourself of your achievements, qualities, skills and your unique perspective,” she says. “Be in touch with your purpose. Understand why you’re taking the path you’re taking. If you can explain it to yourself as much as to others, you’re less easily swayed by alternatives.”

For big life choices, Tandon recommends asking big, long-term questions, such as: “Will I regret the decision five-10 years down the line?”

But for the smaller, every day worries, when our biggest concern is looking a bit silly, Ward says it’s good to respond with humour and never be afraid to laugh at yourself and at life. After all, what’s the worst that could happen?

Rachel Moss - Reporter at HuffPost UK

 

By:

Source: How To Actually Stop Caring What Other People Think Of You | HuffPost UK Life

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David Goggins is an American ultramarathon runner, ultra-distance cyclist, triathlete, motivational speaker, and author. He is a retired United States Navy SEAL and former United States Air Force Tactical Air Control Party member who served in the Iraq War. His self-help memoir, Can’t Hurt Me, was released in 2018. ►Credits: Speaker Credits: David Goggins Music Credits: Whitesand https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCe96… Music Credits: Borrtex https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCAiH… Music Credits: “Keys of Moon – The Epic Hero” is under a Creative Commons license (CC BY-SA 3.0) https://creativecommons.org/licenses/​… Music promoted by BreakingCopyright: https://youtu.be/ETbsXdqgcTM

Morning Routine Mistakes Could Cost You Productivity and Peace

Morning Routine Mistakes Could Cost You Productivity and Peace

Everyone loves to swap tips about how to make an epic morning routine, but when it comes to implementation, there are a few easy whoopsies that are far too easy to make. Hitting the snooze button, starting your day from the bed and sacrificing your morning for a late-night marathon are all potential ways to sabotage the potential your mornings have.

And potential, indeed. A growing body of research is finding that mornings are actually the most optimal time for you to ideate or be creative. A study in the Thinking & Reasoning Journal reported that the perceived-to-be least optimal times for thinking and (such as first thing in the morning, when you’re groggy and still on your first cup of ) are actually the most optimal times. “Results showed consistently greater insight problem-solving performance during non-optimal times of day compared to optimal times of day,” the research stated.

Related: What Your Morning Routine Is Missing

So, the cost of making mistakes in your morning routine is quite high. Imagine the groundbreaking ideas for your business, next book, or even next family vacation that could surface in the light of the morning! Make sure you aren’t making the following mistakes that will cost you productivity and peace.

Mistake 1: Diving out of bed the second the alarm goes off

For sure, this mistake is done with good intentions — as a bit of a defense mechanism, if you will. If you force yourself to fly out of bed the moment you hear the dreaded alarm, you may be less likely to lay there and break into a mental argument about whether or not the morning commute can afford you an extra five minutes of snooze time. But, this drastic action disconnects you from your body immediately. A better alternative? Take just a few minutes to stretch and elongate your body as much as possible.

This concept is inspired by researcher Amy Cuddy, who coined the term “Power Pose.” When your body stretches out, you’ll actually feel more confident. In addition to this mood boost, a stretch first thing (even by putting your arms into a V shape, which Cuddy says boosts incredible happiness) increases your blood flow to all areas of your body.

After a few minutes of stretching, take your time getting out of bed and going about your immediate morning routine: making coffee, brushing your teeth and getting dressed. Then, consider doing the Power Pose again while standing up, or even during your morning shower!

Related: 14 of the Best Morning Routine Hacks Proven to Boost Productivity

Mistake 2: Checking your phone immediately

A Lifestyle of Mobile Consumers Survey reported that 1 out of every 4 young adults checks their phones within one minute of waking up. It’s tempting, for sure — especially nowadays, when there is so much information on your , and in your text messages. But Glenn Lundy, the host and founder of the incredibly popular #RiseandGrind podcast, says this is a major mistake.

“Neither your mind nor your body are ready for that type of stimulation first thing,” Lundy shared. “When you’re groggily waking up, it’s important to focus on presence and gratitude, rooting yourself in your own body through some morning movement and writing down your goals.” These pieces of advice are from his #TheMorning5 67 day challenge, which has been taken up by tens of thousands of individuals across the globe.

“Remember that there’s nothing on your phone that can’t wait for you,” Lundy explained. “And, you’ll be better equipped to handle any work crisis or exciting when you’ve fully woken up and completed a healthy morning routine.”

Mistake 3: Sleeping in too late

Now, we aren’t telling you which hours you should or shouldn’t be sleeping, but consider this. If you know you’re tempted to check your phone first thing because you feel like you’re missing something, imagine how much that temptation will reside if you wake up earlier than most do. There’s something to this. A study by Amerisleep shared the stunning differences between early risers and late risers in productivity, salary, and general quality of life.

The study reported that “people who get themselves out of bed at the crack of dawn — yes, we’re talking about 4 am — responded they felt “highly productive” 71% of the time. Compare that to people who snooze until 11 am, the least likely group to report being productive. They’re only productive 36% of the time.”

This productivity also translates to money, as the study found that the early risers made an average of $15,000 more each year than the late sleepers.

Related: Working From Home? Here’s Why You Need a Fake Commute.

Ultimately, what works best in your morning routine does come down to personal preference. This is an invitation to experiment. We all have the same 24 hours, and we all have a “morning routine,” whether it’s set in stone and followed habitually, or something that looks different every single day. Consider that the first hour of your day sets the tone for the rest of your day, and therefore, is likely the most important time to take full advantage of. Stretch out, keep that phone turned off, and consider rising earlier than you’re used to. The proof in both productivity and peace will reveal itself.

Aimee Tariq

By: Aimee Tariq Entrepreneur Leadership Network Contributor

 

Source: Morning Routine Mistakes Could Cost You Productivity and Peace

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What are the morning routine mistakes that can derail your day? Many people start a new morning routine only to give up a few days later\. And others will watch videos about “successful routines,” but feel frustrated because these morning habits don’t match their day-to-day reality.
RESOURCES: ○ Time Flies: U.S. Adults Now Spend Nearly Half a Day Interacting with Media: https://www.nielsen.com/us/en/insight… ○ Find more satisfaction by changing daily routines, study says: https://news.miami.edu/stories/2020/0… ○ Psychologists: Make this your 30-minute morning routine for a successful day: https://www.cnbc.com/2020/08/02/30-mi… ○ The Importance of Creating Habits and Routine: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/arti… ○ How Your Morning Mood Affects Your Whole Workday: https://hbr.org/2016/07/how-your-morn… ○ Variability in Weight Change Early in Behavioral Weight Loss Treatment: Theoretical and Clinical Implications: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/1….
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The Art of Clear Writing
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Color + Design Blog / The 5 Routine Mistakes That Designers Make and How to Avoid Them by COLOURlovers :: COLOURlovers
http://www.colourlovers.com – March 5, 2020
We are all prone to making mistakes, even in areas we are experienced in. Approaching a task without the fear of making mistakes is the best attitude, and if and when they occur, they teach great lessons. For designers, some may be as simple as forgetting a small detail to bigger ones that would require a redo of the whole project. Mistakes should not prevent you from being creative and designing that system or software for your client or business. Instead, they present you with a great chance to improve your skills and career. Here are some of the most common mistakes that a designer is prone to make and how you can avoid them. Not Using Logs Logs are an essential part of every system. They oversee system events as well as storing user actions like passwords and file renaming. They act as watchtower lookouts alerting you when there’s a security breach in the system. Using logs when designing a system is therefore essential to ensure the security of the data and also spend more time-solving problems rather than looking for what is wrong. You might require the services of a log monitoring company for proper log management. Papertrail offers you an all-in-one cloud based log management solution to ensure your data is safe. Taking on Many Projects at the Same Time Having too much work to handle may mean more income and sometimes an overworked brain. The divided attention plus the tension of not meeting the deadlines may result in reduced output and a less than satisfied client. Imagine the quality of a project that you have given your focus. It will definitely improve your portfolio. Solution: Even though it means less income, learning to say no to work you can’t handle, is a virtue. You will have more time to concentrate on the tasks at hand and deliver quality work that can earn you referrals and recurrent clients. Unclear Responsibilities This happens especially when you are handling a group project. If there’s no project manager, then individual tasks often overlap, some tasks may be left unattended to, or worse still other team members may be less concerned about their roles. The client will notice the mistakes in the work delivered, and whether or not you did your part excellently, the mistakes lie on every team member since there were no guidelines and expectations laid down at the start. Solution: The best way to handle this would be clearly stating what is expected of every member of the team and tasks that each individual should handle by a project manager assigned to the project. According to the National Institute of Corrections, teams function more successfully when everyone understands their roles. That way, everyone will be answerable about their tasks. Lack of Proper Communication Some instructions sent by the client weren’t clear, but you did not seek clarification. Or it may be a question you should have asked during the meeting, but you did not because you feared been seen as dumb. The deadline draws near, and because you cannot avoid it anymore, you ask, and you are forced to correct parts you had already done or worse still, start the whole project again. Solution: You can avoid all these problems by communicating all the relevant information with the client. Ask for clarification where you don’t understand, sort out any uncertainties. It’s better to over-communicate and avoid mistakes than not communicate at all and end up with a load of errors. Working Alone Doing everything yourself is a recipe for making mistakes. You love to think you’re the solution to all the problems. You don’t ask someone to proofread your work or their insights, and you end up delivering work that is full of errors. Some of these details are very minute, and it’d take a different person to notice them. Solution: Design is a collaborative discipline. Learn to involve other people, look for a variety of perspectives, and different insights. Most importantly, learn to tame your ego. There is no harm in looking for an editor to correct the errors. Design is inclusive or else it won’t work out. Conclusion Learning how to avoid these mistakes or even fixing them may take some time and sometimes even more investment. But in the end, it will pay off in other forms like client retention, increased income, more referrals, an excellent reputation, and reduced reworks.
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The 5 Routine Mistakes That Designers Make and How to Avoid Them
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6 Easy Hacks For a Waste Free Picnic

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How To Reach Your Daily Step Goals When Working From Home

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Stay-at-home orders and quarantine life have forced us to make some pretty abrupt changes in our fitness routines. And even though you may have the best intentions to meet your step goals every day, the bottom line is that it can be harder to do when you’re spending more time in the house. Despite your best intentions, it’s really easy to get sucked into a more sedentary lifestyle when you don’t really have anywhere to go and the couch is literally right there.

You know how it goes: You wake up in the morning, tell yourself you’ll just sit down on the couch for a few minutes and then next thing you know, you’re two coffees and four Friends reruns deep. If this sounds familiar, don’t feel bad. You’re in the company of many others.

While sitting around more frequently may have been fun for a while, after more than three months of staying at home — and news of some companies turning to remote work for good or at least a while longer — you may be looking for some motivation and ideas on how to take 10,000 steps when you’re spending more time inside. It’s true that reaching your step goal indoors requires you to be a little more deliberate with your steps and your time, but it’s totally doable.

As the weather starts to warm up, you always have the option to go outside and walk around your local park or hit the track at your local high school. But if those areas seem too busy for your comfort, there are plenty of ways you can get creative inside your home.

Get a smartwatch and don’t ignore alerts to move

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Angela Lang/CNET

If you’re tracking your steps, it’s likely that you already have this one checked off the list, but I wanted to suggest it anyway, in case you don’t. When I started to fall into a quarantine sit-around-all-day slump, I treated myself to an Apple Watch ($399 at Apple). The deal was that I had to make a valiant effort to get off the couch and close my three rings every day. In the back of my mind I thought, “yeah, OK, that’s just my excuse for spending the money, and it’s not really going to happen,” but I was actually surprised at how well it worked (when I let it).

At first, I would dismiss every “stand” and “breathe” notification that popped up, but after about a week or so, I decided to play along and let the Apple Watch give me the motivation I needed. I obliged every alert and notification and really got moving and now, three months later, I make it a point to crush my goals daily.

Closing rings and getting digital awards may sound cheesy to you at first, but they actually provide some serious external motivation, even if you’re someone like me who doesn’t really love exercise, but does it anyway for the physical and mental benefits.

More info: https://www.mindgenius.com/homeworking-homeschooling-in-covid-19-by-brad-egeland/

Of course, you don’t have to get an Apple Watch. There are other, less expensive options out there, like the Fitbit Versa 2. If a smartwatch isn’t in your budget at all, you can also opt for a basic pedometer or one of many free pedometer apps that you can download right to your phone. The apps are usually not as accurate as wearing something on your wrist, but they’ll still give you a good idea of where you stand.

Walk while you binge

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Let’s face it; some days (or most days), the appeal of binge-watching the new season of Queer Eye far outweighs any desire to get up and get moving. But instead of settling into the couch with a box of tissues and a bag of Doritos and completely succumbing to Jonathan Van Ness‘ charm, strap on your pedometer or your smartwatch and get to stepping.

Of course, you don’t have to walk for the entire episode — and you’re free to choose your own binge-worthy show to watch — but the point is to move instead of sitting. And move like you mean it. Swing those arms, bring those knees up to your chest and get that heart rate going so you can really reap the benefits. If you really commit, you can rack up 4,500 steps in one 45-minute episode. March through two episodes and you’ll knock off 90 percent of your steps for the entire day.

Looking for more tips? Check out these ways to exercise while you’re bingeing your favorite TV show.

Pace in your place

You might feel silly walking back and forth in the hallway or in circles in your kitchen, but desperate times call for desperate measures. While the scenery may not be as visually stimulating as the passing trees you see when you’re walking in the park, a step is a step, no matter where you take it.

You can simply pace back and forth in one area of your living space or map out an indoor track. For example, my living room, kitchen and dining room all connect in a circle. I mapped out the area and know that it takes 71 steps to do a full lap. That means 20 quick laps around, which takes me just over 17 minutes, will help rack up 1,420 steps.

If you go this route, optimize your effort. Instead of walking in a straight line from point A to point B, follow your home’s floor plan and walk along the perimeter of each room to get as many steps in as possible.

Listen to a podcast

If the thought of walking around in circles in your house doesn’t give you the motivation you need to get moving, make it more appealing by finding a podcast you love and listening to it as you go. Listening to a podcast helps you zone out so the time goes by much faster. And if you walk briskly, you can knock out up to 3,000 steps by the time your 30-minute podcast is over.

I like to listen to personal development type podcasts as I work out because it makes me feel like I’m getting a physical workout along with a mental one. Some of my favorites are Oprah’s SuperSoul Conversations, The School of Greatness by Lewis Howes, and Not Another Anxiety Show with Kelli Walker, but there are so many that you can choose from. If personal development podcasts aren’t your bag, find a genre that excites you and then start going through the options until you find one you really enjoy. You can also swap out a podcast with an audiobook and let someone else read to you as you walk.

Walk every time you have a phone call

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Quarantine has been all about the Zoom calls, but if you’re still spending a lot of time having regular phone conversations or conference calls, use that time to get your steps in. Every time you take or make a phone call, start walking around your house and continue to walk until the end of the call, whether it’s 5 minutes or 30.

Keep in mind that if you’re putting a decent effort into your steps, you’ll probably get a little out of breath. While this is fine for team calls or check-ins with your colleagues, it might not be the best idea for phone interviews or something more formal.

More info: https://www.mindgenius.com/homeworking-homeschooling-in-covid-19-by-brad-egeland/

Even if you don’t have work calls, you can use your step goal as an excellent excuse to actually call a family member or a friend instead of texting. Spend 15 minutes on the phone, pacing while you talk, and you can rack up 1,500 steps without even thinking about it.

Be less efficient

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Normally, when you’re doing chores or cleaning up the house, the goal is to get as much as you can done in as little time as possible, but when you’re trying to get your steps in, make it a point to be less efficient.

  • Instead of piling up all of your laundry in a stack that’s taller than you and then struggling to get it all to the washing machine in one trip, bring a few armfuls at a time so that you have to walk back and forth several times.
  • If you have kids or pets and you need to clean up their toys, grab one at a time and put it back where it belongs before going back for the next one.
  • If you’re bringing groceries in from the car, resist the urge to pile as many bags as possible onto each arm and take only two at a time — one in each hand — until everything is brought into the kitchen.

It might seem like these things will only add a trivial amount of steps to your day, but once you start doing it regularly, you’ll see how fast all those 20-step extra trips add up.

Get a treadmill desk

Treadmill desks take the advice to stand up as you type one step (pun intended) further. If you haven’t already heard, there are actual under-desk treadmills that you set up with a standing desk to turn your workspace into your workout space — a multitasker’s dream. But there are other options, too.

If you already have a treadmill, there are also desk attachments that you can snap onto your treadmill’s handlebars to turn it into a treadmill desk. If you don’t have the budget or the space for a treadmill desk, you can opt for a regular standing desk without the treadmill attachment and walk in place as you work. If you do this at a moderate pace for one hour, that’s about 6,000 steps that you can check off at the same time as your work to-do list.

Fair warning, things can get a little bumpy and it’s not as easy to type when you’re moving as when you’re sitting stationary in a chair, but after some practice, you get used to it.

Get a mini trampoline

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OK, you might not technically think of jumping as steps, but it does count toward your step goal. And a study done by scientists at NASA in 1980 found that jumping on a mini trampoline — or rebounding, as it’s officially called in the fitness world — is a more efficient exercise than running on the treadmill at any speed. It also puts less stress on the body, so injuries and sore joints are less likely.

Rebounding, even for just five minutes a day, may also help increase lymphatic flow. The lymph system is responsible for isolating infection and clearing out toxins from everywhere else in your body and, unlike the circulatory system which uses your heart to pump, the lymphatic system has a weak internal pumping system. Because of that, lymph drainage relies heavily on skeletal muscle contractions and jumping on a trampoline is one of the most effective ways to get things going.

More info: https://www.mindgenius.com/homeworking-homeschooling-in-covid-19-by-brad-egeland/

You can get any type of mini trampoline, but bungee rebounders, like the ones from JumpSport or Leaps and Rebounds, tend to be the easiest on your joints. They’re also a lot quieter than the spring-style rebounders.

Dance around the kitchen while you cook

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Getting in your steps doesn’t have to be a formal, robotic process. Make it fun by turning it into a dance party. Since you most likely have to cook or prepare a meal in some way at some point anyway, you can get two tasks done at once. As an added bonus, listening to music and dancing are both proven ways to help reduce stress and boost happiness.

Instead of standing in front of the stove waiting for your pan to heat up or for the water to boil, put on your favorite song and dance around the kitchen. Dance to the refrigerator, taking as many steps as possible, as you get out ingredients. Shimmy back and forth as you chop veggies (but be careful).

Make it a competition

Nothing lights a fire under me faster than turning a step goal into a “friendly” competition. And by “friendly” competition, I mean “completely unfriendly, there’s no way I’m going to let you beat me” competition. That might be the Type A in me, but even if you don’t consider yourself a competitive person, you might be surprised at how much more motivated you feel when you’re trying to out-step someone else (especially if that someone else is your significant other).

Research shows that competition can help boost physical effort — both in the short- and long-term, increase physical motivation, and improve performance (as long as the situation doesn’t require a lot of mental effort).

If you have an Apple Watch, you can share your activity with anyone else who has one, too, so you can see where you stand in real time. If you don’t, you can easily send pictures or screenshots of your step status with your competitor to keep track.

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Aim to meet your step or move goals every day, but don’t fret if you don’t.

Angela Lang/CNET

Don’t beat yourself up

Now that I’ve given you all of my best advice to reach 10,000 steps indoors, here comes the cliche pep talk: don’t beat yourself up if you don’t get there right away. I know, I know, but seriously — 10,000 steps, which is equivalent to about five miles, is a lot. If you’re coming from a sedentary lifestyle, you’re probably not going to be able to jump off the couch one day and rack up 10,000 steps around your house like it’s nothing — and that’s OK.

Ten thousand steps isn’t some magical fitness number — that step goal was actually created in the 1960s by a Japanese company that was trying to sell a pedometer. And it worked. Since then, that number has become the go-to step goal for health enthusiasts, myself included.

But if the thought of 10,000 steps intimidates you, scale it back. Make it your goal to reach 2,000, 4,000 or 8,000 steps indoors for a couple of weeks and then once you’ve nailed those goals, you can work your way up. A study that was published in JAMA Internal Medicine actually found that you start seeing some serious health benefits at just 4,400 steps per day, and once you reach 7,500 daily steps, those health benefits kind of level off.

Even if you were fairly active before the shutdown in March and the number doesn’t intimidate you, but you relied on outdoor activity or the gym to help you reach your step goals, figuring out the best way to get there indoors is going to take some trial and error. Be patient with yourself through the process. You have to learn what works for you and what doesn’t. Start with a few strategies on this list and then go from there. Soon, you’ll figure out what you like and what you don’t and hitting your step goal indoors will become second nature.

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