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Productivity: 3 Psychological Practices To Boost It

Productivity: 3 Psychological Practices To Boost It

We live in the digital era, where emails, texts, and other forms of communication have facilitated procrastination and “busy” work. However, there are only so many hours in a day, and working outside of work hours, although now a normalized practice, can create burnout. You have heard of time-management strategies such as scheduling and setting time blocks in order to complete your to-do list and reach peak productivity, but it doesn’t need to be this difficult for you to be able to boost your productivity. In fact, research proves that it’s all in our heads and a few mind tricks might do the trick for you. There are many ways to achieve real productivity by influencing your psychological state, but here are three you should try out for yourself.

The Two-Minute Rule

The two-minute rule originates from David Allen’s bestselling book, Getting Things Done. It’s a fairly simple rule – if the task takes less than two minutes to complete, start it now. From answering pesky emails to starting a month-long project, you can apply this rule to small and large tasks alike (For large projects, make sure to segment it into smaller goals and tasks to be able to apply this rule). Sometimes getting started is the most challenging factor when tackling a project or task. However, once you are in motion, much like Sir Isaac Newton taught us long ago, it is most probable you will stay in motion. Use this rule to dive into tasks you’ve put aside or are actively trying to ignore, and find yourself surprised when this simple rule reaps results.

Lighting and Temperature

Research backs it up, lighting and temperature play huge roles in your productivity. In fact, a study by Cornell proved that low temperatures (68 degrees or 20 degrees Celsius) enabled employees to make 44% more mistakes than at optimal room temperature (77 degrees or 25 degrees Celsius). Studies about lighting, although still in their infancy, have proven that more exposure to daylight boosts productivity. Therefore, it’s crucial to regulate temperature and lighting in your office space, whether that be your work-place or home office. Simply open the window, invest in a good desk lamp, and keep an eye on the thermometer to improve productivity.

Focus on Progress, not To-Do Lists

Did you know only half of to-do lists are completed every day? And that 41% of tasks are never truly completed? List-making is a reductive format that doesn’t supplement the work of leaders. People who undertake big projects with no deadlines will not benefit from list-making. Therefore, it is important to reflect and document progress rather than checking boxes out of your to-do list. The simple act of looking back on progress positively influences your sense of accomplishment. This also results in feeling competent and effective with your work, impacting your future undertakings and ultimately becoming more productive. Keep a journal and record at least three sentences a day about how much you have done. Pausing to reflect on your accomplishments helps you recognize the value of your hard work. And, in turn, boosts productivity in the long run. 

Although these practices are not a permanent replacement for a good, productive system, they are functional strategies to turn to when you can’t seem to get things done. Productivity is hard to achieve, but with these simple strategies, you can create a work strategy that works. Moreover, these strategies can minimize burnout and help you best utilize your time. Try them out for yourself!

Pete and Rachael HerschelmanProductivity: 3 Psychological Practices To Boost It
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Transform Your Life For The Better By Trying These 3 Challenges

Transform Your Life For The Better By Trying These 3 Challenges

Can you survive a day without browsing your Facebook or Instagram feed? How about giving up soda, sweets or junk food? Are you strong enough to ditch alcohol, cigarettes or other vices you may have for good? If you can boast of strong willpower and commendable self-control, you can probably say yes to the above challenges without flinching. This is because you have the resilience and discipline to give up (or limit) things you like or are accustomed to, especially if doing so will bring amazing benefits. You know all too well that these are the kinds of challenges that may test your limits and bring some discomfort. But nevertheless, they help you become the best version of yourself. If you are ready to challenge yourself and transform your life for the better, you may want to try the following challenges:

  • No social media challenge.

With all the things you can do on social media today, a day or two of not logging into your accounts is enough to make you feel like you are majorly missing out on something. But if you give yourself the time to ponder about your relationship with social media, being active online can also make you lose time over other more important or worthwhile activities in the offline world. Social media can indeed be very useful, but reducing the time spent on it can be more beneficial for your wellbeing. A research study proves a positive link between social media use and depression. So give yourself a mental break and try a social media detox. You will have more time on your hands and lead a more fulfilling life. In addition to social media, you may also want to take time-off from digital devices such as mobile phones and laptops. This is a good way to remind yourself that even without gadgets, you can still function fairly well.

  • No negative thoughts.

Despite the popularity of all the wonderful benefits of positive thinking, many people still choose to dwell on pessimism. This is likely because it is not easy to stay optimistic and happy when things don’t go according to plan. But if you wish to turn a bad situation around, dwelling on negative thoughts will not be beneficial. On the contrary, the decision to stay positive will motivate and inspire you to overcome anything. So if you want to do yourself a big favor, try to stick to a mindset that crushes all negative thoughts. According to the law of attraction theory, thinking positively and expecting good things helps us achieve the things we desire most in life. Moreover, positive thoughts have been proven by numerous studies to relieve stress and anxiety. It also increases a person’s likelihood to succeed.  Along with thoughts, words also have the power to influence our mood and behavior. So you may want to make this challenge more interesting and beneficial by resolving not to utter any unkind or negative words to yourself or others.

  • No-meat challenge

People who want to maintain a healthy weight are often advised to go easy on meat and processed foods. So one thing you can do that your body will thank you for is to cut back on meat consumption. This is not a very easy task for those who enjoy meat products. You can, however, make it doable by gradually reducing your meat intake. One thing you can do is adopt a routine that is similar to the meatless Monday method. This simple challenge can go a long way in preventing diseases. A study done by Harvard University revealed that consumption of red meat increases one’s risk of developing diabetes. You may also be glad to know that aside from its health benefits, fasting on meat is also one way to save Mother Earth. Apparently, the livestock industry is one of the major causes of global warming.

It is probably tempting to daydream about a challenge-free life. A world where you can do anything you want or get everything you wish for without encountering any difficulties. However, living without risks or problems to solve would likely be pretty dull and boring. People may dread challenges, but no one can deny that overcoming trials paves the way for learning and improvement. So to keep on growing and improving, continually seek out ways to challenge yourself.

Pete and Rachael HerschelmanTransform Your Life For The Better By Trying These 3 Challenges
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How to Stay Connected When You’re Busy

How to Stay Connected When You’re Busy

“You will never find time for anything. If you want time, you must make it.”
-Charles Buxton

Between thriving careers and active families, it’s common to feel that you’re too busy for weekly outings with your spouse. However, if we are honest with ourselves, we know that the level of personal importance (not a lack of time) is the only true differentiating factor between the tasks we pursue and the activities we skip. Once you come to the realization that you do have the time needed to focus on your spouse, you’ll no longer find “business” as a valid reason to neglect the quality time that marriages need to survive. If you’d like to know how to stay connected, even when you’re busy, check out these three steps.  

Discuss the Meaning of “Connection”

The most important aspect of maintaining a strong connection with your spouse is communication. By initiating a discussion that covers the specific details of what it means to be “connected,” you can build from a shared understanding of each other’s needs. For some, remaining connected means feeling romantically involved with their partner. For others, a healthy connection only requires a few minutes of daily conversation. There is no right or wrong when it comes to your personal definition of connection, but you do need to know what your spouse desires from you. Many couples agree that holding on to a steady connection requires quality time spent together, but that too can be defined in various ways depending on each person’s perspective. Can time spent together doing household chores be defined as quality time? Or is it only quality time if it is planned, memorable and filled with undivided attention from your partner? Take your spouse’s answers to these questions, compare them with your own and work together to meet halfway.

Be Intentional

Once you’ve determined what staying connected looks like in your marriage, you can create a plan to work quality time into your busy schedule. Both of you should gather any work calendars, appointment schedules or agendas and start by finding an available time that you both consistently have open. Choose that day or time to focus on rekindling the fire. Refer back to the initial conversation you had with your spouse and schedule some time to talk, date or relax together. Remember, there is no incorrect way to go about investing quality time as long as your plan meets the needs of your spouse. Once you’ve chosen a day and time, put it in on your schedule as a long-standing appointment. After writing it in stone, stick to it! Treat your connection time with the same respect you’d give a work meeting. Prioritize your time together. Don’t shirk your responsibility just because your spouse is understanding and canceling doesn’t seem to hold much consequence. Be intentional about devoting time to your relationship and proving to your spouse that in spite of a full schedule, they matter most.

Take Advantage of Spontaneous Opportunities

Lastly, don’t pass on spontaneous fun. Every now and again you and your partner will have a break in your schedule that wasn’t planned but is available. Don’t let the opportunity slip away by filling the time with work or chores – use it to surprise your spouse with a last minute date. You’ve already covered your bases by keeping your scheduled marriage dates, but spontaneity is a vital part of any long term relationship, too. After some time, the expected can become monotonous and the novelty can wear off. Remedy that by using spontaneous opportunities to keep your spouse on their toes.

Investing time into your relationship is always worth the effort. Your spouse is one of the most important people in your life and should be treated as such. When things are well on the home front that positivity can influence other areas of your life. Take these three steps and make the choice to never be too busy to prioritize the success of your marriage.

Pete and Rachael HerschelmanHow to Stay Connected When You’re Busy
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3 Reminders To Build Strong Bonds With Your Children

3 Reminders To Build Strong Bonds With Your Children

With so many parenting tips and advice out there, it is so easy for parents to feel overwhelmed or confused. However, a close look at all the how to’s and must do’s may make you realize that everything just boils down to one essential factor. This is that parents who want to raise happy and successful kids should focus on forming a strong and positive connection with their children.

Just imagine the wonderful sense of fulfillment you would feel if your little ones trust you and freely share ideas with you? When you have a positive relationship with your children, you give them strong emotional security that they will carry with them for the rest of their lives. Parenting books give you endless lists of things to do so you can form a special bond with your child. As you work your way to become the best parent you can be, make sure that you do not forget the following crucial points as well:

Do not forget to shower them with affection

Everybody wants to raise a responsible child. To achieve this you would probably prioritize instilling discipline early in life. In setting rules and restrictions, some parents may hold off showing affection for fear that the child may not take them seriously. However, parents should remember that being overly affectionate will not spoil their child. In fact, physical gestures such as hugging and snuggling provide numerous benefits upon children. Among many other things, affection increases confidence, reduces anxieties, and prevents tantrums. Research published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health showed that infants with affectionate mothers can easily cope with stress as adults. So of all the things you have to be scared of, do not be afraid to show your children how much you love and appreciate them through physical and verbal affection.

Do not forget to focus on the moment

Parenting is hard work. It is a 24/7 job filled with sleepless nights and stressful days. It is easy to get caught up in a routine and the tasks you have to accomplish. You may get to achieve great things this way. However, the downside is that you may forget to be in the moment. Do not forget that your children will never be this young or innocent ever again. Time passes by so fast and once it is gone, you can never take it back. So make it a priority to enjoy these precious years by giving them your undivided time and attention. This means that when you sit down to talk to them, you make them feel your presence. It may mean removing gadgets or other distractions that may ruin the moment. This way, you get to listen intently to the things they have to say and you get to know each other better.

Do not forget that they are not your possessions

A poem from the famous writer, Kahlil Gibran has an opening line that says, “Your children are not your children.” It is a gentle reminder that even if you are fully responsible for your children, you cannot fully control or manipulate them because they have their own minds and unique personalities. As a parent, your goal is not to show where they have to go but to help them discover the best path for themselves. When you accept and respect your child as an individual, you give them a chance to nurture their innate talents and achieve their full potential.

In the end, there is no exact formula or detailed steps to take on how you can form a special bond with your child. However, there is one thing that you must always remember as you raise your kids – that every effort you do out of love for your children matters. Your child will surely appreciate and cherish the special bond you have with them all their lives.

Pete and Rachael Herschelman3 Reminders To Build Strong Bonds With Your Children
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4 Things You Can Start Today To Reach Your Goals In No Time

4 Things You Can Start Today To Reach Your Goals In No Time

The road to victory entails discipline, hard work, and commitment. For most people, success takes time and can even be an elusive idea. So it is common to receive many warnings as we attempt to take steps towards our dreams. Some would even caution you to prepare for the worst. It is true and sound advice to take caution, but there is no rule saying that you cannot fast-track your way to victory. With a few tips and tricks, it is possible to enjoy the fruits of your labor in the shortest possible time. You may want to try the suggestions below and may just be surprised to find that it actually works.

Identify Your Targets

Your list of dreams is probably a long one. However, in goal-setting, you may need to trim it down until you are down to the one goal you specifically want. Aiming for specificity will allow you to focus on your ultimate goal and will help you plan the best strategy to attain it. Just like in a shooting range, you have to stop and stare at your lone target before you can declare, “bull’s eye!”

Claim Your Victory

Many studies attest to the wonders that visualization, affirmation, and meditation can do in our lives. So once you identify your ultimate goal, you can start visualizing yourself achieving your dreams. Success and excellence come to those who believe. Therefore, claim your victory even before it happens. Manifest your dream by visualizing and vocalizing it, and it might just materialize. 

Take Risks

If you want to live the life of your dreams, you have to be ready to get out of your comfort zone. Dare to take the road less traveled and be bold enough to take risks. By not following the usual route, you may just discover a more rewarding and faster road to success. Just make sure that you fully understand what you are getting yourself into and that you are ready to cope with whatever outcome your actions will bring.

Work Harder & Aim To Excel

Individuals who wish to achieve great things in life fully understand that mediocrity is not the way to go. So be prepared to walk the extra mile and aim to be better than the best. Likewise, you should not forget the value of hard work. Just because there is a faster way to success does not mean it will be an easier way. Be willing to toil hard and make sacrifices along the way. Be passionate about what you do and you may just soon find yourself reaping success after success.

They say good things are worth the wait but as long as it does not harm anyone, it is definitely not a sin to attempt to achieve positive results faster. The strategies listed above do not guarantee an exact formula for success. But adopting these mindsets and applying them to your everyday life will surely make you a better person and may ultimately improve your life.

Pete and Rachael Herschelman4 Things You Can Start Today To Reach Your Goals In No Time
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5 Things Successful People Tell Themselves Throughout the Day

5 Things Successful People Tell Themselves Throughout the Day

Internal monologues play an unexpected, yet important role in achieving long-term goals. In fact, thoughts are the first stepping stone in launching your dreams into action. A vision is first sparked by an idea, the thought that inspires a new goal. This vision is then encouraged, fostered, and eventually put into action by maintaining a positive perspective and thinking constructive thoughts each day until the vision is spurred into existence. Read on to discover what are the things successful people tell themselves throughout the day to make their goals become accomplishments and their dreams a reality.

Today I will do at least one small thing that gets me one step closer to my goal.

You can’t do everything in one day – it’s only 24 hours long after all. But you can do one small thing each day. Set little objectives for yourself every day so that you wake up each morning inspired to achieve one small thing that gets you closer to your long-term goal.

I do not care what other people think.

No one can measure your own success better than you can. Remind yourself every day that it doesn’t matter what other people think because at the end of the day the thoughts and opinions of others aren’t going to contribute to your achievements. It’s you, all you.

Complacency is a bit too comfortable.

It’s way too easy to get comfortable with something that is satisfactory. Remind yourself that true success is achieved by those who push themselves farther than they ever thought possible. Go above and beyond the initial goals you set for yourself. Set daily reminders to do something that no one else has ever done before – you might just blow yourself away.

Mistakes are not the same as failures.

Arguably, this is the most important reminder to keep in mind each day. No one ever achieved anything without learning and making mistakes along the way. Remind yourself of this fact, so that when you get discouraged you don’t give up. Simply tell yourself you will take what you learned today and try to do better tomorrow – there’s always another day to get it right.

I deserve it.

You deserve it – whatever it is. You deserve the success that comes along with achieving your goal because you put in loads of hard work, commitment, and determination. But remind yourself that you deserve other things too. If you’re stuck on something or feeling lost on a certain path, you deserve a 10-minute brainstorm session to come up with a new idea. If you’re feeling overworked or overwhelmed, tell yourself you deserve a break to refresh and recharge – because you do. 

Just like the right habits will aid in success, positive thinking and constructive thoughts will guide you towards success as well. 

Pete and Rachael Herschelman5 Things Successful People Tell Themselves Throughout the Day
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Fourth of July Party Games for All Ages

Fourth of July Party Games for All Ages

The more the merrier. And The Fourth of July is no different. Who doesn’t love spending this holiday surrounded by friends and family? Spice up your Fourth of July by throwing a party or hosting a picnic and wow your guests with some fun and patriotic games that will entertain all ages!

Patriotic Balloon Pop

Blow up a bunch of red, white, and blue balloons, and place a note saying “You Win!” in one of the balloons. Have guests pop the balloons to find the note and win a prize.

Baseball Game

After all, baseball is America’s favorite pastime. Get everyone involved in a baseball game. Encourage those who aren’t playing to be cheerleaders or coaches for the younger children.

Water Balloon Dodgeball

It’s always a scorcher on the Fourth, so cool everyone down with some water balloon dodgeball. Divide the guests into two teams and throw red, white, and blue balloons at each other. If you’re hit, then you’re out. The last man standing is the winner!

Costume Contest

Who says you can only dress up on Halloween? Have your guests arrive in their best Independence Day costume and have everyone vote for the best dressed and most creative.

American History Trivia

Divide your guests into teams and challenge everyone with trivia on American history. Don’t forget to throw some easy ones in there so the kids can stay excited and involved as well!

Watermelon Eating Contest

Who doesn’t love watermelon? Cut some watermelons into fourths and lay them on the table. Have your guests place their hands behind their backs and eat their watermelon without their hands. The first to finish wins!

These Fourth of July games are perfect for the young and the young at heart. Check out our Pinterest board for more 4th of July party games! What Fourth of July games do you like to play with your friends and family?

Pete and Rachael HerschelmanFourth of July Party Games for All Ages
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One of the Biggest Mistakes Mentors Make (and How to Fix it)

One of the Biggest Mistakes Mentors Make (and How to Fix it)

Being a mentor requires just as much of a learning curve as being mentored. No mentor-mentee relationship is perfect— although, some get pretty close. As with any relationship, being in a mentorship relationship takes a lot of work and a lot of getting to know one another. There will always be mistakes and missteps along the way.

By far, one of the biggest mistakes mentors make on a consistent basis is focusing on the negative and never really relishing in their mentee’s accomplishments.

Recognize Success in the Now

Because your mentee is looking for life advice as well as career advice, they’re more likely to focus on all of the areas in which they’re lacking. They’ll zero in on all of the places they’d like to improve. And, of course, it’s your job as their mentor to help them out and guide them towards the right path for them.

Beyond guiding them when they’re struggling and straying from their desired path, your mentees need you to recognize when they’re succeeding. They may not even see it for themselves. That’s when it’s most vital for you to step in and say, “I know it feels like you still have far to go, but I need you to know that I’m really proud of how far you’ve come. You’ve accomplished more than you originally set out to do. Keep up the good work.”

Let Go of the Negativity

While it’s important never to feel complacent or rest on your laurels, it’s also important not to dwell on negativity.

Positivity begets positivity.

When you’re trying to inspire and motivate your mentees, it’s crucial to adopt a positive mentality and encourage your mentee to do the same. It’s fine to recognize weaknesses, but it’s so much better to concentrate on strengths. In the end, they’re really just opposite sides of the same coin.

And remember: when your mentee succeeds thanks to your mentorship, you succeed, too. Why would you not want to celebrate those achievements as if they were your own? Lift your mentee up whenever you get the chance, and you may just be surprised by how far you can go together.

Pete and Rachael HerschelmanOne of the Biggest Mistakes Mentors Make (and How to Fix it)
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3 Habits of Highly Successful People

3 Habits of Highly Successful People

No one is born successful. Sure, some people are born with that metaphorical silver spoon in their mouths. But no one is born successful, in their own right. Success, like respect, has to be earned, and like anything worth earning, it takes time and persistence. It takes developing the right habits. There are three habits that most highly successful people have in common.

Early to Rise, Early to Shine

While it’s entirely possible to be successful as a night owl, most highly successful people wake up early and greet the day with a mindset of success.

It’s no secret that being well-rested helps you get things done, and it’s been shown that people who wake up earlier are more likely to have quality rest than those who go to bed later and wake up later. Though they may get the same number of hours of sleep, those who wake up earlier typically enjoy more restful sleep—and therefore experience a productive next day.

Success Means Eliminating Excuses  

The most highly successful people in the world didn’t get to where they are now by making excuses. They worked through any obstacles that came their way and didn’t think twice about letting those challenges knock them down.

Truly successful people are the best excuse eliminators.

Highly Successful People Work Well with Others

It’s something that most people learn on the playground: how to play well with others. They learn how to share in the sandbox, but then by the time they reach the business world, they’ve mysteriously forgotten how to get along with their peers.

The truth is: the path to success is paved with collaboration. You can’t get where you’re going without the help of others along the way. Keep that in mind as you’re plotting your trajectory. Be intentional about the company you choose to keep; they’ll ultimately define your success.

Everyone likes a team player, which is why the most highly successful people learned how to play (and work) well with others on the playground, and they never gave that useful habit up. Luckily, it’s not too late to pick it back up for yourself.

Pete and Rachael Herschelman3 Habits of Highly Successful People
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