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Do These Things Before 8 a.m.
by On January 25, 2017

Life can be completely unpredictable. Many say that it’s like a rollercoaster, with lots of ups and downs. How is it possible to move forward with your dreams when we live in a world like that? Working full time can make it seem impossible. But having kids on top of everything else makes following your dreams that much harder. If you don’t consistently take time for self-improvement, a lot of that time will be wasted. Unfortunately, there’s no way to get back lost time. You don’t want to wake up one day and wonder what you did with your life. Make that moment now. Try to do these 8 things before 8 am, and set yourself up for greatness.

Get enough sleep

Most importantly, make sure you are getting enough sleep! Getting enough rest is up there with drinking enough water. Everyone says that it is important, and yet so many people fail to follow this key step. Not only will you be fatigued after an insufficient amount of rest, but continually getting less than 7 hours a night can lead to health problems. On the other hand, 7 or more hours of sleep per night has a lot of great benefits. For example, you can look forward to an increased attention span and memory. Being fully rested can lift your mood, and help you be more creative. You might even save some money on that morning coffee, as you’ll be less likely to crave caffeine. Make an effort to set a designated bedtime, and actually go to sleep when that time comes. Trying to be successful without a good sleep schedule is pointless.

Meditation

Once fully rested, you need to fill yourself with positive thoughts to get your morning going. If you wake up angry, you’re almost certainly going to have a bad day. Whatever your beliefs, try to focus on prayer or meditation. Doing so will make you grateful for everything you have, and ensure that you’re starting your day off on the right foot. People are drawn to the positivity of others.

Get physical

Also, another thing you should be doing before 8 am is exercise. Despite the fact that exercise is extremely beneficial, only about one-third of the American population exercises on a daily basis. Make it a habit to get regular exercise and you’ll see positive changes in your mood, health, and productivity. For instance, go to the gym directly after your meditation session to get your body moving. Caring for your body directly corresponds with caring for your career.

 

Protein Intake

We’ve all heard it before, breakfast is the most important meal of the day. However, the right breakfast will set you up for success. Try to eat at least 30 grams of protein as a part of your morning meal. Foods that are protein rich help keep you full longer. That’s because they take longer to digest than foods like carbohydrates. In fact, protein helps regulate your blood sugar, thus preventing hunger spikes throughout your morning. Also, you’ll notice cravings for bad carbs are decreased. Bad carbs such as donuts or bagels can make you feel sluggish, and you’ll be hungrier a lot earlier on.

Cold Showers

As a person who thoroughly enjoys hot showers, this next idea is a tough one. Although hot showers are nice, sometimes taking a cold shower is the way to go. Interestingly, studies have shown that taking cold showers regularly can help treat depression. The cold water can trigger neurochemicals, which in turn can make you feel happy. Jumping into cold water is the hardest part, but usually, after about 20 seconds your body is used to it. In addition, you’ll notice some other benefits too. Hot water can dry out your skin and hair, but cold water won’t.

Get inspired

A lot of successful people are always on the hunt for more knowledge. But where do they find the time to read, learn, and grow? It’s pretty simple, actually. You can start by listening to audiobooks on the commute to and from work. Many people spend that time listening to the radio when they could be stimulating their brain before the work day has even begun. Also, try reading for half an hour before going to bed. Before you know it, you’ll have hundreds of books under your belt.

Goals

You may have set goals for yourself already, and that’s great. However, take the time to write your goals down, long term and short term. Sometimes, the simple act of writing your goals down can help you stick to them. Make an effort to read your list of goals every day. Thinking about your goals will help guarantee that you’re doing things daily to work towards them. Eventually, you’ll reach them and can make even greater goals.

Take action

Lastly, prioritize your daily tasks. Try to tackle the hardest things while you still have the most energy. Otherwise, if you leave the hard stuff for the end of the day, it’ll never get done. Don’t put stuff off any longer than you have to. Jump in and tackle the hard stuff.

A Home Office that Works for You
by On January 18, 2017
Working from home may seem like an ideal situation, but there are many challenges as well. It could be hard to separate home life from work if you do both in the same place. If your space is cluttered, then it’s very likely that your work will be cluttered too. Follow this guide for some ways to make your home office work for you.

Positioning

To start, make sure your computer is in the correct position. If you are constantly looking up or down at a screen it could put a lot of strain on your head or neck. In addition, the position of your chair also matters. Plus, if your chair is uncomfortable it could be hard to focus on what you’re working on. Ergonomic chairs are great for working long hours.

Lighting

Secondly, the lighting in a space can make all the difference in the world. Stay away from the corner of the room, and instead put your desk next to a window. A lot of people say this can improve your mood throughout the day due to exposure to Vitamin D. Sometimes, you just need to take a break and it’s nice to take in the scenery. On the other hand, you shouldn’t rely solely on just natural light. Don’t forget lamps for when it gets darker. Overhead lighting isn’t best for a workspace, consider getting a couple lamps. Most of the time lamps create a nice, warm feel and you can experiment with different styles.

Storage

Also, it’s very important to have an adequate amount of storage in your home office. Nobody wants to work somewhere that is too cluttered. Be creative with your storage solutions, and make the space really your own. Invest in an awesome bookcase, or turn the closet into a system of shelves so it’s not visible. Wall storage is a great option too, as it will keep the mess off your desk.

Personalize 

Think of the things you hate about working in a cubicle, and try to improve upon that idea. It can get depressing working in a space that feels cold and sterile. Add some personal touches, and possibly even rotate items out so you’re constantly inspired by your workspace. Make a corner of the office where you can cuddle up and read when it’s necessary. Many people find that some greenery makes them feel happier. In addition, some people work their best with some good music. Consider investing in a streaming service like Pandora or Spotify.

Supplies

Of course, it’s also important to make sure you have a fully stocked office. Keep all your supplies in the same room where you’ll be working. As a result, you won’t need to get up and leave the room every time you run out of post its, pens, stamps or whatever else you might need. Think about making a kitchen corner. You can get a nice mini fridge if you like to drink a lot of beverages throughout the day. Or, if you need coffee, make a cute little coffee and tea station.
Censoring your vocabulary? F that.
by On January 11, 2017

We’re trained from a young age that swearing is bad, but as adults it’s integrated into our speech patterns. Curse words fall into a grey area of society. What makes a word harmful? Where do you draw the line between appropriate and offensive? This distinction is especially important in the business world. Vulgar speech could drive away potential clients or help you come across as relatable, which leads to valuable partnerships. Linguists, sociologists, psychologists and a lot of other studious people have contributed to research surrounding the use of swear words.

The POV hypothesis

The poverty-of-vocabulary (POV) hypothesis states that people who use swear words regularly and fluently have a limited vocabulary. This hypothesis suggests that people who swear are more unintelligent, because they don’t know other, non-offensive words. Recent studies have not only proven the POV hypothesis wrong, but they also suggest the opposite to be true. Scientists now believe that those who are fluent in taboo language have a higher verbal proficiency. If you can swear like a sailor, you can probably speak eloquently like a poet.

Swear words are bad words

Offensive language is intense communication that triggers an emotional response. The words themselves are not harmful, but placed in context they cause damages. People are held legally accountable for vulgar language in cases of sexual harassment, fighting words and disturbing the peace. These examples show the negative consequences of swear words, but psychologists and linguists also recognize the benefits.

Swearing with good intentions

Swear words are not inherently bad. There are several potential outcomes when offensive language is spoken, ranging from negative to positive. Most uses of taboo language are not problematic. Think about how frequently curse words are used, generally without real consequences. Psychologists gain more insight when they study the motives behind offensive language use. Malicious intent creates a higher level of offensiveness. Swear words are featured in jokes, stories, stressful situations and moments of frustration. In these situations, the motives for cursing are not aggressive. These taboo words effectively convey a specific emotional expression. Research suggests that swear words can also increase your pain tolerance.

Cursing helps manage pain

Releasing a slew of swear words in response to pain or frustration is now supported with scientific evidence. Vulgar speech is a natural response to high stress situations, and research shows that offensive words can actually help people manage these circumstances. Swearing has an “analgesic effect,” which is a fancy way to say it helps relieve pain. There’s a limit though, the more frequently you swear, the less meaningful the words become. If there is no emotional response to cursing, the words will not help reduce pain.

What makes a swear word?

Swear words obviously hold some kind of power, but what makes them any different from the rest of your vocabulary? Vulgar words generally reference something sexual or some kind of bodily function. Linguistically, offensive language is typically comprised of four letter, monosyllabic words. Curse words commonly have closed syllables, which means that there is a vowel surrounded by consonants. There are also several variations of swear words that are not seen as offensive, even though only a few letters are different. Is darn or dang much different from its vulgar alternative?

Corporate cursing

A lot of people have studied what makes words vulgar. Expectations and standards established in society are an important deciding factor. Curse words are not tolerated in elementary schools, but there is a grey area in the business world. Some employers do not allow swearing, because they feel it’s unprofessional in the workplace. Other businesses are comfortable with explicit language. They believe it encourages honesty and helps coworkers build personal relationships.

Corporate culture is reflected in office language. Whether you’re cool with swearing or not, there can be advantages for business leaders who curse. Studies show that when swear words are used appropriately, an audience is more likely to identify with the speaker. Leaders can be perceived as confident and passionate. As the millennial generation enters the work force and casual work environments become the norm, swearing has also become more accepted.

Curse words are being integrated into our business vocabulary. Understanding the appropriate usage of swear words can be the difference between offending a potential business partner or forming a strong relationship. The concept of offensive language falls into a grey area as people debate what makes words harmful and what’s classified as acceptable speech. Don’t get careless with your taboo language, but you can probably stop washing your mouth with soap as punishment.

Don’t freeze in panic-Survive the winter business slump
by On January 4, 2017

For much of the country, winter means freezing temperatures, piles of snow and icy winds. People hunker down and cuddle around heaters for warmth. Winter months can be hard on everyone, including small businesses. Whether people are hiding from the cold, attending holiday events or being frugal after excessive holiday spending, they’re not visiting your business or requesting your professional services. During the winter months, many businesses and entrepreneurs experience a lull in sales and consumer traffic. Fortunately, you are not the first person to deal with a business slump. There are lots of ideas available to help you through the slow months.

Make a plan

If you’ve noticed that sales typically drop below normal in the winter months, make a plan for your business during those weeks. It’s normal for a business to go through high and low periods. Your business will be more successful overall if you look at the bigger picture and plan accordingly. Manage your yearly budget so that the finances you earn when you’re flourishing are available to balance out the slow months.

Cut your spending

When your business is hurting, cut expenses. Take a realistic look at your budget and decide what your business can do without for a few weeks or months. Maybe you can wait to replace those dated light fixtures or the squeaking floor boards. These decisions should be practical, but not excessive. If you try and save money by turning down the lights, consumers might think you’re closed and be turned away.

Stay active

Planning for your business to move forward during periods of low consumer traffic is smart, but don’t anticipate problems. Business owners who assume that there will be a dramatic fluctuation in sales create their own misfortune. If you use a lull in revenue to become idle with your business promotions, it will only contribute to the slowdown. Actively pursing ways to engage consumers during slow business periods supports your bottom line.

Take advantage of the slowdown

If your business regularly experiences a slowdown in the winter months, take advantage of it. Use this time to update your store with a fresh coat of paint or tackle that project you haven’t had time for. Engage with your internal publics and boost employee relations. Review your systems and protocols. Evaluate your business plan for the new year. Just because business is slow, doesn’t mean you’re not working. Downtime is a great opportunity for you to strengthen your business for the coming months. Using your slow periods to your advantage will set you up for success during the busy season.

Engage on social media

Don’t freeze on your social media engagement when business gets slow. This is a great opportunity for your business to build consumer relationships with current and potential clients. Update your business accounts across each social media platform with the latest photos, employee bios and company profile. Spend more time thinking of creative content that will resonate with consumers. Promptly respond to questions and comments from customers. When business is slow, an active social media presence will engage consumers and attract their business.

Seasonal promotions

Seasonal promotions and targeted messages are another way your business can move forward through a slowdown. Figure out exactly who your consumers are, and from there you’ll discover the most effective way to reach them. Based off of this information you can strategize about what deals and offers would entice people into doing business with you. Maybe hosting a special event is how you reach your consumer audience. If you do a little research, you’ll be more successful attracting consumers.

Many businesses and entrepreneurs experience a lull in revenue during the winter months. If you are facing a slowdown, there are many options to keep your business moving forward. Whether consumers are staying in to avoid the cold or are stressed about finances after holiday spending, you will have to work harder to draw people into your store during the winter months. Bundle up and get creative with your winter business strategy.