Do You Hate to Rush? 11 Tips for Getting Ready Faster in the Morning.

Do You Hate to Rush? 11 Tips for Getting Ready Faster in the Morning.:

Excerpt:

  1. Put your alarm clock across the room, so you have to get out of bed to turn it off. No more snooze button!
  2. The night before, set an alarm to tell you that it’s time to go to bed. It’s a lot easier to get going in the morning if you’ve had enough sleep the night before. Also…
  3. Set an alarm to remind you when you’ve spent enough time in the shower.
  4. Buy several pairs of the same socks, so you never have to hunt for a mate.
  5. Decide your outfit while you brush your teeth to go to bed the night before, so you don’t have to take the time for inner debate in the morning. Or even better…
  6. Give yourself a work uniform, so you have very few choices to make when dressing. (I loved this piece by an art director, “Why I Wear the Exact Same Thing to Work Every Day.”)
  7. Always put your keys, wallet, sunglasses, and cell phone away in the same place, so you don’t have to spend any time hunting for an important possession.  (Can’t find something? Here are 8 tips for finding misplaced objects. Bizarrely, I’ve found, these tips really do work.)
  8. The night before, gather everything you need for the next day–papers in your briefcase, exercise clothes in the gym bag, the book you’re returning to a friend at work.
  9. Always keep gas in the car.
  10. Drink the office coffee instead of stopping at a coffee place on your way to work.
  11. Convince everyone in your household to follow these same tips.

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Want to View the World with Fresh Eyes? 13 Tips to See More Clearly.

Want to View the World with Fresh Eyes? 13 Tips to See More Clearly.:

Excerpt:

  1. Notice colors — I push myself to notice the color of the sky; the contrast between the orange cone and the gray sidewalk.
  2. Look in a mirror — things look different in a mirror.
  3. Look at a picture of an object. Jamaica Kincaid wrote “Why is a picture of something real eventually more exciting than the thing itself?” A question that haunts me. Related…
  4. Look at an object alongside a picture of it. I heard about this strategy as a way of appreciating art more. Buy a postcard of an artwork, then study the artwork while you hold up the postcard. I’m dying to try this.
  5. Pretend to be a journalist — journalists notice things in a different way. Similarly…
  6. Pretend to be a tourist. Look at the shop windows! How people line up for the bus! What are people wearing?
  7. Draw — this one doesn’t appeal to me, but many people swear by it.
  8. Go someplace new — I’ve lived in my New York City neighborhood for more than a decade, and still I sometimes stumble onto a street I swear I’ve never walked before.
  9. Return to a familiar place after a long time away — go back to your old school; stop into the grocery store where you shopped when you lived in your old house. Fascinating.
  10. Imagine that you have guests coming to stay for the weekend — a great way to see your home in a new way. Along the same lines…
  11. Imagine that you will sell your house — you see it through the eyes of a judgmental stranger
  12. Notice contrasts, when two worlds are juxtaposed –school-children on a sidewalk in front of a business;  a horse-and-buggy clopping down the highway
  13. Look with a child — it’s such a sentimental cliche to say it, but children really do see the world with fresh eyes.

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7 Types of Loneliness (and Why It Matters)

7 Types of Loneliness (and Why It Matters):

Excerpt:

7 Types of Loneliness

1. New-situation loneliness

You’ve moved to a new city where you don’t know anyone, or you’ve started a new job, or you’ve started at a school full of unfamiliar faces. You’re lonely.

2. I’m-different loneliness**

You’re in a place that’s not unfamiliar, but you feel different from other people in an important way that makes you feel isolated. Maybe your faith is really important to you, and the people around you don’t share that — or vice versa. Maybe everyone loves doing outdoor activities, but you don’t — or vice versa. It feels hard to connect with others about the things you find important. Or maybe you’re just hit with the loneliness that hits all of us sometimes — the loneliness that’s part of the human condition.

3. No-sweetheart loneliness

Even if you have lots of family and friends, you feel lonely because you don’t have the intimate attachment of a romantic partner. Or maybe you have a partner, but you don’t feel a deep connection to that person.

4. No-animal loneliness

Many people have a deep need to connect with animals. If this describes you, you’re sustained by these relationships in a way that human relationships don’t replace. While I love my dog Barnaby, I don’t feel this myself — but many people feel like something important is missing if they don’t have a dog or cat (or less conveniently, a horse) in their lives.

5. No-time-for-me loneliness**

Sometimes you’re surrounded by people who seem friendly enough, but they don’t want to make the jump from friendly to friends. Maybe they’re too busy with their own lives, or they have lots of friends already, so while you’d like a deeper connection, they don’t seem interested. Or maybe your existing friends have entered a new phase that means they no longer have time for the things you all used to do — everyone has started working very long hours, or has started  family, so that your social scene has changed.

6. Untrustworthy-friends loneliness*

Sometimes, you get in a situation where you begin to doubt whether your friends are truly well-intentioned, kind, and helpful. You’re “friends” with people but don’t quite trust them. An important element of friendship is the ability to confide and trust, so if that’s missing, you may feel lonely, even if you have fun with your friends.

7. Quiet-presence loneliness**

Sometimes, you may feel lonely because you miss having someone else’s quiet presence. You may have an active social circle at work, or have plenty of friends and family, but you miss having someone to hang out with at home — whether that would mean living with a roommate, a family member, or a sweetheart. Just someone who’s fixing a cup of coffee in the next room, or reading on the sofa.

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8 Tips for Feeling Happier During an Unhappy Time.

8 Tips for Feeling Happier During an Unhappy Time.:

Some excerpts:

1. Remind yourself of reasons to be grateful. When things look really dark, it’s hard to feel grateful, but remembering what’s good in your life can help put problems into perspective. I have a friend who recently suffered a big disappointment at work. She said to me, “As long as my family is healthy, I can’t get too upset about anything.” This may sound like hackneyed advice, but it’s really true.

2. Remember your body. Take a twenty-minute walk outside to boost your energy and dissolve stress. Don’t let yourself get too hungry. Get enough sleep. Manage pain. When you’re anxious, it’s easy to stay up late and eat ice cream — and that’s going to make you feel worse in the long run. It’s very tempting to run yourself ragged trying to deal with a crisis, but in the long run, you just wear yourself out.

3. Do something fun. Temporarily distract yourself from the stress, and re-charge your battery, with an enjoyable activity. Watching a funny movie is a reliable way to give yourself a pleasant break, and listening to your favorite music is one of the quickest ways to change your mood. When my older daughter was in the intensive-care unit as a newborn, my husband dragged me off to a movie one afternoon — and that few hours of distraction made me much better able to cope with the situation. Be careful, however, not to “treat” yourself by doing something that’s eventually going to make you feel worse (taking up smoking again, drinking too much, indulging in retail therapy). My comfort-food activity is reading children’s literature.

4. Take action. If you’re in a bad situation, take steps to bring about change. If you’re having trouble with your new boss, you could decide to try to transfer. Or you could change your behavior. Or you could find ways to pay less attention to your boss. Ask yourself, “What exactly is the problem?” It’s astounding to me that often, when I take time to identify a problem exactly, a possible solution presents itself.

5. Look for meaning. Re-frame an event to see the positive along with the negative. Maybe getting fired will give you the push you need to move to the city where you’ve always wanted to live. Maybe your illness has strengthened your relationships with your family. You don’t need to be thankful that something bad has happened, but you can try to find positive consequences even in a catastrophic event.

6. Connect with friends and family. Strong relationships are a KEY to happiness, so fight the impulse to isolate yourself. Show up. Make plans. Ask for help, offer your help to others. Or just have some fun (see #3) and forget your troubles for a while.

7. Make something better. If something in your life has gotten worse, try to make something else better – and it doesn’t have to be something important. Clean a closet. Organize your photographs. Work in the yard.

8. Act toward other people the way you wish they’d act toward you. If you wish your friends would help you find someone to date, see if you can fix up a friend. If you wish people would help you find a job, see if you can help someone else find a job. If you can’t think of a way to help someone you know, do something generous in a more impersonal way. For instance: commit to being an organ donor! When you’re feeling very low, it can be hard to muster the energy to help someone else, but you’ll be amazed at how much better you feel. Do good, feel good; it really works.

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The Surprising Effect of Small Efforts over Time

The Surprising Effect of Small Efforts over Time:

Excerpts:

And thus another life lesson materialized, with applications to Mustachianism as well. And that lesson is that small efforts, repeated over time, will almost always surprise you.

It’s a natural weakness of the human brain that we don’t recognize this, because we have our leftover instincts of survival in the moment. But a ten dollar lunch each workday compounds to $37,600 every ten years. An extra beer or slice of bread beyond your base calorie requirements adds up to 152 pounds of fat* over the same period. A habit of being just a bit rude to your spouse in certain situations can brew itself into lifelong resentment and divorce, while a slightly different habit of patience and respect can keep you happily married for life.

For me, the habit of occasionally typing some shit into the computer has resulted in an enormous pile of articles on this blog. 360 of them, or over 1000 pages if you were to make it all into a (repetitive and poorly edited) book.  It’s a whole empire now, which automatically brings in readers and generates surprising quantities of money, and all caused by a series of individually insignificant efforts over time. And although things seem slow to me right now, with continued efforts I can surely make this place far better, finish the book that really needs to be written, and reach the right people. Then, of course, we can save the human race from destroying itself through overconsumption of its own habitat, which has been the plan all along.

So how can everyone benefit from this effect? By watching where your time goes, and making small adjustments to make sure most of those minutes are aligned with your real life goals.

Watching TV, for example, or playing massively multiplayer online games, can feel relaxing and even stimulating at times. But those hours spent relaxing and stimulating yourself can really add up, and when you tally the eventual sum of the life benefits, it ends up awfully close to zero. Many other leisure pursuits (complaining, ATV riding, shopping) often end up the same way.

The key is therefore to trick yourself into doing more things that are good for you. Not just more good things, but over time having your life be almost entirely good things.

Tiny things, like learning one new thing you were afraid of trying before. Fixing the screen on your upstairs window. Or taking a very short walk when you don’t really have the time or inclination to go for a real walk. Reading just a tiny amount of the investing book before you eat a tiny amount of raw vegetables.  I have some gymnastics rings hanging from straps mounted to part of the high ceiling in my kitchen. When I don’t feel like really working out, which is quite often, I will walk over and do just 5 pull-ups on those rings.  Over the past month or two, I’ve done this lazy cop-out routine about 100 times, which adds to 500 pull-ups, which is not such a bad thing after all.

Sooner than you think, you’ll find that your days are starting to change shape. These constant needlings from Mr. Money Mustache seemed annoying at first, but you will end up getting rid of your TV and replacing it with a library card after all, and poking around in the Reading List area of this blog. Over time, you’ll become a Self Improvement Machine, a miniature Dalai Lama with happiness beams shooting out of each of your orifices, which in turn shine onto others and make them happier. All in all, a surprising effect for such a small effort.

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5 Tips For Dealing With Your Inner Critic

5 Tips For Dealing With Your Inner Critic:

Excerpt:

 

Create a safe place in your mind

If you wanted to give someone some constructive criticism, how would you do it? You’d first want to make sure you’re coming from a place of good intentions and not a place of frustration. This is something we can implement for ourselves as well. Taking regular actions to create a safe place in your mind increases your likelihood of maintaining a positive outlook. Think about what centers you and makes you feel safe. Some examples are meditation, going for a walk, yoga, and journaling. Let your mind be a safe space infused with positive thinking and self-love.

Increase your awareness

An important step in dealing with your inner critic is simply to create more self-awareness when it’s happening. This allows us to understand where our beliefs and thoughts about ourselves come from. If you’re able to recognize the moments when your inner critic is telling you something, you give yourself a chance to question it and therefore reduce the likelihood that you’ll believe it. Lastly, try to identify thoughts as nothing more than thoughts. Thoughts are not facts or realities. They do not define you.

 

Reframe the role of the inner critic

There’s a lot of advice out there for silencing or conquering your inner critic. I personally think it’s impossible to get rid of the inner critic once and for all, simply because this will always be part of our journey through life. Instead, we have to figure out how we can use the inner critic to motivate us and keep moving us forward.

We have a choice in how we respond to criticism from ourselves and others, and the key is to respond to it productively and wisely. If we look at the inner critic as a challenge that encourages us to take action and prove it wrong, we are constantly given a challenge to overcome. In my opinion, this keeps life more interesting anyway.

 

Bring in positive reinforcement

The thing about negative self-talk is that you need to make sure you’re balancing it out (and going above and beyond) with positive self-talk. If we return to the example of giving someone else constructive criticism, you’d probably want to first tell them what they’re doing a good job at before you tell them what they need to improve on. The same goes for yourself. Remind yourself often of your accomplishments. Keep an accomplishment log or journal, take pictures to remind yourself, or tell someone else what you did. For goodness sake, tell yourself you’re proud! Self-love is a vital factor in increasing your self-worth.

Ask for help when you need it

When we get overwhelmed with our never-ending to-do lists, self-care becomes less and less of a priority. When this happens, our minds and bodies feel drained of energy. We run ourselves into the ground which means we’re less likely to focus on positive self-talk. That’s when the inner critic gets its chance to take over again. If we make sure we’re asking for help when we need it (asking others AND ourselves), we reduce overwhelm, get some time to nourish ourselves, and let our positive inner voice take control again.
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3 things to ask yourself when you feel overwhelmed

Overwhelm can feel like a constant battle. Especially when life is always go-go-go. I cannot even begin to tell you how many nights I’ve spent (and still do on occasion) tossing and turning begging my brain to quiet down.

Overwhelm doesn’t just happen with thoughts, however.

  • It happens when we get upset.
  • It happens when we feel super emotional.
  • And it happens when we feel like we’re experiencing we “shouldn’t have to” or weren’t expecting.

And, ranting when you are overwhelmed is good sometimes, if,

  • Make you feel better // empower you
  • Bring awareness to the situation that can lead to a solution
  • Inspire others to take action
  • Or help you solve a problem. Aka ranting and then asking for guidance

When faced with an overwhelming and/or irritating moment, take pause and consider the following questions.

  1. Will it matter a year from now? (or a week or a month?)
  2. What can I do to come back to the present moment?
  3. How can I take action toward a solution?

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