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The Importance of Giving Up – to Soar

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The Importance of Giving Up – to Soar

Way back in the day, I came home from little league. My mom asked me how it was. Without hesitation, I told her that I wanted to quit. She asked me why? I told her I was sick of the coach letting his son pitch because the son was so awful. Then, when the game was nearly lost — Coach would put me in as pitcher — and he’d expect me to win the game — no matter what had to be done.

If I couldn’t pull out the win — Coach would rant and scream at me and the whole team. I wanted to quit. If I complained, Coach would stick me in the outfield swatting away at flies. I didn’t mind if I was playing first base like Frank Thomas or Jeff Bagwell. My mom told me that I’d never get as much training as I would receive pitching under that kind of pressure.

It was then that my mom threw a Vince Lombardi quote in my direction. “Winners never quit, and quitters never win.” And, in case I forgot, there were also some pretty amazing outfielders I could emulate like Ken Griffey Jr., Tony Gwenn, and Mickey Mantle.

I gave up on my dream of being the starting pitcher for every game — I stopped resenting the coaches’ son. Instead, I focused on what I was good at — hitting and running, and I tried to make sure I helped pull out a win under stressful circumstances. And, in hindsight, that was a win-win.

I gave up on my dream of being a major league baseball pitcher.

That’s not to say it was easy to switch my mindset. No one likes giving up on their dreams. But, this taught me a valuable lesson. There are times in life when throwing in the towel is important.

The Scientific Case for Giving Up

“Realizing that an attempt to achieve something is not accomplishing its goal, and then stopping that behavior, can actually be beneficial,” writes Claudia Lopez-Lloreda for Inverse. “When confronted with a difficult challenge or obstacle, animals often ‘give up’ to conserve energy between attempts or to identify other strategies to succeed — or reassess if the effort is even worth it.”

A research group led by Misha Ahrens at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute was responsible for this finding. But, Ahrens is far from the only researcher to scientifically prove the benefits of giving up.

“A laser-like focus on one goal (like a promotion) often prevents us from seeking out new opportunities for learning and growth,” writes Jennifer Gueringer on the NetCredit blog. “In fact, a survey of Stanford Business school alumni found that those who held five or more positions in 15 years were nine times more likely to reach senior management than those with fewer roles.”

“The effects are physical, too,” adds Gueringer. “A Concordia University found that teenage girls who were unable to disengage from difficult goals exhibited increased levels of C-reactive protein, an inflammatory molecule linked to diabetes, heart disease and early aging in adults.”

You’ll Accomplish More

I know that sounds counterproductive. But, bear with me for a second.

Recall a time when you were procrastinating. Maybe you were dreading the task, just not feeling it, or didn’t have the skills or knowledge to complete it. Regardless of the exact reason — you stubbornly kept trying to tackle this task.

What happened next? You may have originally blocked out two hours of time to get this thing done. Now you’re approaching three or four hours. And, before you know it, you’ve screwed up your entire schedule for not just the day, but the entire week. The reason? What you have planned to do today gets moved to tomorrow and so forth.

Also, even if you were able to cross this item off your list, you’ve spent way more energy on it then you should have. As a result, you’re too drained to focus on anything else that’s of importance.

The better option here would be to move on to something else that you can actually do well. You may even want to delegate or outsource to someone else.

You’ll Be Happier and More Creative

As Raj Raghunathan Ph.D. writes in Psychology Today, there is something called ego depletion which suggests that “willpower is a limited resource.” If you’re obsessed with achieving a goal, that means you’re sacrificing other goals “whose achievement also depends on the same pool of willpower.”

There’s also hyperopia. It’s similar to the above where you “sacrifice your present-day enjoyment for the sake of a future that may never really arrive.” What does that mean? Well, “it may be more important to give up on goals that take too much out of us than to pursue them at all cost.”

Speaking of goals, if a goal is tied to a reward — it may sometimes hinder creativity and problem-solving.

“Rewards can perform a weird sort of behavioral alchemy: they can transform an interesting task into a drudge,” Daniel Pink wrote in his book Drive. “They can turn the play into work,” Pink adds. “And by diminishing intrinsic motivation, they can send performance, creativity, and even upstanding behavior toppling like dominoes.”

Besides goals, here are some other things that you should give up if you want to be happy and successful:

  • Perfection. You already know that perfectionism is unrealistic, stressful, and prevents you from finding new opportunities.
  • FOMO. The so-called, Fear Of Missing Out can cause you to spread yourself too thin and it diverts your attention away from your priorities.
  • Negative self-talk. If you engage in negative self-talk, it holds you back from achieving your dreams — and it can do other weird things to you too. Just watch someone who loves this awful habit — you hate to be around them, huh?
  • Comparing yourself to others. Comparing yourself to anyone but yourself is unproductive and self-destructive.
  • Toxic relationships. Spend time with people you love and who love you back. Toxic people are a waste of time, energy, and will only drag you down.
  • The fear of failure. Everyone fails. Accept that fact, and learn from each experience — or don’t learn from it — just get past it.

The End is the Beginning is The End

Do you need one final reason for quitting? How about it gives a clean slate to live the life you want?

Yes — quitting at anything is usually easier said than done. But, take that leap of faith and ditch the things that are holding you back and causing you distress. For example, if you’re miserable because you feel like you’re in a dead-end job, quit and launch your own business.

Quitting a job may not be in your future and it’s going to be hard and scary. But, this type of quitting is a better option than being stuck in a situation that is depriving you of living the life that you want. Remember, life is short. So, use your life, and spend this valuable resource however you want.

How to Know When It’s Time to Give Up

There isn’t an exact answer to whether it’s time to give up. But, Cloris Kylie Stock from Tiny Buddha has put together five signs that may help you decide if now is the time to quit — or if it’s time to buckle down and win.

  • You aren’t enjoying life to the fullest because your quest to solve a problem as taken over your life.
  • No matter how hard you try, you can’t visualize a positive outcome.
  • You start to feel poorly about yourself.
  • Even though a goal involved others, you’re the only person who has an interest.
  • When you wake-up in the morning, you think about giving up.

Remember to analyze the pros and cons of what and when to give up. The “give-up” should come rarely in your life, and it should only be deployed when it will be for your greater good. Plan carefully — make your give-up a win-win.

5 Small Habits That Can Make or Break Your Productivity

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If you wake up on the wrong side of the bed, it can feel like your whole day got turned upside down. Why? Because your first 90 minutes set the stage for the rest of your day. 

Pivotal habits, such as eating breakfast and journaling, can significantly change the trajectory of your productivity. They give you a better outlook on the day and clarify your work intentions. 

What small hacks can keep you motivated and productive throughout the day? These five are key:

 

  •  Defining your ‘why’

 

Get used to it: You won’t enjoy every task you have to do in a day. Nobody gets inspired by things like taking out the trash or sorting through emails.

That’s why you need to establish your “why.” It’s never a smart idea to rely on willpower alone to get you through menial work. 

Simon Sinek, author of “Start With Why,” suggests treating your “why” as your root. Yours might be different than someone else’s, and that’s OK. What’s important is that your goals and your tasks logically grow out of it. 

Ask yourself: What do you ultimately want out of your productivity? To enjoy leisure time? To live out your potential? 

Make your goal something greater than paying the bills. For example, you could think of it as: “providing a secure life for my family and children.” When you have a clear direction for what you’re doing, it’s easier to get through rough times. 

 

  •  Mapping out your week on Sunday 

 

If you want to be more productive, you have to plan your week out on Sunday.

There are probably a million things you would rather do on Sunday, but you only have to spend 30 minutes to plan out the rest of your week. Then you can go to the beach or catch up on your favorite television show. 

Here’s how you can map out your week on Sunday: 

  • Write everything down that needs to get done.
  • Separate main priorities from what can wait. 
  • Add main priorities to your calendar. Stick to three or fewer per day.
  • Add sub-priorities to your main priorities. If you want to landscape your yard, for example, you may need to make a trip to the hardware store. 
  • For to-do items that can wait, schedule them during leftover availability.

Now you have a weekly schedule. Review it and make sure it truly reflects what you have to get done. Also ensure that you don’t have any events conflicting with each other. You wouldn’t want to schedule a client visit the same time you have to conduct employee training. 

With your remaining time on Sunday, take care of housekeeping items. Prepare meals, do laundry, and clean up. This ensures you can keep your focus on more important things during the week than what you’ll be eating for lunch the next day. 

 

  •  Having a morning routine 

 

Is your go-to morning routine hitting snooze on your phone several times and throwing your wrinkled clothes on? Habits like that ruin the rest of your day. You set the stage for hurriedness and laziness from the moment you open your eyes. 

Some tasks you might consider including in a morning routine:

 

  • Reviewing your goals

 

Are the goals you set out for yourself on Sunday still valid. Focus on finishing those first. Once your priorities are done, work on the ones that are not as pressing. 

 

  • Making your bed 

 

Making your bed is a small task that can make you feel like you accomplished something big. It takes less than five minutes and builds your confidence.

 

  • Exercising

 

Did you know that experts say mornings are the best time to exercise? Exercise wakes you up by getting your blood flowing bright and early. 

 

  • Implementing a get-out-the-door routine 

 

Getting out the door on time helps you feel ready for work. This means having your clothes ironed and ready to put on the night before. Have essential items — like your laptop bag and lunch box — packed and in a specific spot. Place pre-planned meals in the fridge and ready to pack.  

 

  •  Decluttering your workspace 

 

Have you ever tried getting work done when your desk is full of junk: pencils that don’t work, papers you don’t use, knick knacks that are collecting dust?

It can feel impossible to work in that environment. Clutter makes it difficult for you to focus, and hard to relax. It also reminds you of all the cleaning you should have done but haven’t.

Take a few minutes to clean your workspace, starting with your desk. Put items in a box that you don’t need. Get rid of the paper agendas from old meetings. Return books that belong to another department.

Then, clean up your computer. Delete old files, and archive your emails. Organize the documents you actually need into folders.  

Finally, take care of the area around your work station. Vacuum the carpet. Clean out your filing cabinet. 

 

  •  Working smarter, not harder

 

There’s no point in discovering your why, having a schedule, morning routine, and decluttering your workspace — if you’re overworked. Why grind it out when you can find alternative ways of working?

Working smarter might mean outsourcing data entry tasks to a digital assistant. It could mean listening to your favorite podcast on your walk instead of when you’re trying to meet a deadline. 

Working smarter helps you focus on priority tasks. It also shows you the value of delegating appropriate tasks, allowing your time to be better spent elsewhere. Working smarter allows you to get tasks done quicker, which lets you use the leftover time to relax. 

To get the big things done, start small. Know what you need to get done, take care of yourself (and your workspace), and find efficiencies where you can. That’s all there is to it. 

6 Tips for Working Through the Winter Blues

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6 Tips for Working Through the Winter Blues

Winter is a tough time of year. Leaving the house is hard enough; running a business can feel downright impossible.

For some people, the winter blues get so bad that they’re diagnosed with seasonal affective disorder. But even if your energy levels are only a bit lower in the winter, your company could suffer. As the leader, you set the tone for your entire team.

Don’t let that happen. Take these tips to stay productive and keep your spirits up during the long, cold days:

1. Keep it warm and bright.

Studies have shown that cold, dark environments have negative effects on cognition and mood. Work is already demanding, and a chilly or dim office will make it that much more difficult. 

Don’t wait until you’re shivering to throw on those additional layers. Keep the overhead lights on, and get a lamp for your desk if you’re still struggling to make out text or other small details. Grab a cup of hot coffee or hot cocoa to sip on while you work.

2. Prioritize friends and family.

One of the most important lessons entrepreneurs can learn from holiday traditions is to stay in touch with loved ones throughout the year. They can provide motivation, someone to vent to, and a much-needed break from work. Even if you think you can tough it out, you’ll have an easier time if you stay connected.

Schedule at least one social event each week. Invite your siblings over for dinner. Go to happy hour with your former co-workers. Catch up over coffee with a friend from college.

3. Take care of yourself.

As tempting as it is to indulge in comfort foods, it’s crucial to pay attention to your health during winter. Minimize processed foods, and eat plenty of protein and healthy fats. Take a vitamin D supplement, which can ward off depression, if you do not spend much time in the sun. 

Also consider joining a gym, especially if you do not have exercise equipment at home. Exercising outside is tough in the cold and snow, and cardiovascular exercise has massive benefits for mental health. If motivation is an issue, hire a trainer to push you through your workouts. 

4. Take your time.

Although there’s nothing wrong with wanting to achieve your New Year’s resolutions, remember to pace yourself. If you’re feeling stressed, slow down. Take a 15-minute break to go on a walk, meditate, or eat a snack.

What if you can’t seem to shake the stress? Give yourself some more time away. Vacation season is over until summer for most people, meaning you’ll be able to find deals on everything from airfare to hotels. Your wellbeing is worth it. 

5. Look forward.

Setting goals is incredibly motivating, and right after the new year is a perfect time to do so. Think about what you want to achieve in 2020, and share those goals with your team.

Use the SMART goal system:

  • Specific: Don’t say you just want to grow your revenue. By how much? Over what time frame? Through what means?
  • Measurable: Be sure that you have a system for checking progress on your goals. If you can’t put a number to it, then what outcome would indicate that you’ve met your objective?
  • Achievable: Is your goal realistic? You may want to make a million dollars tomorrow, but that probably isn’t going to happen.
  • Relevant: If you’re a startup founder looking to grow your company, don’t worry about whether you can hire fifty people in a month. Focus on hiring a single great employee instead.
  • Time-bounded: Goals are just dreams if they don’t have a timeline attached to them. Remember to be realistic about the amount of time that the associated tasks take.

6. Practice gratefulness.

Do not underestimate the power of gratefulness. Research suggests that gratitude has health benefits ranging from greater life satisfaction to a stronger immune system to reduced anxiety. Keep in mind the only difference in the tested individuals was their mindset.

Be grateful for what you have and the position that you’re in. Meditate on your gifts, and share them with others. Take time each morning to journal on the positive parts of your life. 

Start the new year off with a mindset of self-care and abundance. When you surround yourself with the right people and practice healthy habits, winter doesn’t stand a chance.

Stumped By High Turnover? 4 Steps to Find Out Why It’s Happening

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Stumped By High Turnover? 4 Steps to Find Out Why It's Happening

In a strong economy, employees know they have options. Sooner or later, workers who aren’t satisfied with their jobs start searching for opportunities with other companies. 

Although this is good news for employees, it can be a problem for employers that are unaccustomed to an employee-driven market. 

Companies that do not understand (or are unwilling to make) the necessary adjustments inevitably pay the price in turnover. According to one study, employee turnover in 2018 cost US companies $615 billion. Of that, an estimated $469 billion was voluntary turnover that could’ve been avoided.

How Turnover Happens

Although inadequate salary or benefits are common reasons for leaving a company, they aren’t the only ones. Other reasons include:

  • Unclear or unreasonable job duties: Turnover is a two-way street. Employers who don’t provide accurate job descriptions, hire over- or under qualified candidates, or put too many obligations on their employees’ plates set themselves up to lose talent.
  • Unpleasant work environment: Bad management is a big reason behind turnover. Aside from poor leadership, companies with outdated equipment, poor morale, or office tensions set themselves up for retention issues. 
  • Inadequate career development: More than nine in 10 employees say they’d stay longer at a company if it invested in their careers. Workers need to feel like they’re advancing in their professional lives, or they’ll go somewhere that they do. 
  • Work-life imbalance: Nobody can work all the time. Employers who insist that workers put in more hours than they agreed to, provide little or no time off for family events, or give minimal vacation time won’t keep workers around for long.

Turnover happens for all sorts of reasons. Whatever the cause, there are a few steps you can take to reduce it.

Solving Steep Turnover

To boost your company’s retention rate:

1. Ask for (and listen to) feedback.

Talk to employees who are leaving your company as well as those who intend to stay. Keep an ear out for trends: Are the leavers all upset about your company’s vacation policy? Do the people who are staying love your office environment? Make clear that there are no wrong answers, and thank the respondents for their honesty. 

2. Get HR and management on the same page. 

Once you’ve learned what’s pushing people away from your company, take that information to your HR and management teams. Schedule a meeting with each group to chat through it: Chances are, they have questions about your findings. Suggest action steps as well as affordable ways to reward employees for their work. 

3. Decide how aggressively to fight it. 

Your HR leaders and managers know turnover is an issue, and you’ve given them some ideas about how to handle it. The next step is to decide together how much disruption you’re willing to put up with.

Say you’ve heard a couple of names come up again and again in those exit interviews. You could fire the people who are bringing down the office culture, or you could put them on a performance improvement plan. Every situation is unique, so use your best judgment based on the gravity of the issue and the individuals involved. 

4. Keep it up. 

Turnover issues are not solved overnight. As an employer, you have to commit to the people you hire. Give team members ways to talk about issues before they boil over: Set up an anonymous comment box, and read submissions publicly.

Make retention a regular topic at leadership meetings. Measure month-by-month changes to your turnover rate, checking whether investments in retention result in dips or spikes.

Rarely does turnover happen for just one reason. The sooner you get to the root of those reasons — and the more seriously you take them — the better. 

Time Management Secrets from Jeff Bezos, Richard Branson and 5 Other Highly Successful People

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Managing and maximizing your time is no easy task. However, who better to turn to than some of today’s most successful people for guidance. By taking a look at some of the tips and tricks that people like Jeff Bezos and Warren Buffett have come up with, your one step closer to better time management and higher productivity. However, the time management concepts that some of the world’s highest achievers have created were based on their own schedules and needs. So taking ideas from some of these people is great for inspiration, yet your best bet might be figuring out your own strategies that work best for you and your time. Just take it from Amazon’s Bezos who has his very own meeting philosophy called the “two pizza rule,” which means he won’t attend any meeting that’s too big and that two pizzas can’t feed. Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh came up with his own email management method called, “Yesterbox,” where he only responds to emails from the day before. To learn more about these quirky time-saving tricks, here are seven time management secrets from the world’s most successful people.

1. Zappos CEO’s “Yesterbox”

Today, email alone can feel like it’s sucking up most of the work day. And even after responding, deleting and archiving, the idea of “inbox zero” is still far-fetched. When Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh felt this way, he came up with a solution, which he coined “Yesterbox.” Yesterbox is Hsieh’s very own email management system, where instead of trying to tackle everything in his inbox at once, Hsieh only responds to his list of messages from the day before. Unless they are urgent, the rule of thumb is that Hsieh never responds to any of the actual day’s emails.

2. Richard Branson’s “social sweep”

After waking up at 5 a.m. and starting his day with some kitesurfing or tennis playing, Virgin Group billionaire Richard Branson finishes up his morning with a major “social sweep,” where he logs onto his Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram accounts and catches up on news as well as addresses any messages and other activities. “Social media has opened up the world, and given the public the power to really have a say — it’s a wonderful thing,” Branson says. Another great perk of a social sweep, is you take care of it all at once, instead on constantly logging on and off of social media all day long, and becoming distracted.

3. Warren Buffett’s simple approach

Famous billionaire investor Warren Buffett’s approach to time management is as simple as it gets: say “no.” He’s not far off either, because letting yourself get overloaded with work by constantly saying “yes” to new projects and assignments will lead you straight to burnout. According to Entrepreneur, Buffett once said, “The difference between successful people and very successful people is that very successful people say no to almost everything.”

4. Jeff Bezos’ “two pizza rule”

The richest man in the world doesn’t have time to waste in meetings. That’s why he has his own meeting philosophy to make sure he maximizes his time. Calling it the “two pizza rule,” Bezos refuses to go to meetings if they are too big. How does he measure this? If two pizzas can’t feed the amount of people that are supposed to go to a meeting, then it’s too big.

5. Basecamp CEO’s 32-hour workweek

Jason Fried, the CEO of Basecamp, offers employees 32-hour workweeks during the summer. “You can get plenty of stuff done in 32 and 40 hours if you cut out all the stuff that’s taking up your time,” Fried explained to CNBC. However, other than summer, employees are required 40-hour workweeks during the rest of the year. Fried also shared to CNBC that his company does not require that any meeting be mandatory, so people can pick and choose the meetings they think they need to attend.

6. Microsoft executive’s laziness approach

Julia Larson-Green, Microsoft’s Chief Experience Officer, admits she’s lazy. In fact, Larson-Green has found a way to use laziness to her advantage. In an interview with Fast Company, Larson-Green explained, “Being lazy makes me more efficient, because I try to find ways that I can do the best work in the most minimal amount of time. I also know that I need pressure to perform, and procrastination is one of the levers for creating that pressure.”

7. Airbnb exec depends on Apple Notes

Airbnb’s Chief Business Affairs and Legal Officer Belinda Johnson attributes Apple Notes to much of her productivity successes. In an article by Fast Company, Johnson explains how Apple Notes help her stay organized and on top of things: “I use it all day long. As I’m going through my email, I’m either taking care of things in the moment or making [an entry] in Apple Notes that I need to deal with it later. At the end of the day, I go through all my notes and make sure I’ve addressed everything.”  


Originally published here.

How to Schedule Your Week for Both Personal and Business Success

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Achieving proper work life balance is no simple task. Nowadays as the gig economy grows and thousands of individuals pursue entrepreneurial careers, it’s tough to plan around a consistent life. This is why it’s very common for entrepreneurs to lose grasp of what it means to truly balance your work and life. Business success is great, but if you’re struggling to make ends meet in your personal life have you really succeeded? Here’s how you can schedule your week for success in both business and your personal life.

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