Why Knowing Your Personality Type Will Help You Excel At Work

Knowing your personality type is quite important. Your personality type outlines your personal strengths and weaknesses. By understanding your personality type, you can learn how the dynamics of your behaviour work and how you can successfully apply this to your day-to-day business to achieve success.

Your personality type is also a huge determining factor in how you relate with people. Most people who thought they were a bit unusual before taking a personality test, are assured after the test that they are not in any way strange and, in fact, even become proud of the uniqueness of their personality after learning about the various strengths they possess which they never knew were there.

Understanding our personality type, especially in this age, is imperative. There are lots of jobs that require a degree of a blend of one or two personalities. Giving this job to people lacking the necessary personality traits can result in disaster. For example, there are people whose strength is based on analytical skills. They are more effective in working alone and with data, putting these people in data entry jobs will result in impressive results, but simply giving them a job that requires interaction with people will probably produce a depressing result.

In this article, we are going to focus on how knowing your personality type can help you to succeed in your business. We have also taken the time to briefly discuss the various personality types so that you can easily determine yours.

The importance of knowing your personality type

You learn that people are not wrong but different

If anything can help you access the reason why people behave and think the way they do, then it is their personality type. Understanding a person’s personality type can help you understand how they reason and why their reasoning often doesn’t seem to align with yours – if you are both of different personality types, of course.

A woman once complained about her husband’s poor conflict resolution skills. This often results in lots of problems between her and her husband. She always thought he was doing everything wrong and she blamed him. After studying the different personality types, this was what she had to say “When I finally figured out his personality type, I realised that his behaviour was the textbook for his personality type – and so was mine”. After this realisation, it became easier for them to work through every conflict because they both understood that each was right in their own way, but became wrong in their preferences due to the differences in their personality.

In the workplace, you will meet people of different personalities, and during meetings, each are expected to give their own opinions. By understanding personality type, you will gain an insight into why the opinions are different and realise that they are actually not wrong but following what their personality dictates. Personality type will make some people not want to perform helpful tasks. Extroverts who like to interact with other people will find it difficult and will become reluctant in performing an analytical job that requires working alone. This is not laziness. This is the personality type dictating it. If issues about such jobs are discussed in the meeting, an extrovert will probably oppose it and might do so loudly. An introvert who loves to work alone will suddenly start skipping jobs when given a job that requires interaction with people. Understanding personality types helps you learn the reason why people behave the way they do, why they reason differently and why they are not wrong.

You can better manage people

There are some whose personality type finds more strengths in walking alone. They don’t contribute much in groups or in meetings. They are quiet and often viewed as aloof or disengaged. You may think this group of people are odd, but they are not. That is their personality type. This type will keep their opinions to themselves unless called upon to give it. You can make them more productive by giving them solo assignments to achieve remarkable success because that is where the energy of their personality lies. Some managers have erroneously failed in their projects by trying to force this set of people into working with a team and this can end in problems.

There are others in the workplace who are very good at chit chat. They love to communicate and lead the team. They are very happy in meeting new people and making new friends. This type of person should be on your sales team if you want to achieve success. They are excellent at networking and negotiation.

Some other personality types prefer to only come to conclusions when there’s sufficient information to support it. They pay close attention to little details. This type of personality will be very effective in your accounting teams.

By understanding the various personality types, you can better manage people with available resources to give better results.

You know your strengths and weaknesses

Understanding your personality type puts your strengths and weaknesses before you. You know what you can do and what you cannot do. You understand why you behave the way that you do. It gives you an idea of what you want and don’t want in life.

By carefully analysing your personality type, you can easily realise your hidden strengths and start using them to achieve success. You can learn about your weaknesses and how you can complement it with others in your team.

By studying your personality type, you can decide on the best career from which you can achieve success or the business type to venture into.

It helps you hire employees that are really needed

After understanding your personality type, you see lots of weaknesses in yourself as well as strengths. While you can hone your discovered strengths to improve outputs, you might want to consider hiring an employee that complements your weaknesses. By doing this, you can work with someone who likes doing the tasks you may not be as good at and you may enjoy the jobs that they are naturally not as comfortable with. This will invariably help you to maximise your chances of success.

It reveals the best type of work environment for you

Certain personality types function best in certain work environments. If you are an introvert, you will function more in a work environment with fewer people. By understanding your personality type, you will learn if certain jobs are for you or not. It will be very hard for an introvert to become a successful salesperson since they may lack good communication skills and could find it difficult to network. In the same vein, an extrovert may find it hard to become successful in a data analysis based job since this requires working alone, which the extrovert would not enjoy as much.

It will help you narrow down your field

Some personality types are more creative than others. Some love to lead. Others love interacting with and meeting new people. Others prefer to work alone and dread working in groups or meeting new people.

Knowing your personality type can help narrow down your career field and help you choose the one that best suits you. For example, as an introvert, you probably wouldn’t want to consider a commercial career as a salesperson that requires lots of communication and meeting new people, as well as networking. You would probably prefer a field that requires you to work alone. By understanding your personality type, you narrow down your career field and learn how to excel in your chosen profession.

Help you relate better with your clients

By understanding the different personalities, you get an insight into what people want and how they can be pushed to satisfy this want. You learn about the subjects they like to discuss and what they love to do in their spare time. This is great for business. It can help you tailor your sales process to meet the requirements of each personality. There are some personalities who don’t like a pushy salesperson and there are some who need to be gently pushed to make a decision.

It can help to reassure you that you are not unusual

Introverts are the most susceptible to be treated as a bit strange. Since they often prefer to be in their own thoughts rather than being in their environment, some people may make them feel that they are different. Because introverts contribute less to conversations and prefer to keep to themselves while in a group, some people may perceive this as being aloof and disengaged. Because of this negative perception, they start treating the introvert in negative ways, which, in turn, can make the introvert feel out of place.

By understanding your personality type, you will realise that you are not strange in any way. This can help you to become happier with your personality. Try figuring out other people’s personality so that you can also understand them better and relate with them. By understanding their personality, you can easily draw them closer to yourself and establish relationships that will be beneficial to your business.

A brief overview of the various personality types

There are lots of personality type theories out there, but the most popular one is the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. According to the Myers-Briggs theory, there are 16 personalities, which are acquired from the permutations of 4 different categories. These 4 categories are as follows:

  1. Energy Style: Introversion (I) – focus on the inner world; Extroversion (E) focus on outer world
  2. Thinking Style: Sensors (S) focus on basic information as it is received; Intuition (N) adding meaning to information received.
  3. Value Styles: Feelers (F) – preferences for people and circumstances; Thinkers (T) -preferences for logic in decision making
  4. Lifestyle: Judgers (J) – preferences for success in decision making; Perceivers (P) – preferences for being open to new ideas.

These are the four categories from which the 16 Myers-Briggs personality types are formed. Each of the sixteen personalities is a blend of the four categories. For example, one of the personality blends is ISFJ. This is a blend of Introversion, Sensor, Feeler and Judger. People with this personality type are naturally warm and sympathetic. They care a lot about children and people who are suffering. But they are also very detailed, organised and thorough. Because they care a lot about people, you will often find this person in professional health care services. Since they are detail oriented, they can also perform the task of bookkeeping. Another example is ENFJ. This is a blend of Extroversion, Intuition, Feeling and Judger. People with this personality type are passionate and charismatic. They are born leaders since they have strong humanitarian values and perform best in positions that allow them to provide support for others. They are sociable, warm, imaginative and empathetic. They love working with people and are great communicators. They perform well as counsellors, teachers, non-profit directors and religious leaders.

From the above example, you can make permutations of the 4 personality categories to give you sixteen different personalities.

Various studies published about personality types show that no human is of one particular personality type, but rather a blend of two or even more. Though a personality trait will be dominant in any human, there will be traces of other personality colouring the person’s dominant personality type.

Regardless of your personality type, having an understanding about it will give you an idea of your strengths and weaknesses and how to use the strengths to overshadow your weaknesses. You possess far more character strengths than you are aware of. We tend to focus more on our weaknesses, so we know little about our strengths. By understanding your personality type, you will discover more about your strengths and how to use them to excel in your career. Not all of us can work with detailed spreadsheets and, in the same vein, not all of us can express our inner thoughts through creativity. The various personalities have limitations and having this simple understanding can help you to be outstanding at work.




Looking to improve your Expertise in Communication? Effective Questioning and Listening Skills can help you develop Empathy and Understanding

‘Judge a man by his questions not by his answers’ Voltaire

Questioning and listening skills are the foundation of effective communication. We rarely learn anything when we speak, but we learn a lot when we listen. Decision making, problem solving, learning, study, research and communication are processes that can be done efficiently when backed by top-notch questioning and listening skills. Asking the right questions results in obtaining relevant and correct information. Listening with attention and intent helps us learn. Most of us are endowed with a tendency to listen only with a view to reply when it’s our turn to speak. We need to be able to focus our attention on the other person’s conversation and words, tone and body language so that we understand them completely.

Most of us start out with insatiable toddler curiosity about the world around us. But as we grow up, we lose this thirst for knowledge somewhere along the way. We feel reluctant, embarrassed or even lazy to ask questions. The data that we glean as a result of questioning determines the conclusions, ideas and impressions that we come away with. If these are erroneous (and they will be if our questions are wrong to begin with), we cannot make the right decisions because we have not obtained the information that we were looking for. Framing questions and asking them in the right sequence, etc. (once we’ve obtained a greater understanding) play a crucial part in the process of communication and minimising conflict and confusion.

How to Ask the Right Questions

We ask questions every day and it can be described as a cornerstone of good living and effective learning. We ask questions of our partner, children, at the grocery shop and at work, and questions help us define problems and look for solutions. Communication becomes a more proactive, productive and spontaneous process. Whatever position you hold in an organisation or whatever your occupation, asking questions helps you obtain clarity about people, situations and things in general. In fact, we can say that we may never understand or know about things unless we ask the right questions.

Let’s seek to understand the many benefits of asking questions:

  1. Questions help clarify thoughts. It is much better (and safer) to ask questions than to harbour erroneous assumptions.
  2. Questions help to elicit interest and engage people in the conversation. In fact, many people won’t talk to you unless you ask questions. This is because questions demonstrate interest in other people and their concerns.
  3. Questioning helps enhance knowledge and improves understanding. It would be fair to assume that if you don’t know something, you haven’t asked information about it.
  4. You can build trust and enhance communication through questioning because the process involves feedback and is a two-way process.
  5. Questions are an excellent way to sift through information. You will gain access to useful as well as irrelevant information and this is a good way to separate the wheat from the chaff.
  6. Better quality of information gained through questioning helps you become a better decision-maker.
  7. Asking questions at the right time helps reduce wastage of time and resources due to confusion or meaningless information.
  8. Prejudices and pre-conceived opinions are often reduced as a result of questioning. Wrong notions and myths are dispelled and we benefit from the clarity which results from transparent communication.
  9. Confident people do not hesitate to ask questions. Asking questions helps boosts self-confidence and enhances assertiveness.
  10. Asking questions illuminates direction of thought and consequently clarifies the action that we should take. Since we have obtained correct information and dispelled misconceptions about people, we are in a position to make informed decisions.

How to Ask the Right Questions

  • Avoid rhetorical or vague questions as the answers are likely to be correspondingly vague or nebulous too. They do not tend to elicit specific responses.
  • Keep your tone friendly and interested, body language and nonverbal cues can make a person feel appreciated and acknowledged. Poor body language and an aggressive tone can intimidate the other person and reduce the likelihood of obtaining honest feedback.
  • Ask open-ended questions that give the respondent the space to answer in the way he or she wants. Open-ended questions tend to encourage detailed responses and they also make the respondent comfortable. Binary questions (questions that can allow only a yes/no type of response), on the other hand, trap the respondent and may elicit forced replies.
  • If you are asking questions in a tense situation, give the respondent time to answer so that they are able to focus and concentrate on answering correctly. In stressful situations, people tend to experience nervousness and their answers may not provide the correct information. Ask questions that dig deeper and encourages the respondent to ponder over the information that they have given you.

For example, if your colleague says that she finds someone difficult to work with, you may consider asking why she thinks that way.

  • Phrasing in an overly direct manner may sometimes fluster the respondent so soften the approach. For example, instead of asking, ‘Should we offer 10% or 15% discount for client X?’ you could try asking, ‘What do you think will be an appropriate level of discount for client X?’
  • Ensure that you leave gaps between questions to make it sound less like an interrogation. Even during periods of silence, communication is active and a restful breather will give both a chance to relax.
  • Phrase your question in a way that makes it very clear what you want the answer to be. Sometimes, you may be seeking only facts. For example, you may ask, ‘How much tax did we pay last quarter?’. At other times you may be seeking opinion, for example, you may want to know, ‘What do you think of our new logo?’, hence, you may need to be sure if you want a fact, an opinion or a well-reasoned judgement for an answer.
  • Avoid interrupting the other person because this will disrupt their train of thought and will redirect the conversation your way.

Effective questioning is a precursor to good listening skills.

Listening Skills

‘Most of us listen with an intention to reply and not with the intent to understand’ Stephen Covey

Listening and hearing is very different; while hearing is a physical ability, listening is defined as a skill because it involves understanding what is being heard. The ability to listen helps you establish healthy rapports with your colleagues, subordinates, clients and family members. Being a good listener helps you become a better problem solver and your seniors are likely to consider you as a person who requires minimum follow-up. Active listening involves giving your full attention to the other person and what they are saying to you and valuing their communication. Valuing their words does not imply agreement; it simply means that you are acknowledging what they have to say. In fact, good listening skills are extremely valuable in situations where conflict resolution is needed because you make a sincere choice to understand the other party’s point of view.

The absence of listening skills often leads to increased instances of misconceptions, lack of understanding, lack of comprehension and prejudicial conclusions. Moreover, these undesirable consequences eventually lead to poor decision-making. Active listening promotes trust, helps build relationships and improves communication at home, in the workplace as well as in other situations. Not being listened to makes one feel ignored and inconsequential. Developing good listening skills takes a lot of consistent practice.

That’s not all.

Great listening skills also promote enhanced capacity for knowledge and make you a more capable person. This invaluable skill helps save marriages, friendships and careers. It also helps save time and money because you avoid wasting valuable effort in trying to undo confusion that arises out of misunderstandings (which in turn was created due to poor listening). A person who listens carefully has the potential to encourage and motivate others as well as enhance inclusion and commitment. Good listeners make excellent negotiators because they are able to capture useful information and make effective counter offers. Similarly, effective listening skills help you build friendly and trustworthy rapports with customers.

Each person speaks, listens and communicates at a different pace. If you happen to be one of those people who is an agile communicator, you have to slow down your pace to match that of a slower communicator. This can be particularly challenging if the other person is a slow, halting and long-winded speaker. But listening is a skill that is extremely important to learn and master.

The following useful tips can help you develop active listening skills:

  • Be conscious of your body language. Lean slightly towards the person that you’re talking to and avoid fidgeting. Make eye contact and place your palms facing upwards.
  • Just as you should be mindful of your own body language, also be mindful of the speaker’s nonverbal cues. Listen to tone, pitch, frequency of articulation, etc. Does the speaker sound depressed, stressed, disheartened or annoyed? A good listener looks beyond words and reads between the lines.
  • Mirror the other person’s gestures and tone of voice, etc; this helps build rapport and implies a sharing of ideas and attitudes. Look for the hidden meaning in a message because it’s very important to listen to what is not being said.
  • Please do not interrupt the other person as this sort of behaviour smacks of smugness and arrogance. Wait until he or she has finished what they want to say. Most of us only wait for our turn to speak. Listen with the intention of understanding.
  • Avoid filling in blanks in the conversation or making judgements based on half-information. Give the speaker your full attention.
  • Learn to be comfortable with silence although it may feel awkward at first. Most of us try to fill silences with our own conversation. Silences are often instrumental in bringing forth more information.
  • Stop checking your mobile device, Smartphones, etc. for messages. Stow away your devices and distractions and mentally screen out background noises and activity.
  • Think before you respond and avoid blurting out the first thing that pops into your mind. Learn to listen to your mind before you speak. Also avoid giving any sign that you are about to respond. This can include moving to the edge of the seat or pointing fingers.
  • If you end up speaking at the same time, request the other person to continue. Avoid finishing other people’s sentences. This way, you’ll end up following your train of thought rather than understand what the speaker is saying to you.
  • Use paraphrasing, repetition and reflection to ensure that you have understood what the speaker has to say.

The irony about being human is that we don’t always understand each other or communicate adequately. In fact, we could say that each one of us hears and understands differently. It’s time to reinvent yourself and become a child all over again and rediscover the joy of knowledge. It can be difficult to ask questions at times, but the consequences are likely to be much worse if you don’t ask questions. This often results in a lack of understanding, lack of access to important information or results in the harbouring of prejudicial views or misconceptions. Such adverse results impacts the quality of communication to a significant extent and you are likely to be severely hampered in your decision-making. Asking questions helps boost confidence, clarifies thinking, strengthens relationships, reduces prejudices and helps build trust between people. We become better thinkers and decision-makers in the process.

Right from our childhood, we are trained to answer and respond and are often rewarded for exceptional answering. This social conditioning often prevents us from perceiving the crucial importance of asking questions. Performance is often described as the ability to find solutions and solve problems – even when those problems are the wrong ones to solve. Detailed questions may not sound as exciting as brilliant answers but they often lead to breakthroughs in business and career success. People appreciate being valued, respected and important.

Similarly, effective questioning skills should be followed up by active listening skills. After all, we have asked questions so that we are able to elicit a proper answer. Good listening skills have the potential to boost communication skills, establish empathy and make better decisions. There is reduced likelihood of misunderstanding and conflict because you have paid full attention to the conversation, words, nonverbal cues and body language. Active listening can help you understand others’ perspectives and hence become a much better problem-solver. You will also be effective at defusing potentially stressful situations because you are more open to others’ opinions and experiences.




How to Develop Assertiveness Skills

‘There is nobody better than you and you are not better than anybody’

Being assertive refers to the ability to be self-confident without being aggressive. Assertiveness is a positive quality that helps enhance personal as well as professional relationships. An assertive person is able to express their feelings openly and clearly while respecting the feelings of other people at the same time. Assertiveness arises out of confidence in your own abilities and in yourself as an individual. The quality helps you state your feelings, position and claims in a calm and confident manner. Moreover, assertiveness is an excellent tool that helps improve your relationship with others because you have improved your relationship with yourself. Actually, assertiveness can be described as a way of life rather than simply an attribute and it requires time and patience to develop.

As you decide to develop assertiveness skills, your relationships may undergo changes because whilst most people will accept the new you, some may not. Old behaviour and relationship patterns tend to be tenacious and you will need to practise assertiveness on a consistent basis to experience the benefits. However, assertiveness is one of the most useful skills that you could develop because it will stand you in good stead in the workplace, at home and indeed in any situation at all.

Why should you want to develop Assertiveness Skills?

The most important reason to develop assertiveness is to learn to operate from a position of respect and equality. You start by respecting your own beliefs, attitudes and values and consequently respect others’ beliefs, attitudes and values too. By treating yourself and others on an equal footing, you begin to gain important insights into relationships, situations and the general way in which the world works. Moreover, you are able to do all this without feeling overwhelmed and stressed. Let’s read on and understand why you should learn to be assertive in the first place.

Enhanced and Healthier Self-Image

The word ‘self-image’ refers to the way you perceive yourself. This is crucial because the way we perceive ourselves makes a deep impact on the way we perceive others. A negative self-image manifests itself in different ways. We may suffer from low confidence and self-esteem and display erratic behaviour patterns. Assertiveness involves creating a realistic self-image where we do not see ourselves as better than others or others as better than ourselves. Our inner sense of self-worth accepts the fact that we are of equal value to others and that our preferences may not always be met. Similarly, you appreciate that others’ preferences may not be met.

You are able to understand others Better (Improved Empathy) and Learn to Say No

We are able to understand that each person has their own set of objectives and needs and we do not perceive others as a threat. You are able to perceive others in a more realistic context and realise that you have to work together for the greater benefit. We tend to see others as collaborators rather than as competitors. This is also a very helpful benefit while dealing with others. You learn to say no when you are unable to accede to someone’s request because you are no longer ridden by guilt. If they feel upset as a result of your response, you realise this is because they chose to feel upset about it and that this is not personally connected with you as a person.

Greater Self-Confidence and Self-Awareness

When you become a more assertive person, you understand that you are entitled to your opinion and you have a right to express that opinion. As a result, you feel comfortable expressing your opinions, even if you are aware that they may not be accepted or well-received. This attitude helps build confidence because you don’t spend time wishing that you had said something else – something that pleased people as opposed to your real feelings. We gradually become more aware of who we really are as people and our values and belief systems become clearer to us. It leads to an evolved sense of self-awareness and allows you to live and let live in the true sense. You are comfortable with holding your views, likes and dislikes and respecting other people’s preferences at the same time.

Issues get Resolved Faster and with more Clarity

When you choose to be assertive, you express exactly what you want which minimises the likelihood of the issue lingering on and rearing its head repeatedly. Most misunderstandings in communication occur when we fail to express what we want or express ourselves ambiguously. Assertiveness ensures that problems and issues get solved then and there without leading to wastage of time and energy. Passive people allow situations to build-up and endlessly ruminate over what they said and how they said it. Aggressive people constantly view others as a threat, but assertive people free up a lot of mental energy for other things.

Difference between Aggressive and Assertive Behaviour

There is a distinct and crucial difference between assertive and aggressive behaviour. Aggression is born of insecurity and fear while assertiveness stems from confidence and assurance. While passive people believe that they should serve others, aggressive people believe that others should serve them. Assertive people, on the other hand, believe that everyone should support each other. Aggressive people perceive others are threats and competitors and see every situation as a contest. Assertive people, on the other hand, are comfortable with a fair exchange of ideas and operate from a position of high self-esteem and self-awareness.

People who are assertive are never interested or motivated to decrease the self-esteem of others. Aggressiveness is aimed at reducing the self-esteem of others.

How to develop Assertiveness

  1. Personal space: Practise giving yourself personal space and do not be embarrassed about doing it. The first lesson on becoming assertive is to respect boundaries and limits. If you feel that someone is invading your space, step back and give yourself room. Setting healthy limits is an important prerequisite to building healthy relationships.
  2. Learn to say no with dignity, politeness and firmness. This is one of the most important things that non-assertive people find difficult to do. Saying ‘no’ is associated with impoliteness or fear of offending the requester. However, learning to say ‘no’ is the first step towards defining who you are and what you are willing or unwilling to do. You need not say no in a rude manner but you should definitely consider saying it with firmness. Here are some tips to say no at the right time and in the correct way:
  • Don’t wait until you’re frustrated with over-the-top and frequent requests as the ill feelings will fester for longer and make it difficult to be calm.
  • If someone (even if that person is a friend or colleague) cannot accept a ‘no’ then accept that it’s their problem and not yours.
  • Think about the reasons why you want to say no before you say it. Each case is different, so mull over your decision and don’t regret it once you decide; saying no invariably has its ramifications.
  • It’s not necessary to say ‘no’ in a harsh or rude way; you can always express it in civilised and well-bred language. But do not be ambiguous in your message.
  1. Detachment: It helps to listen to people, but simply allow comments to ride over you without getting involved in them. For example, you could respond to a remark by saying, ‘Yes, I’ve eaten too much over Christmas and have put on weight’. This would count as assertiveness rather than brooding over the remark and taking offence and then becoming defensive in the process.
  2. Body language: This is a body language tip that helps increase assertiveness in an effective manner. Make eye contact with the person(s) that you’re speaking to and avoid looking down, away or all around the room. Be careful not to stare the other person down because this may translate itself as aggressiveness. You may also wish to consider standing straight, keeping your head high and wearing a smile. Slouching, slinking or shuffling along is often perceived as signs of passiveness or passive-aggressive behaviour.
  3. Reprogram internal chatter: The way we talk to ourselves is extremely important. Guilt feelings, for example, can severely hamper efforts to be assertive. If refusing to give money to your perennially broke friend makes you unhappy, you need to consciously replace the negative thought with a positive mantra. Think, for example, that you deserve to be financially stable. Letting go of guilt is one of the first key steps towards developing assertiveness.
  4. Do not avoid uncomfortable subjects or situations: When our assertiveness skills are in their emerging stage, we tend to shun difficult situations or conversations because we are nervous or fearful about the outcome. The outcomes may involve losing a relationship or a friendship. As you decide to become assertive, you learn that facing situations or having that difficult conversation makes it easier to resolve our emotions and move on. Avoidance tactics will only suggest manipulation and aggravate the situation.
  5. Express your feelings and emotions clearly: Most of us get flustered because we react instead of letting the other person know how we feel. Assertiveness skills involve appreciating the fact that nobody can guess how we feel. Take a few deep breaths and choose clear words to articulate what is going in your mind. Lack of assertiveness often means that we manifest our feelings in other ways which may send confusing signals to the recipient.

The following techniques explain how you can be more assertive at work:

  • Try to recognise your real worth and silence internal criticism. Focus on the good things that you have been able to achieve.
  • Read up office manuals and become familiar with the ethical and legal boundaries of what is acceptable. Knowledge can empower you to ask for what you need and it helps to know your rights by law.
  • Please respect your limitations with regard to quantity of work; do not take home armfuls of reports to complete when you know it’s going to exhaust and drain you. Being resentful and negative will not help. Use assertiveness to articulate your feelings to your boss or manager.
  • Focus on growing as a professional and as a person: read books, manuals and periodicals and consider taking extra classes to pursue your goals. This will help build confidence because you are aware that you are living your life as you want to. Self-confidence will also prevent you from perceiving others as competitors or threats.
  • Rehearse and practice saying statements that you normally find difficult to express. For example, you may wish to practice saying, ‘No, I am afraid that I can’t do the work over the weekend because I plan to spend it with my children.’

Most of us do not demonstrate assertiveness because we are afraid of the consequences or because of our inner belief systems. For example, being nice (to us) may mean agreeing with or saying yes to everyone. We may experience rejection, fear, conflict or be afraid of losing relationships. To be honest, as women, many of us may have been raised to agree with people and go along with the flow rather than express your feelings or opinions. What we’re looking to do is introduce a major change in our way of thinking. We do not spend our lives being a mirror for other people’s objectives, preferences and beliefs.

Choosing to become assertive is a major decision and takes a lot of time and effort. Aggressive people tend to snap outwardly and leave behind unresolved situations that take time and energy to repair. Passive people, on the other hand, snap inwardly and turn their negativity onto themselves and experience stress-related ailments in the process. Assertive people do not snap because they express their feelings to others and are comfortable doing so. You may find that as you become an assertive person, you may lose some people in your life. They may not be able to accept the new you. But then, you may wish to give due consideration to the fact that these may not be the type of people that you want in your life anyway. Assertiveness gives you the mental clarity to recognise what you need.

Assertiveness is an extremely useful communication skill that helps you deal with awkward situations in the workplace. You learn to express your point of view without belittling others.




Motivational Twitter and YouTube Accounts You Should Be Following

Twitter and YouTube have become some of the most popular social media websites in recent years. Political leaders, worldwide celebrities, news/media corporations, businesses and even the common person all use these accounts as a means to keep up with what is going on in the world and within their circle of influence.

Since they offer a worldwide platform to anybody, many people use them as a means of sharing ideas and new ways of thinking. As a result, motivational accounts have become popular for people to follow.

If you are already on your phone to use twitter or view videos, odds are high that there are better things you can be doing in most circumstances. Since you enjoy using these sites already, you can easily turn this habit of procrastination into something that will help you in your daily life. For your reference, we have carefully picked some twitter and YouTube accounts which are great to follow for daily motivation. Whether you are looking for a positive dose of self-help, career guidance, inspirational quotes or hearing from influential thinkers, there are several accounts you should be following.

Twitter Accounts to Follow

@AliBrown

Ali Brown has been described by Business News Daily to be the “entrepreneurial guru for women” and posts almost daily on strategies to becoming the best person you can be. Whether it be how you receive your income, what you are doing for work, or strategies for becoming greater, Ali Brown is one of the leading personalities to stay in touch with for female entrepreneurs who need a little bit of motivation. If you find yourself struggling at work or with what you do for a living, you need to follow Ali Brown.

Ali Brown constantly features new success stories and personalities on your twitter page. You might find interviews with budding entrepreneurs and rising stars in the world’s workforce. Ali Brown has a regular radio show which you can access via her twitter page and constantly shares some of the most inspirational moments and ideas described on the show later on twitter. If the reason you are looking for some motivation revolves around your finances, Ali Brown is a great person to learn from.

@SirKenRobinson

Sir Ken Robinson runs one the UK’s leading motivational twitter pages and consistently offers positive content that will help you through a bad day. Robinson is both an author and experienced TED speaker and has a worldwide audience who likes to keep up with his latest updates. The content he posts is a balance between inspirational quotes, promotion of his own books and social change efforts. If you want to hear from one of the world’s positive personalities, you might enjoy hearing from Sir Ken Robinson on twitter.

Although Robinson likely desires people to purchase his books so that you can hear his ideas in greater detail, many of the positive messages he tweets echoes many of the same thoughts that he condones in his writing. Touching upon a wide array of subjects, including social change, positive thinking and politics, Ken Robinson posts motivational content every day for people who need the extra inspiration. If you want an extra twitter page to follow that will keep you both motivated and informed, this should be one of your top options.

@FamousWomen

This twitter account features content which is engaging and motivational geared towards mums and independent women who enjoy hearing the perspective of famous influential women. Featuring constant quotes and perspectives of inspirational women from history, this is a great twitter account to follow if you enjoy hearing how strong and confident women in history responded or reacted to a popular social issue. Although this is the intention of the page itself, there is also consistent posts that do not necessarily quote a woman from history.

Many of the posts feature content that is simply uplifting and adapted from popular quotes without a clear author. As a result, although the content is geared towards illustrating motivational quotes throughout history, the audience of this page finds positive messages that can help them retain a healthy mindset all day long. No matter what your personal circumstances are, you should consider following this page to add some more positivity into your life.

@SheNegotiates

If you are a business-minded person who wants to get more out of their professional life, She Negotiates is one of the most uplifting rising stars in the twitter world. Featuring content that helps you to feel confident enough in your abilities to negotiate and reach professional conclusions that you desire, this is a great twitter page for becoming a stronger person. Often, people can be so nice that they let others stomp all over them. If you are one of these people, She Negotiates is a great page for helping you become better with your rhetorical and negotiation skills.

When you think about it, much of the daily decisions we make in our family and work lives are the result of negotiation between two or more parties. In the end, the side with the best ideas and logic behind them are normally the ones who get their way. If you find yourself constantly in a position where you are left out of the diplomacy room, for example, She Negotiates is a great page to follow and help make you confident enough to stand up for yourself in a positive and influential manner.

@MotivateN0w

Daily Motivation (@MotivateN0w) has one purpose on its page, to inspire others and help them get through their daily lives. As the name of the page implies, each of the posts on this account is gearing at motivating you to be happier now. Most of the content that you will see on this page are either quotes, memes or inspiring artwork. If you are somebody who would rather see a positive message than learning more about the person behind the content, this is one of the most positive twitter pages you will come by. Featuring content that is updated more than once daily, this is a consistent hub of motivational content to help you through your daily routine.

Many of the posts on this page feature simple statements that help you keep your current circumstances in check, and realise that a happier mindset is always within your grasp.

Since the entire purpose of the page is to spread positive inspirational messages, it is hard to be let-down by this page. Although you might not be inspired by every single post on this page, there are consistent gems that you will want to keep in mind.

YouTube Accounts to Follow

As much as we might wish otherwise, every day is not perfect. On days that we don’t feel on top of our commitments, it can be refreshing to hear positive, motivational messages from others. After all, there isn’t a price tag that comes with a little bit of positivity. If you are looking for some extra motivation, we have carefully hand-picked YouTube channels for you to visit.

TEDx Talks

Odds are high that you have already heard of Ted Talks at some point in recent times. TEDx Talks has risen to become one of the world’s leading platforms for facilitating social change since its launch in 2006. Leading thinkers from all across the paradigm of different religious and political beliefs have all had the opportunity to take the podium and share their ideas for the future. There are few topics that are off-limits for TEDx Talks, as they will often speak about topics which are otherwise controversial for daily conversation. Since the topics are normally breaking, motivational, and positive, many people choose to watch a TEDx Talk whenever they need some inspiration for the day.

Anybody who wants to find the best motivational YouTube channel which is usually family-friendly, diverse in its content, and great for pulling yourself out of a rut and living a great day should consider watching some TEDx Talks. Since there is almost always a new speaker, there are a wide variety of different perspectives that are shared on the Ted platform. Many motivational speakers today would consider it an honour and a privilege to even be able to make a TEDx Talk video themselves. As a result, this is easily one of the best YouTube channels for finding some motivation.

Mari Forleo

Mari Forleo is a down-to-Earth and intelligent YouTube channel which helps its viewers to see through the barriers that lead to developing a negative mindset and lifestyle. With her bright personality and peculiar intelligence, Marie is a leading female self-help specialist who features some of the world’s leading thinkers and authors on her channel. When she isn’t interviewing popular figures, she makes her videos to touch upon popular inhibitions to happiness, such as fear, courage, negative thinking, a great career, and relationship issues. If you want to hear a consistently positive message that you can take with you to work or on your workouts, this is one of the best YouTube channels to start watching.

Whenever she can’t say it best herself, Mari recruits popular figures to share the message themselves. This marketing strategy has helped her to have nearly 500k subscribers and one of the most powerful and influential platforms on YouTube for self-help and motivation. Since there are a wide-variety of beneficial topics, influential figures, and consistent content, many people will choose to watch Marie Forleo’s MarieTV over another popular programming  option such as news and movies.  Next time you need a healthy dose of inspiration, keep the news off and turn on a positive figure such as Mori Forleo.

Video Advice

Video Advice is a great YouTube channel to follow if you want to receive some motivation on a hard day. Featuring an array of motivational content which touches upon a wide range of subjects such as self-motivation and accomplishing new goals at a new phase of life, this channel features a diverse range of content that will be beneficial to any subscriber that simply needs some motivation to keep going. This is especially a great channel for anyone who likes hearing from other people who are considerably successful and simply want to share their life’s experiences. These qualities are what make this channel a great source of inspiration for viewers of all types.

With over 400k subscribers and new content that is added more than once a week, this is a consistent hub of positive inspiration for many already. Since this channel has a diverse array of content which has been pointed out by both women and men of all ages to be a source of consistent motivation, this viral YouTube channel has proved itself as being a source of routine motivation for many people already. Anybody who finds themselves on a bad day might notice a quick turn-a-round after watching this channel for a while.




Stressed over the Prospect of Handling Impossible Individuals? Discover the Best Strategies to Deal with Difficult People

Difficult people can be a part of our lives in several forms; they could be family members, spouses, co-workers, bosses or acquaintances. Simply having a conversation with them can prove to be a dramatic and stressful experience that leaves us feeling drained and overwhelmed. Some people can be so prickly, aggressive and challenging to handle that you may be tempted to simply walk away from the conversation. Alternately, we may be inclined to complain to friends about the thorny personality, but these options do not always represent lasting solutions. For example, you may work under a difficult boss and it may not be practical to walk away from him or her. Hence, it’s better to use effective techniques that allow you to deal with such individuals while keeping your serenity intact at the same time.

The secret often lies in taking responsibility for our own reactions and emotions arising from the interaction. At the end of the day, dealing with a difficult boss or co-worker depends on our confidence, esteem and communication abilities. However, dealing with people who are considered generally difficult by most is easier than dealing with someone who displays animosity specifically towards you. This article will explain useful strategies that help you deal with difficult people in an effective manner to preserve your emotional balance and confidence at the same time. Dealing with unreasonable people can be a frustrating, annoying, exasperating and, at times, even frightening experience.

Let’s begin by defining what we mean by a difficult person.

The broad category could include those who will not let you speak a word in the conversation, others who refuse to honour commitments, still others who intimidate you and so on; they come in every conceivable variety. From the person who cuts in front of you in the traffic to the boss who does everything they can to make your life a living hell; they all fall under the category of difficult people and each one of us has had run-ins with them at some point in our lives. Overall, these are generally people who compete for privilege and power, as well as the spotlight. They may also be those who enjoy putting others down in order to feel better about themselves. We will examine different type of difficult people, explain how to handle each type and also describe some excellent general tips that help you deal with difficult people.

Controlling Personalities

Controlling personalities are driven by the need to constantly criticise others and prove themselves right. They will invariably furnish excuses for their own mistakes and will exhibit a strong propensity to micro-manage every task. Proving by rational argument that you are right will not work because they will always find something to criticise and will not back down. The best way to handle a controller is to refuse to be intimidated and simply say that you have done a good job and stand up for yourself. Avoid giving excuses or mollifying them and above all, avoid playing the blame game with them.

Competing personalities

Competing personalities perceive every situation as a contest of sorts in which they have to win, no matter what. They are often encouraged by weakness as they see this as a ‘win’. The best way to deal with competitors is to refrain from showing emotion (including exasperation, exhaustion or irritation). For example, instead of saying that you are feeling exhausted, choose to suggest that you will get back to them the next day when you feel fresh. Competing personalities are also prone to jealousy when they see you praised or commended. Similarly, they will also pitch in with their bit (about them) whenever you want to say something. Such people usually behave in a competitive manner due to a sense of insecurity, which is why they feel the need to constantly prove themselves. Also remember that just because they think they’re better than you does not mean it is true. Simply refuse to play the game, concentrate on your work and avoid trigger situations. If you feel, for example, that the conversation is veering towards competitiveness, change the subject. Diversify your group at work so that you have other people to talk to.

Clingy or Excessively Needy Personality

On the surface, this may not sound like a difficult personality, but constantly having to reassure a co-worker or colleague can be exhausting and tedious. Such personalities will usually take a mile if you offer an inch. Confrontation will simply end up hurting their feelings and make it awkward to work together. In such situations, you can try helping them out sometimes but offering alternatives at other times. For example, you can try saying, “I don’t have time to help you complete your report, but maybe you can try working on it at your house”. Offer an independent option that does not involve sponging off your time or energy.

As a busy mum at work, you will need time and energy to deal with other chores once you return home so it’s better to draw subtle boundaries where needy colleagues are concerned. Avoid making a habit of offering assistance every time they ask for it. Another subtle tactic is to make yourself less available to the clingy character. You can always give work as a reason. If all else fails, sit them down and gently (but firmly) explain that you simply do not have the extra time to keep helping them out as you have your own responsibilities to deal with.

Chronic complainers

It can prove to be extremely annoying to have someone grumbling and complaining in your ear all the time. Chronic complainers are not really negative people (we will discuss negative people in the next section), but they view the world and all the events happening to them as negative. Remember that complainers are usually looking for a place to vent their feelings and simply nodding will help a lot. Do not roll your eyes or get tempted to check your text messages or proffer solutions (this will prolong the conversation). Show that you have been listening and acknowledge the fact without getting deep into the conversation. Validation, redirection and sympathy will usually soothe them and get them going on their way. Please remember that validation is not the same as placation at all and mollifying them will only end up fuelling their bitterness.

For example, you could try saying, “It must be very difficult to have to deal with that malfunctioning printer again. We’d better get back to completing the presentation for ABC Company as it needs to be completed by tomorrow”.

Listen to their problem and ask them how they intend to resolve it. This will help deflect their thoughts in the direction of searching for a solution.

Aggressive Personalities

Aggressive personalities can come across as dominating, abusive, confrontational, hostile or even intimidating. Simply put, such people try to stand tall by cutting off the heads of others. Although it may seem challenging at first, keep your calm and maintain composure. The aggressive person wants you to lose emotional balance so that they can take advantage of your weakness (as they see it). De-personalise the situation in your mind because the things that they say are not directed at you, the words are an extension of their personalities. By reducing personalisation, we are able to distance ourselves mentally and avoid overreaction. You can also consider physically distancing yourself from such people and minimising engagement. Keep your questions probing and constructive and shift the onus back to the aggressor.

For example:

Aggressor: You’re so stupid.

You: If you’re going to be disrespectful to me, I am going to walk away. Are you sure that this is what you want?

Another way to deal with an aggressive personality is to change the topic when you notice that the conversation is threatening to become intense. This helps deflect their attention and it also puts you in charge of the flow of conversation.

General Tips and Techniques to Deal with Difficult People

  • Listen quietly: people want to be acknowledged or heard and listening helps them feel validated. With unreasonable people, we may be thinking of what we want to say next, but a little patience can go a long way. Most people will lose steam in less than five minutes.
  • Focus on your breathing and stay calm. This may seem challenging to do at first and you may be tempted to respond strongly, but try to avoid giving in to the impulse. Like the old cliché, counting up to 10 helps control disproportionate reactions. You will find that with consistent practice, this habit will begin to come naturally to you.
  • Although you may feel that the temptation is severe, avoid saying things that you will regret. The conversation is likely to degenerate into a shouting match and will do nothing to resolve basic issues. Ugly confrontation is more likely to worsen the situation and make workplace situations awkward. Even if we lose our cool and shout back, this is our choice. After all, our reactions lie under our control.
  • Look for the hidden emotions and needs of the difficult person. Most difficult people have a strong underlying reason for their behaviours. The causes may boil down to insecurity, need for attention or craving for approval and so on. Try to identify the hidden inner need of the person.
  • While humour is a useful tool in some situations, it can be tricky to use in others. Humour or even smiling may backfire and come across as mocking or sarcastic. Make sure you understand the situation before infusing humour.
  • Stop insisting on compliance from the other person to calm down or stay quiet – this will only serve to make them more irate than before. Ask them what the problem is and ask them to vent. Most people look for an outlet to express their feelings.
  • Pay special attention to the tone of your voice. Raised or shrill voices imply heightened emotion and shouting is usually associated with anger. Try to speak in an even monotone, even though you are annoyed. Although this is easier said than done, it goes a long way in defusing a negative conversation.
  • If you find that the person is crossing limits and boundaries (this is especially relevant in cases of aggressive persons) or if the person is using abusive language, assert yourself and display confidence in your body language.
  • Remember that one size usually does not fit all situations. Use your knowledge of the person to decide on your response. The responses that would work for a complainer, for example, may not work for a complaining personality.
  • After a stressful encounter, take proactive steps to de-stress yourself. Talk to a friend, play with your child or pet or else, go for a run. Release pent-up emotions through physical activities.

Difficult people, situations and relationships exist in every workplace. You may suffer from working under a boss who belittles you at every opportunity, co-workers who form cliques and deliberately leave you out or colleagues who resent your presence and constantly undermine you. The emphasis should not be on changing the difficult person but on consciously monitoring your reactions and behaviour. How we react (rather than the actual difficult behaviour) decides our subsequent mood, feelings and thoughts. In certain cases, if nothing works, you may be obliged to resort to a confrontation to thrash things out. Angry confrontations can be draining so it’s a good idea to try other tactics first and to use them consistently. Most of the time, the situation will be resolved without any bones broken. Dysfunctional approaches can often result in workplace disasters and lead to devastating career consequences.

The important thing is that we must learn to deal with difficult people because one will meet them in every walk of life. If you leave the situation unaddressed, it will become progressively worse and prove more difficult to deal with. In fact, your emotions may then begin to fester to a point when you may find it impossible to go to work. Addressing the issues early on helps maintain objectivity and control; our reactions will be rational and calm. The truth is that most of us would tend to be shocked and embittered when faced with unprofessional and dramatic behaviour. It is a good idea to pause and understand what is happening around us. Else, failure to deal with difficult people may lead to constant conflict in the workplace and you may be perceived as a person who is unable to resolve your own problems. Learning to deal with difficult people can help de-escalate potentially explosive situations at work and resolve situations objectively.

It can take a lot of patience, control and integrity of character to avoid overreacting while dealing with difficult people. Give yourself credit every time you succeed in doing so.




Is your Body Language Reinforcing your Presence?

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pay people to do your homeworkBody language is a subtle and subconscious form of communication that drives the quality of our interactions in daily life. Not many people realise that our body language has a profound effect on our self-esteem, confidence and general feelings about ourselves. Understanding our own body language and the gestures of others helps us attain better control over our emotions, feelings and attitudes towards others. In fact, people who enjoy successful careers, run thriving businesses or savour satisfying personal relationships are all adept at reading signals and being mindful of the signals that they, in turn, send out. When body language is used consistently and in conjunction with other nonverbal cues, they can have a significant effect on the way we feel about ourselves and others. According to a popular study on body language conducted by Albert Mehrabian at UCLA University, body language and nonverbal communication contribute to about 55% of our communication with voice tone, etc. accounting for roughly 38%. Actual, spoken words contribute to only 7% of communication! In effect, people speak more with their bodies.

As a mother, body language is important on several counts. We need to use our own gestures and postures to communicate with our children, spouses, relatives and friends. Young children, as a matter of fact, are extremely intuitive at reading body language and will unconsciously react accordingly. By choosing to transmit the correct messages and understanding nonverbal cues, we can enjoy greater peace of mind in our daily lives. There are fewer chances of misunderstanding and miscommunication with people and consequently lesser chances of experiencing stress. Gaining insights into the secrets of body language has long-term, lasting effects on our lives. If you’re thinking of returning to work, using the right body language can help you create a killer first impression and help you bridge communication gaps across age groups, ethnicities and professions. Using suitable body language and targeted gestures can help accentuate our communication while minimising ambiguity. Our facial muscles, for example, are capable of showing as many as 10,000 expressions.

Men and women tend to differ in their expression as well as understanding of body language. For example, men prefer to be approached from the side while women like to be approached from the front. Similarly, men usually nod to indicate agreement while women nod to show interest in the conversation. Women’s voices also tend to become very high-pitched and squeaky under stress while men stay within a certain voice range. Very often, our body language may contradict our verbal communication and the recipient may be confused; this happens much more than we realise.

Body language can be subtle or blatant and can be consciously or unconsciously sent or received. Our responses and behaviours are largely driven by this subconscious communication and inner beliefs and attitudes will be clearly revealed.

Let us understand how body language helps us in various powerful ways:

Body language and attitude

Just like negative feelings such as anger, sadness or diffidence can affect the way we hold our heads or shoulders, the converse is also true. Changing our body language can send empowering messages to the brain. Head held up, making eye contact with people, walking with a spring in your step and smiling can help reinforce positive self-talk and, when we practise this regularly, we begin to believe in what we’re telling ourselves. People who use positive body language are perceived as more likeable, pleasant, confident, persuasive and more likely to attract friendships.

Body language has an impact on hormones.

As a matter of fact, empowering body language reduces cortisol (a stress-related hormone) and increases testosterone (women’s bodies also have testosterone), which is known to boost self-confidence. If you’re thinking of going back to work, it’s a good idea to practise some positive gestures and postures (we will discuss these later) to enhance clarity of thinking, boost decision-making and reduce nebulous thinking. The increased balance of hormones in turn helps you to keep your cool and function under pressure. These effects are not only applicable to an office environment, but also to home and children. A sick child, juggling chores and staying up all night can leave us feeling stressed and confused. Positive body language helps us relax and cope with work and domestic pressures better.

Improved Communication and Relationships

Conscious usage of body language and clear understanding of nonverbal cues help us forge more compassionate and empathetic connections with others. We are able to identify the behaviours that precipitate insecurity, fear and hostility in others. This is even more important because we are able to consciously avoid behaviours that send negative signals.

Career and Business Success

Whether you are looking to return to a career or start a business of your own, positive body language can help you feel more self-confident and assured. Your posture, tone of voice, gestures and manner of making eye contact can add depth and meaning to your verbal communication. If you are in sales or customer services, you can learn how to establish trustworthy and friendly rapport with prospective clients and improve the chances of making successful sales.

The right body language can also help you develop more confidence for public speaking (while making presentations on stage, for example) and help you communicate with your colleagues. Those who practise mindful and conscious body language make effective team players and leaders and are ideal candidates for being trained for wider responsibilities. People who use their body to communicate the right emotions and feelings develop a high emotional quotient.

Body language can achieve the following end results:

  • Validate, echo or underline verbal communication
  • Substitute actual words
  • Contradict or conflict what is being said
  • Accentuate or moderate language

Positive Body Language in the Workplace

If you’ve been busy raising a family and are now ready to get back to work, the first key step involves paying attention to your body language. Read on for useful tips on how to use positive nonverbal communication for career and workplace success.

Body Language during the Interview

  • You can extend your hand first for a handshake. Offer a soft but firm handshake. Avoid squeezing too hard as this indicates dominance or insecurity. Please avoid crowding into people’s personal space. Maintain a respectful distance.
  • Make regular eye contact but break away occasionally and look away. The eye contact should be confident without staring at the other person (this may be perceived as intimidation). Avoid looking down when you respond as you may appear insecure, shy, indecisive, unsure or diffident. If there are multiple interviewers, make brief eye contact with each one in turn.
  • Sit all the way back in your chair with your back straight. Avoid slouching or angling your body towards the door as this indicates a subconscious wish to escape. Lean slightly forward as you answer questions; this indicates a healthy attitude of engagement and curiosity.
  • Keep your hands on your lap and avoid clenching your fists or waving your hands about. Dramatic gestures would come across as inappropriate. Please avoid biting your nails as this indicates extreme nervousness.
  • Avoid too much nodding. Nod only when you agree with what is being said. If unsure, simply mirror the body language of the person who is speaking to you; this will establish a constructive rapport.
  • Avoid sitting with your arms crossed (this is a closed-off gesture that implies defensiveness) and do not play with your hair, jewellery or watch, etc. Sit calmly and quietly without distracting gestures.

Unique Body Language Tips for Career and Business Success

  • While making formal presentations, try moving towards the audience and then move away to signal a change of subject. For maximum impact, blend movement and pauses in order to break the monotony. Before an important meeting or presentation, breathe out through your mouth in order to release tension in your neck and shoulders.
  • If you observe someone who moves forward to the edge of the seat or positions their knees, they are probably indicating that they want to leave. In that case, finish your conversation early.
  • In order to exude authority, place your feet hip-width distance apart. This helps you breathe easily, amplifies your voice and calms down the nervous system. Taking up more space (traditionally a stance associated with males) helps demonstrate authority.
  • If you’re working with a team, keep your body language relaxed, open and inclusive. Human beings have an instinctive habit of mirroring gestures and postures. Hence, if you display friendly body language, your team will automatically display friendliness too.
  • Make eye contact with any person that you’re speaking to. If you are speaking to a group, make eye contact with each person briefly.
  • Nodding, smiling, palms open, etc. can indicate engagement or agreement and can help conclude a meeting successfully and punctually. Nebulous or doubtful body language (chin tucked in, shoulders hunched, arms crossed, etc.) often results in confusion in interpretation; other team members or your customers may be unsure of how you actually feel.
  • Focus on the person that you are engaged with rather than paying excessive attention to yourself. This will help you understand the other person and, consequently, you can mindfully control your own body language.
  • If you want to defuse a tense situation, try realigning your body so that you slightly lean in towards the person or sit or stand side-by-side. Women tend to stand facing each other when they are in a confrontational mood.

Important Body Language Mistakes to Avoid

The following gestures may give the wrong impression to other people.

  • Avoid texting or checking your mail on the phone as this is considered a sign of disrespect as you are withdrawing your attention.
  • Slouching or sitting low in the chair with your legs extended in front of you may be perceived as apathy or a don’t-care attitude.
  • Keep your lips loose; pursed up or tight lips may indicate disapproval or disagreement.
  • Avoid leaning backwards or away as people speak as the gesture may be perceived as disinterestedness or boredom. Lean in slightly without crowding into people’s space.
  • If you wish to demonstrate authority, avoid over-exuberance and excessive enthusiasm in your voice. Overexcited or impassioned gestures can exhaust or overwhelm your audience. Keep calm and quiet and restrict your gestures to waist level instead of gesticulating wildly with your hands.
  • Shifty eye contact, hands covering your lips, jerky changes in breathing, repetition of certain words several times (trying to validate the lie to yourself), excessive pointing, talking too much and shuffling your feet, etc. often indicate deceptive or lying behaviours. Be mindful of your own behaviour and watchful of others during meetings and negotiations.

Body language is subtle, complex and multi-faceted and may project itself as a continuous communication or in disconnected units. We use our body language all the time even though we are unaware of it. Paying conscious attention to your gestures, postures and voice helps you to reinforce your presence at work, bond better with colleagues, family and friends and subtly motivates others to trust you. Empowering body language can help you feel confident and boost your self-esteem as well as help you project charisma and charm. The way you carry yourself reveals a lot about how effective personal and professional relationships and interactions are going to be.

Our body language not only indicates how we feel about others, but also how we feel about ourselves. In other words, people rarely merely say something; they convey feelings or emotions along with their statements and these invariably make a crucial contribution to the overall communication. The wrong body language can often contradict our words and take away from the intended impact of the communication. Learning how to stand, walk, talk and sit and speak in the correct tones can help reinforce the meaning of our spoken words. Body language and nonverbal communication are difficult to quantify and work on a subtle level, but have a profound impact on day-to-day communication. Mindful gestures, facial expressions, tone of voice and eye contact can help minimise conflict, misunderstandings and confusion at work. In today’s multicultural and multi-ethnic workplace environments, knowledge of body language and nonverbal cues can help clarify communication and establish trust and warmth.




7 Effective Productivity Apps that can help keep you Organised

pay people to do your homeworkIt is no easy task to plan a busy day, schedule meetings, communicate with team members and organise files. Businesses are slowly moving away from expensive and dedicated servers and moving to apps instead. Productivity apps are designed to allow usage of multiple organisational and planning tools in one place. Just as de-cluttering your physical workspace can help you work better, reducing the number of open applications can help you stay focused and minimise stress.

Before choosing the app that appeals to you, make sure that you try the full trial period in order to evaluate the features and user-friendliness. A smart productivity app can help you organise files and information, plan your calendar and schedule events, track time and hold discussions and much more.

Productivity

There are several reliable productivity apps available and you have to consider your own unique requirements before selecting one. Spending time on what you really want, clarifying your objectives and learning how to use a digital tool to its maximum can help save valuable money and time. Studying the features of each app, its ability to integrate with other platforms and flexibility level can help you decide on the most suitable productivity app.

In general, the following criteria will help you decide on the best app for your requirement:

  • Flexibility (the app should be able to support different approaches to organisation)
  • User-friendliness (you don’t want an app that is full of technical jargon)
  • Scalability (the app should be able to perform at the same efficiency regardless of the workload)
  • Specialised features (although most apps offer a set of features, some may offer special features that correspond to what you want)
  • Integration with other apps and platforms (you want to be able to use on multiple devices)
  • Consistency and strong offline functionality

Overall, you should ideally look for an app that guarantees longevity. Your search for a product will be successful when you hone in on an app that you are likely to use for a long time. The app will ideally offer ongoing value, meet your daily requirements and introduce improvements from time to time. These add-ons should be designed to help you work more efficiently than before. This article will describe the features and benefits of 7 popular apps that can help boost productivity.

Trello

Trello is one of the leading productivity apps in the market and one of the most popular. It utilises the concept of boards which consist of different cards. Each card is designed to track progress or for the purpose of categorisation. It’s a reasonably priced app that offers the free version, Business Class version and the Enterprise version. The Business and Enterprise versions are priced at roughly £7.60 and £15.90 per month respectively.

Trello is known for its flexible and scalable project management and collaborative features. For example, members of a project can discuss the project or tasks in real-time. In addition, everyone involved in a project can be kept updated with the help of task lists, email notifications and activity log. The card system is easy and efficient to use. The interface allows inline editing and the website is accessible from any browser regardless of whether it is web-based, mobile-based, Tablet or Smartphone. Trello also adapts to any screen size. The app is also compatible with iPhone as well as Android. The task lists are fully customisable and members are updated regarding changes in real time.

You can invite any number of people on board for free and the cards can be used to add comments, create checklists, upload file attachments, add in due dates and labels and much more. The user can add as many boards, cards or teams as he or she wishes to. Moreover, you can declare any number of teams or boards as public or private. Search features are powerful and fast with several operators that help you narrow down your search. You can also create cards and comments using email. When you do this, you can simply respond to the email without having to open Trello. Moreover, all data is transmitted over an SSL connection (SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer) which is the same connection used by banks and other sensitive agencies where security is a topmost priority.

productivity

Newton

This is an ideal app designed to help those who have to handle a barrage of emails on a regular basis.

Newton is a flexible app designed to help you gain control over emails and works on any platform including computers, Tablets and Smartphones. It’s not cluttered with multiple screens to confuse the user. You are able to see a list of messages or the current email that you happen to be reading or composing. The app is designed with a lot of keyboard shortcuts to perform functions such as deleting or archiving your emails. As a result, you are able to navigate your way, even without the aid of a mouse. Priced at about £38 per year (the free trial lasts for 14 days, but you can also use the free version) for the premium version, the app offers general features such as conversation view style, deleting, archiving and filing away emails.

Although the app appears simple and uncomplicated, it also packs a punch when it comes to offering add-on features when you click on the settings option. For example, you can snooze messages (this means that you can save the messages to read at a later time without missing them by mistake), read receipts (this will tell you if the message has been read and by whom) and schedule email messages to be sent at a later date. Newton interfaces with Android as well as iPhone platforms. In addition, it’s also compatible with an impressive array of other email providers such as Yahoo Mail, Gmail, Outlook and Google Apps among others. Newton also allows you to clip any work related tasks to Trello using a simple plug-in.

RescueTime

This is an extremely user-friendly and efficient app that helps you manage your time wisely. Whether you choose to work at a regular job or work on a freelance basis, the app helps re-evaluate your choices in order to help you focus on priorities. This app is especially ideal for those who are struggling to manage their time and use multiple devices to handle tasks. RescueTime is one of the most popular time-management apps. RescueTime provides a detailed as well as a general overview of your time in minutes and hours. This is an app that helps track time and your progress on tasks as well as allowing you access on multiple devices.

The app runs in the background and automatically records, classifies and tracks our activities. For example, RescueTime keeps a watch on the windows that have activity on, records the name and measures the time we spend on the window. So if you spend too much time moping around Facebook when you should be completing your reports, RescueTime will remind you of it. Similarly, the ‘Get Focused’ feature stops distracting apps and sites from popping up once you’ve selected the ones that you want blocked off while you work. Other pluses include the fact that it’s well-funded and more likely to have a longer lifespan and the interface is not cluttered with useless adverts and banners. The free model is available for use for a long period.

The premium version costs roughly £55 per year and offers some special features. These include detailed reports that tell you about your most productive times as well as your most distracted ones. You can also click to check on your time reports for a year back; this is extremely useful to track time management efficiency. You can also opt to view your time management in the form of pie charts and bar graphs. Another great positive is that RescueTime does not intrude on your contacts, emails, etc. and ask for ridiculous permissions to access personal information. It’s lightweight (in that it does not take up loads of memory space and use up your battery) and efficient. The different filters and overlays help you understand exactly how you are spending your time (this can be quite eye-opening). RescueTime also integrates seamlessly with several other software applications.

Google Calendar

In professional life, there are very few tasks that prove to be as mind-numbing as scheduling meetings. You have to find a time that works for everyone that invariably results in a string of email responses and accidental double-bookings that throw your schedule off kilter. Keep in mind that the calendar on your computer or mobile is still confined to the device in question and it offers excellent flexibility if it is synced to an online functionality. This is exactly what Google Calendar does.

Prouctivity

Google calendar is an erstwhile tool that helps you organise, share and manage meetings in an easy and user-friendly manner. Google calendar is well-integrated with Gmail as well as Google tasks and you can schedule your day personally or for a team. Features include organising events as separate calendars and inviting people to those calendars. The app is extremely useful because it helps synchronise all the appointments that you accepted or set up through your email. Google tasks help you keep track of events that you need to attend in each calendar. All you need to do is to type in the date and time and Google Calendar automatically converts the text into an event.

For those who use Google apps for work, the calendar will help you schedule meetings quickly and efficiently because it shows you other people’s schedules too; this way you can pick a time and day that works well for the whole team. While it’s a great app to use on its own, it works even better when you use it with Gmail. It automatically picks up dates and automatically integrates this information into your calendar.

FocusList

FocusList is a simple, uncluttered app that helps you improve an extremely important attribute; it helps you focus on your tasks. The app is driven by your preferences and content and it displays your tasks, provides an estimated completion time and also furnishes a timer when you want. Along with your task list, there are a couple of handy features including the Pomodoro timer and estimation of project duration. Simply start your day by listing out tasks and the time that you’d like to dedicate to the task. We often underestimate or overestimate the time required for specific tasks. As a result, we accomplish less than we are able to.

For every task that you wish to complete, you can assign an estimated time and can adjust the time by half an hour by swiping to the right or left. The app follows the Pomodoro technique which involves 25 minutes of intense work followed by a five minute break. The timer will be displayed above the task list and you review your performance by clicking on the stats view. This will show you how well you worked and how close you were to the time estimates that you had entered at the beginning. FocusList works with Mac and iPhones.

Evernote

One of the most important prerequisites for improved productivity is to be able to record your thoughts, ideas and inspirations as they strike you. We can very rarely (if at all) hold thoughts in our heads and many times, good ideas slip out of our memories and we lose them forever. Evernote is a versatile app where you can simply sync in your thoughts, notes and ideas as they arise. A seamless interface with Android, iPhone and other operating systems, the Evernote offers the free version as well as the paid one for premium features. However, with the free version, you can use it across two devices at most.

Plus and premium accounts come at a price of £26 and £53 per year respectively (which is reasonable). The plus and premium versions offer higher storage up to 200 MB. One of the strongest features of Evernote is its search functionality which is designed to be extremely intuitive and speedy. Moreover, Evernote is able to search text inside images as well and when you search for a particular word, the app highlights all the instances where the word is found. Evernote is also compatible with several other apps and software services, making it a versatile application for recording notes.

The biggest plus point is that Evernote helps transform a random thought that popped up in your head to a well-fleshed out thought that may get published. Evernote is also compatible with Trello which means you can workflow to your notes and notes to cards on Trello. This gives you the flexibility to use Trello for collaboration along with your important notes from Evernote.

Strides

While apps can help improve our productivity, what we really need is to work on habits that are holding us back from giving our best. The Strides app does just that; it is designed to help us track our goals and habits and is one of the most popular apps in the app store. What the app really does is remind you to report on your progress and then it refines the information and presents it to you on your dashboard. The dashboard helps you review your progress and make decisions. The app helps you make habit choices between better and worse and this helps you improve upon professional as well as personal habits that contribute to productivity.

At its core, Strides is a habit and goal tracking app that works well with iPhone, iPad and the web. It not only motivates you but also holds you accountable for your goals. For example, you may wish to inculcate a habit of waking earlier than you do. All you need to do is to click on the ‘+’ icon located at the top right of the screen. Then enter your goal and choose between a set of different categories including health and fitness, education, finance and so on. By simply scrolling through the list, you can get plenty of ideas on how you can achieve your goal and, in addition, you can set specific targets and milestones. The app offers a clutter-free and friendly interface that helps you achieve your goals without too much complication. The helpful charts help you incorporate changes where needed. While Strides is free, Strides Plus incorporates special features and costs approximately £31 a year. Overall, an excellent app that helps you monitor professional and personal goals that help upgrade productivity.

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed with endless to-do tasks during a typical work day. You may forget where you saved an important file and you may have to search through your laptop, tablet or even mobile phone. An app helps you perform multiple functions that would normally use different software applications. A productivity app helps you navigate tasks and multi-task efficiently and is a handy tool that boosts organisation and planning. They help you conquer impossibly lengthy to-do lists and manage new projects, etc. and help you manage your time in the most effective manner. Efficient apps help you become your most productive self by allowing you insights into your day in every aspect.




Stressed about going back to Work after Raising Children? The Importance of Keeping a Healthy Mind for a Fulfilling Professional and Personal Life

pay people to do your homeworkIt can be daunting to acknowledge our limitations and worries when we juggle a career with raising children. It can be daunting even when we are stay-at-home mothers who haven’t contemplated a career move as yet. But if we want to move forward and explore the right work-life balance that we’re looking for, the first step lies in understanding our needs, aspirations and dreams. The pressures of raising a family and the changing perception of gender roles can leave us feeling guilty, conflicted and frustrated. The ebb and flow of personal ambition often ends up clashing with our responsibilities as mothers and, as a result, we are often saddled with double guilt. We feel guilty when we are at work because we are afraid of neglecting our children and not being there for them when they need us. On the other hand, we are vulnerable to frustration and resentment because we feel that our talents, qualifications and experience are being wasted as we grapple with sleeping schedules, vaccination appointments and nappy changes.

Women’s lives seem to take a U-turn somewhere along the way after having children. Although parenthood affects fathers too, the extent of the impact is felt much more by women than by men. They feel the stress of having to straddle two worlds and juggle different responsibilities. Looking after young children or babies and completing household chores are no mean tasks; they can be relentless, tiring and may even feel thankless on some days. A typical mother’s mind seems to be split into two halves and they always seem to be at variance with each other.

Having children is one of the most momentous life transitions that women undergo. You evolve as a person and your approach to life, parenting, relationships and career undergoes significant changes. Very often, something of our past persona as a teenager or twenty-something remains but other emotions and thoughts begin to weigh in. The crucial responsibility of raising a human being and becoming a caregiver forces us to examine our goals, lives and dreams. The framework of our lives undergoes a paradigm shift and the process of fitting into the new mental setting takes time and patience.

Stress

Fortunately, the evolution of remote technology, computers, the Internet and Smartphones, etc. has made it easier for mothers to use their skills and develop their career interests. By making commuting and physical presence redundant, mothers are able to eye career progression and earning potential with enthusiasm. It’s definitely doable and you can actually enjoy the best of both worlds without experiencing guilt or resentment.  However, the first step towards achieving harmony and balance in our lives is to develop a healthy mind. Very often, it is not the actual events or challenges, but our reactions to them that create stress and tension. Therefore, exploring the inner recesses of your mind helps you understand yourself and what you want. When we understand our beliefs, fears and motivation, we are able to navigate life transition points successfully.

Being a mother and raising children is a tough call. Many people actually feel that being a stay-at-home mother is more challenging than going out to work. But there are empowering ways to incorporate the use of technology, a healthy mindset and positive habits in ways that help you lead a more meaningful and fulfilling life – a life where you are able to be happier and more content with yourself.

Every one of us is unique and the way we think, plan or react to situations is different. This article contains reasons for stress and strategies to overcome challenges and develop a healthy and positive mindset. You can read through the ideas described here and adopt those that resonate with you.

Mental Stress Issues and Strategies to Overcome them with the Right Mindset

Guilt

Most of us feel guilty about wanting to go back to work when our children are very small. We worry about neglecting them and not being able to attend to their needs. But the truth is that right from a young age, children can be trained in a healthy and positive manner to eat, sleep and play according to a convenient schedule. It may not be possible to always follow the schedule but it will definitely make life easier. We are always wondering if we are doing enough, interacting enough or caring enough about our children, spouses/partners, parents; we feel guilty on several counts. We also experience guilt about missing work and feeling unfulfilled and dissatisfied. When these feelings crowd in on our minds, we immediately have a tendency to feel guilty. In fact, it would be fair to say that guilt becomes a constant, unwelcome companion in our waking and sleeping thoughts.

What are the most common things that mothers feel guilty about?

  • Not playing enough with your babies or toddlers: Most mothers feel extremely guilty about not playing enough with their babies or not wanting to play a lot. You may be counting down the minutes until you can do something else or may not be completely present in the playtime activity. While it’s a lovely thing to romp, jump and play with your child, this is an activity that consumes high levels of mental and physical energy. Similarly, not all of us may be particularly adept at crafts or music or dance to keep them occupied. After a sleepless night with a cranky toddler, it can be difficult to play cheerfully when you feel exhausted and irritable.
  • Losing tempers, snapping, losing patience and shouting at times: If it happens too often, it means that you are stressed, exhausted or sleepy or all three.
  • Allowing children to watch too much TV: Again, this may happen on certain days. If you feel too tired to play with them, there is absolutely nothing wrong with putting on the TV for them (and you) to get some breathing space.
  • Enjoying yourself with friends after leaving your children and feeling guilty about your downtime: All of us need a break from the house and its related worries and concerns for some time. We need to feel refreshed after chatting about different topics (something different from nappy changing, baby foods and baby-talk in general).

Mothers usually have a tendency to feel guilty even about not feeling guilty!

Every day, we question our choices and doubt our decisions. Read on for useful tips that help you take the first steps towards developing a healthy mind:

Accept that certain trade-offs are inevitable

Juggling motherhood, a career, work-at-home job or hobby will invariably involve compromises and adjustments. Reminding yourself of why you made those choices will help stave off guilt feelings. If you are obliged to outsource your child’s birthday party, remind yourself of the reasons that make such choices (satisfaction, fulfilment, money) important to you. Choosing to work from home or go out to work may be a better all-around choice for yourself as well as for your family.

Try to eradicate the word ‘should’ from your mental vocabulary

There are very few ‘should’ rules with regard to parenting. Every mother and every child is different and every family is unique in its interaction and requirements. The important thing is that regardless of outward demonstration, your children know that you love them and this is more than enough emotional security for them. Modern parenting involves many clichéd ‘should-do’ tasks. For example, coming to every school game and throwing lavish birthday parties for your child.

While these are personal choices (and nothing wrong with them either), what is important is that you do not have to feel guilty about not being able to keep up with it. Chatting with your children during dinner is as satisfying and meaningful than reading them a bedtime story. If you’re too tired to read to them, accept it and go to sleep instead. You will feel refreshed and rested and you will be much better company for them.

The bar on what is perceived as being a great parent has been steadily moving up and most of us feel inadequate when we unconsciously compare ourselves to these superficial standards.

Many of us mums tend to feel guilty that our friends, neighbours and relatives do a set of typical activities with their children that we do not necessarily want to do. Social media is a culpable platform through which parenting-police keep advocating rules and morals for parenting. We may even feel mentally pressurised to follow popular norms of parenting. While children are central to our lives, they need not be the be-all and end-all of our world; in fact, they will grow up into well-rounded, emotionally secure individuals in the absence of over-attention. You may wish to replace the word ‘should’ with ‘could’ – this allows you to make decisions that work best for you and your family. The first key step towards a healthy outlook is to eliminate self-inflicted guilt.

Accept that there are different ways to parent a child and live your life

Parenting is not a ‘one-size-fits-all’ concept. Each of us has to deal with different circumstances and preferences and each of us has a different personality. Avoid getting negatively impacted by critical and scornful remarks or guilt-mongering. Many mothers who work at offices or from home work doubly hard at raising their children. So we should actively look out for friends who encourage our efforts instead of putting us down. Eventually, it’s not about what others think, it’s about your family and yourself and about what you want for yourself.

Do not allow your children to send you on guilt trips

An important sign of a healthy mind is to disallow your children from sending you on guilt trips. A very important way to do this is by letting them do for themselves what they can do. Research into child psychology indicates that children can be great manipulators, especially if they are aware that you are vulnerable to guilt. Parenting does not involve doing everything for your children. It’s a good idea to explain that you have responsibilities, commitments and interests in addition to them. This will help them understand you as an individual in your own right rather than as a person who exists only to pander to their whims and needs. A healthy mind will help you develop into a loving mother who raised resourceful and resilient children.

Shuffling task lists and never seeming to be able to complete it

It can be exhausting and frustrating to never be able to complete a task list for the day because some unexpected baby or toddler emergency always seems to shift the hierarchies. If some task is left undone, avoid getting frustrated over it. Do not set up unrealistic expectations of how much you can achieve in a day. Keep the list short and when you complete the tasks, you can add some on.

Not all of us can afford to pay for child care and additional support after having children. Sometimes, the pay packet that you earn will be adequate only to pay for regular childcare. Staying at home to raise a child is not an option – it’s the best thing to do under the circumstances.

Baby nap time is seldom the time for our own rest because that is the time you may need to do the dishes and laundry or prepare for dinner. Just when you settle down with a snack for a little me-time, the child wakes up and starts calling for you. To many, the responsibilities that we handle as mothers may seem simple and trivial because we are ‘at home’. Nothing could be further from the truth. While we may smile or joke with others (if you get the time), we know exactly how exhausted and spent we feel. This is why it’s important to nourish our minds and bodies. A healthy mindset helps us cope with challenges and difficulties of parenting in a positive manner. It also helps develop skills that prove useful if you decide to take up a career or work-at-home job in the near future.

Additional Tips for a Healthy Mind

  • Develop self-awareness: Perform an honest self-assessment of your beliefs, fears and goals, both personal and professional. Ask yourself (most of us can be confused about what makes us tick) what you want to achieve in your life. This could include training for a new work-at-home career or pursuing a hobby seriously or going back to work full-time. Examine your motives and expectations in a clear and transparent manner. Once you understand yourself, accept your objectives, attitudes and fears without judgement. Once you become a mother, you may not wish to go back to a high-powered, high-stress job that you were doing before. Reset your expectations with regard to your life and career; this exercise will help you take stock of everything that is important to you.

The more we understand our emotions, moods and thoughts, the better placed we are to respond to situations.

For example, you may not be able to enter the workforce at the same level at which you quit your job. Your job profile may no longer exist and you may have to dust off your CV. But instead of allowing these difficulties to bog you down, choose to enjoy the challenge of overcoming them and examining alternatives.

  • Self-Regulation: This implies that it helps if we think before screaming or shouting. In any situation, our responses (even when they seem erratic and extreme) are ultimately our choices. Practising self-regulation can help us gain control over our impulses and moods.
  • Compassion and empathy: While a crying toddler can leave us feeling exhausted and irritable, there is usually a reason behind the tears and tantrums. Compassion, patience and empathy can help you understand your child and respond to his or her needs better. Remember that our emotions and behavioural responses often determine our child’s behaviour pattern. If we are calm, they will calm down sooner. If we show irritability, they will become more irritable too.
  • Give yourself time and space to develop self-confidence: Most of us sometimes miss the sense of accomplishment that we had when we were working at a job. Raising children can mean having to repeat several jobs, leaving jobs undone and experiencing chaos and disorder on some days. We may have forgotten how to communicate during an interview or with a customer. Give yourself time and space to step into the work zone. Sometimes, if there has been a time gap between quitting work and planning to return to a career, our self-confidence can take a beating and our communication and interaction skills may not be what they used to be. Be easy on yourself when you think of returning to a career.
  • Develop social skills and take interest in other activities outside your home: Even though you are always surrounded by someone or other, you can end up feeling isolated and lonely when you are a stay-at-home parent. If the only ‘trips’ that you make are the ones to the bathroom with crying babies, then it’s time to adopt a fresh approach. Stepping outside the house to participate in other activities helps refresh your mind and expand your mental horizons. It also helps to interact with different people. You could try meeting up with a friend for coffee or pursuing a hobby or volunteering once a week. Your time away from home will help you feel rejuvenated.
  • Give importance to your own needs: Thinking about yourself and respecting your own needs helps you feel more satisfied, calm and fulfilled. Very often, unfilled needs and self-neglect can result in stressful reactions to trivial situations. You are not actually hassled with the situation alone (spilt bowl of cereal or a blocked up toilet), these are actually pent up and unresolved feelings that express themselves.

Volatile and negative emotions will use any situational outlet to release themselves. By looking after your needs, be it social interaction, me-time or gym time, you are actually helping your family because you are better equipped to deal with problems. Hire a babysitter for a couple of hours and plan a cosy dinner with your partner. You could even try going out of town for a night or two after requesting help from your family members.

  • Healthy body, healthy mind: It is a well-known fact that exercise has a positive effect on the mind. Ensure that you take some time out each day for the gym or for fitness. Try going for a brisk walk or jog or attend gym sessions at least three times a week.
30 minutes

Life has become increasingly complex. We want to be good mothers, good at our chosen careers and field of interest and want some space for ourselves too. Families have become smaller and the assistance that used to be provided by extended families is no longer available. Keeping this scenario in mind, it’s very important to reset our expectations of ourselves. It’s simply not humanly possible to be best at everything and maintain internal peace and harmony at the same time. It’s impossible to load the washing machine, play with the children and watch over the stew in the kitchen at the same time while keeping a smile on our faces.

You need to learn to be easier on yourself and accept the fact that some days will be good and some will be not as good. We feel fulfilled and happy when we work towards meeting our own dreams and goals. However much you love your family and children, they cannot live your life for you. One day, your children will grow up and walk away into their own lives (which is only natural). So, the first step towards developing a healthy mind is to eliminate guilt from becoming a nagging companion.

We should never attempt to evaluate or judge ourselves by others’ standards. What’s important is to be connected, happy and loving to each other. The word ‘loving’ means different things to different mothers so go with the definition that suits you the best. Denying your own dreams and sacrificing your ambition is likely to result in frustration and loneliness. Learn to celebrate yourself as a mother, a woman and a human being who deserves love, respect and understanding from your family and children. It wasn’t an easy decision to quit working and have children. It may be easy to change your life around once again. But you are now older, wiser and mentally stronger than you were before.

It’s not necessary to feel depressed if you are unable to reconcile all your tasks, responsibilities and dreams all the time. Each one of us is human so learn to accept yourself as you are and move on. Children who grow up with a mother who respects her own wishes as much theirs become well-balanced and empathetic adults. Children of working mothers learn to become responsible, helpful and mindful of other people. What we really need is to show unconditional love for our children and as well as for ourselves. Developing a healthy mindset is not only the best thing you could do for yourself, but also the best thing that you could do for your children.




10 Awesome Tools to Help you Manage your Time

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pay people to do your homeworkTime management is an important part of your professional life. Although the days you spend relaxing on the beach with a cocktail are great opportunities to relax and forget about the time, a lot of effort is required to let you have those days in the first place. We all love to relax. However, if you properly learn how to fill the time you have reserved for your professional life, you will be left with more downtime in the future.

Although being productive 100% of the time during your designated working hours is impossible, it is possible to efficiently plan your time so that you can get what you need to get done on time. With the right tools and strategies, even the laziest person on Earth can learn to use their time efficiently and finish the important matters at hand.

When it comes to finishing tasks, how much you get done matters less than the quality of the work that you finish. Unless you want to finish your work right the first time, it is important that you get important things done fully before concentrating on other, less relevant items. If you are looking for some amazing tips to help you manage your time, here are 10 different tools for you to consider adopting.

1. Google Calendar

Although there are countless computer-based programs to help you manage your time, pay people to do your homework is a professional time-planner that helps you organise your daily tasks for free. Have you ever told a colleague that you would stop by their desk at a certain time and then forget about it when the time came? This is where a time-planner like Google Calendar comes in handy.

With Google Calendar, you can also automatically send notifications to your mobile phone so that you never forget when you have an upcoming commitment. Each time you set aside a date to do something, just spend a couple of minutes adding it to your Google Calendar, and then you can forget about it until right before you actually do it.

The best thing about Google Calendar is that it is completely free to use. All you will need is a Gmail account and internet to keep track of your daily routine. Since it allows you to do advanced functions such as setting the priority level of each task, many people will make this their go-to time manager.

2. EpicWin – RPG Style To-Do Lists

If you are one of those people who has a tendency to play too many video games, you might be able to harvest that addiction and turn it into one which helps you get more tasks finished in a day. This app, which is available on both Apple and Android devices, turns your life into a role-playing experience where each task you accomplish is used as XP for the application.

With XP from completing tasks comes points for levelling up your character, just as you would in many popular video games as a reward. Since it operates very similar to a video game, it is a great way to take short little breaks in-between your work which aren’t addicting enough to actually draw you in for longer periods of time. This is a great tool for anybody who wants a little extra motivation to keep your to-do list active and up-to-date.

3. Cold Turkey Blocker

This tool is for people who have problems with distracting themselves from work for things like social media, e-mail and so on. Cold Turkey Blocker is an application for your computer and smartphone which will allow you to block yourself of all potential distractions from your work. The days of you spending more time on Facebook than getting your work finished are over.

Cold Turkey works by locking in settings that you have set so that you can’t change your mind and navigate away into the distraction zone. Whether your personal distraction comes from checking a certain webpage, application or menu in your phone, cold turkey can be used both on your pc and smartphone. Although this is great for people who need to manage their own time, or for businesses who want to encourage higher levels of productivity, it may also prove to be very annoying if you aren’t committed to using it.

4. Rescue Time

Rescue Time works by tracking all of the time that you spend on certain websites in applications. It also lets you set goals and gives you a weekly e-mail report. All of these features are completely free of charge. This is a great tool for people who are in the process of improving their time management and simply need some free assistance in helping themselves determine the biggest problem areas.

Just keep in mind that if you want to do the premium functions which take further action on your problem areas, such as blocking distracting websites and sending a daily log of your accomplishments, you will have to pay a monthly fee. However, the free version will also work very well at helping you visualise your weekly successes and distractions. In either case, this is a great tool for helping you manage your time by giving a visual representation of how you spend it.

5. GQueues

With the look and feel that you would expect from Gmail, GQueues is another powerful tool to help you monitor your time. Using a built-in calendar, this application will allow you to easily set goals and visualise what needs to be done first. This is an exceptional program which is great for people who already use other Google features such as Gmail, Calendar, Drive and so on.

GQueues helps you to easily set up recurring tasks, prioritise your activities, set up reminders, keep track of important documents for events and so on. Since it syncs with Google Calendar, people who love this Google product might also love to use GQueues alongside it since it allows you to do more. There are free plans and premium plans, depending on which features you want to have for the service. It can also be used on a smartphone with an application or your PC.

6. Scoro

If you need a tool which helps you to narrow down your daily tasks into a matter of priority, Scoro might be a great time management tool for you. Since this works as a software which can be accessed by both yourself and your trusted colleagues, this is a great option for freelancers and businesses who work constantly with other people. If you want to communicate less over skype and quickly be able to track the progress of a team, Scoro is a powerful option to consider using.

This tool allows you to assign and delegate certain tasks to anybody that you work with, even if it is for yourself. It also allows you to keep an organised calendar so that you can set aside and remember your time for certain events. Businesses who pay employees based on the time they spend on a project will also find this tool useful. Anybody who sells products will also be able to send over invoices to their clients within seconds after setting up this feature.

7. 52 / 17 Time Management

The premise of this strategy is that you are guaranteed to spend some of your time for work distracted by other things. Following this train of thought, it is then important that you delegate your time for both of these things. If done effectively, you can ensure that more time is spent on getting quality work done than doing less important things such as checking social media.

This system works simply by setting aside a timer for 52 minutes and then working as hard as possible for this amount of time. When the timer goes off, you then have a 17-minute “brain break” to get yourself back on track and ready to work again. The 17 minutes can be spent doing whatever you need to do to relax. Popularised by Julia Gifford from The Muse, there is even an online tool which helps you to work in this manner.

8. The 1-3-5 Time Management Strategy

If you want a time management tool that is completely offline, free of charge and easy to adopt, you might make the 1-3-5 time management strategy your new go-to. Developed by Alex Cavoulacos, this is a strategy that will help you feel accomplished at the end of the day, while still getting as much done as humanly possible. The best thing about this tool is that it only requires you to record what your daily tasks are, following a simple system.

The main idea for this system is that any given working day you can get 1 big task done, 3 intermediate tasks and 5 small tasks. To use this system, all you need to do is identify what each of these things are. You can simply grab a piece of paper each morning and write them down. After you finish each task, cross it off and then start to notice how setting a task list like this helps you get enough done every day.

9. The Eisenhower Matrix

If you are the person who is very conscious of the tasks you need to get done both today and tomorrow and can easily assign a level of importance to them, this is a free task that can be instantly applied to your daily routine today. It works by giving you a system by which you categorise your tasks and decide how and when they will get done.

To use this tool, simply get an Eisenhower Matrix Template, or separate a piece of paper into four different quadrants: do first, schedule, delegate and don’t do. Whatever you need to get done first you put into the “do first” quadrant. These will be the tasks that you get done before you even think about the other ones.

Anything you can schedule for the foreseeable future goes into the “schedule” box. If you have employees who can help you finish tasks, put them inside the “delegate” quadrant. Lastly, anything that shouldn’t be accomplished today you can add into the “don’t do” box.

10. Fresh or Fried Productivity System

Developed by Stephanie Lee, the fresh or fried productivity system is a great tool for anybody who notices that they work very well at certain times and terribly at other routine times. If you have a daily trend where you can barely get anything accomplished at 8am, and then grooving around 9am, for example, this system helps you to make full advantage of your efficient times and downtimes alike.

Using this system, you start by using the time your brain is “fried” to prioritise your tasks. You start by putting the most urgent tasks or those you hate the most at the start of your “fresh” periods and then slowly start doing less brain-intensive tasks as your daily brain activity starts to deteriorate. As long as you are motivated to keep up-to-date lists when your brain is fried, this technique can help you turn unproductive days into ones where you feel much more accomplished.

Awesome Tools to Help you Manage your Time: Summary

There is no one-stop solution to becoming more efficient in your time. Finding the tools and strategies which work best for your personal needs, personality and circumstance are something that you will be able to judge the best. As a result, each of the above options are simply that. Although each of them can be great tools to use for the right person, there is no guarantee that they will work for everybody.

However, if you are serious about becoming better at managing your time, any of the options above used either solely or in a group will help you turn your unproductive and/or wasted time into time that is more beneficial towards your daily productivity. In any case, be sure to consider what the causes are to your unproductivity, act upon them and fix them.




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