Eat, Drink, & Be Social

Invite-them-to-a-social-gatheringGiven then I am a current MBA student at the University of Nevada, Reno and I work full time, I don’t have much of a social life and that might be affecting me negatively. I am more apt to skip out on social events lately and ultimately continue to feel burnt out and anti-social. While it can be hard to convince myself to go out and be social, I am never sad when I finally do. So why is it important to be social while actively making new friends and nurturing old friendships?

Physically

Some of the benefits of being social and having friendship have been strongly associated with improving your physical health. There have been a number of studies completed that link friendship to improved immune systems. It has also been said to improve the health of your brain leading to reduced risk of dementia among other illnesses. Friendship is also helps those who have suffered from an illness recover faster.

Mentally

Additionally, friendship can immensely benefit your mental health. Given the severity of mental health issues today, I think it is worthwhile to mention that friendship is linked to reduced feelings of loneliness and depression. It has also been linked to increased memory as well as increased levels of happiness. Who doesn’t want to be happier?

Personal Growth

Not only does does your physical and mental health benefit from friendship, but you can also grow as a person. Solely based on your interactions  and conversations with others will you gain different perspectives on life and become more well rounded as a person. Some of the most impactful experiences occur when you interact with others. Don’t limit your experiences by being anti-social.

Get Out & Do It

If you are anything like me, you tend to be a more introverted individual. As an introvert, making new friends and at times nurturing existing friendships can be difficult. The great thing about friendships is that you don’t have to do it alone!

  1. Create a routine with friends
    Maybe your routine is going to the gym together or having lunch once a week. You don’t have to think of something new to do together each time you  meet up. Keep it simple!
  2. Don’t do it alone
    If you are attending a very social event and don’t feel comfortable going alone, invite one of your very outgoing friends. This will ease some of the pressure off you from having to be social for extended amounts of time while you are already out of your comfort zone. This also gives you a chance to meet up with a friend and enjoy their company.
  3. Do something new
    Join a club, attend a class, or start a new hobby. This can be a good way to make friends in a more controlled environment. In this case, you will likely have someone moderating the event/class taking the pressure off to be social for extended periods of time.  
  4. Rekindle old friendships
    Reach out and rekindle an old friendship. Given the social media world we live in, use your access to reach out and meet up with an old friend. I am sure they would love to  hear from you and catch up. 

Don’t limit yourself or hinder your growth as a person because being social and maintaining friendships can take some work. All good things in life take time and effort. You won’t ever regret time will spent in good company and the benefits are endless.

What are things you do to maintain your social life? Comment below.

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Take Control of Your Day

desk-3139127_1920Do you ever feel as though your day is a whirlwind and completely our of your control? You know you have a long list that needs to be done, but you don’t seem to be making any progress. New things come up all the time that are urgent and need your attention immediately, so that long list never really gets any shorter. Don’t let life spiral out of control. Prepare yourself with the right tools and mindset to take charge.

Learn to Say No

One drawback of being an overachiever is that you take every possible task on with an optimistic outlook that you really can and will get it all done even when the odds are against you. In order to take control of your life and maximize productivity, you must learn to say no. Learning to say no is one of the first steps to taking charge of your life. For your own health and sanity, you must learn when to say when so you can have a small bit of control over the direction of your life.

Two Minute Rule

Learn to live by the two-minute rule. It can be quite distracting when simple, mundane tasks are continually interrupting your work flow. We know from research that no one person is really even good at multitasking and should avoid it when possible. Therefor the rule of thumb to live by is – if the task can be completed in two minutes or less, just do it now. This will reduce the number of small tasks on your list that can easily distract you from the larger and possibly more daunting tasks.

Turn Off Notifications

Given the high demand for technology in both our professional and personal lives, the constant ability to be notified can cause major distractions. When you need the space and time to focus, turn off all notifications your computer and your phone. Make sure to turn off both visible notifications as well as audio notification as both can be equally distracting. Schedule times to check your emails and social media so it does not consume unnecessary time throughout the day.

Utilize a Time Matrix

If you have worked to improve productivity, it is likely that you are familiar with Stephen Covey and the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. One of the most useful tools from the 7 Habits, is learning to use the time matrix. The time matrix allows you to plan and organize your priorities in order to maximize prodcutivity. By creating the time matrix and sorting through your tasks, you are able to create a visual as well as determine the importance and urgency of specific tasks. This allows you to take a direct role in taking control of your day.

Franklin Covey Time Matrix

Delegate

One of the most challenging things, in my experience, is learning to use judgement to delegate. Only with time and experience are we really able to become proficient in making these types of decisions. If it is something that can easily be delegated without losing the integrity of the task, delegate away. Take an active stance to delegate when you are able to free up your time for the more time consuming and focus requiring tasks.

Set a Schedule & Stick to It

We all benefit from a little structure in our lives. Create a schedule that is tailored to your peak productivity hours and stick to it. Utilize the time in your day when you are the most focused to work on your most challenging tasks. Save the time for the monotonous and less engaging tasks for whatever period throughout the day when you know you are not working at maximum productivity. Work to stick to your schedule and use the tools provided above to stay on task with limited distractions.

If you let it, your day will quickly spin out of control and you will have no power over the outcome. Prepare yourself ahead of time for those whirlwind days and create a routine that works for you!

How do you take control of your day? Comment below.

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Communicate with Intent

children-1822471_1920For many people, communication becomes one of the tasks that inevitably gets put on autopilot since we communicate daily. Many times, we do it without any intent. Do you find yourself often misunderstood or in conflict with those around you? Have you considered that it might be the way you are communicating?

As there can be so many variables to communication to consider, it may seem overwhelming when you stop to think about it. First, there is the most obvious – verbal communication which includes your pitch, tone, word choice, etc. Then there is nonverbal communication that can include gestures and body language. To compound it all, you also have to factor in personality differences and emotional intelligence. Given all these variables, things can get off track pretty quickly if you are not conscious in your decisions when communicating.

Use intent when communicating with people both verbally and non-verbally. What you have to say may have great significance and value so you must ensure your message is being communicated appropriately. Don’t let your words become a barrier. Didn’t your mom ever tell you, “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all”? Well this life lesson has and always will hold true. Additionally, evaluate your tone when you are speaking. Another golden rule to live by when communicating is “it’s not what you say, it’s how you say it.” Don’t offend people by your tone when you have something valuable to say. Not only should you be concerned about what you say, but you should also be conscious of your body language when communicating with other. Don’t send a rude or inconsiderate message to people strictly based on your body language. Consider how your body language may be perceived.

Interpersonal skills are vital in every day encounters with those around. They are so important that even companies are investing time and money to improve people’s soft skills. Soft skills are known as the interpersonal skills that help people to communicate and work together. Soft skills can include communication, team building, listening, emotional intelligence, critical thinking, and collaboration. While the hard skills or technical skill remain important, employers are learning the significance of the soft skills and workplace success. Studies have shown that technical skill, beginning with intelligence and developed through education and experience, accounts for only 15% of success in the workplace. The other 85% of workplace success comes from people skills! These skills are developed through learning better ways to behave and interact.

Within soft skills, one of the most difficult things to work through when communicating with others are personality differences. With personality differences comes different views on work style, preferences, opinions, backgrounds, attitudes, and even levels of competitiveness and ideas about teamwork. Inevitably, conflict can follow closely behind. Don’t allow personality differences to escalate to the point of an unhealthy relationship. Some ideas on how to avoid conflict include:

  • Get to know the other person on a more personal level to gain insight on their background
  • Work to gain an understanding of the other person’s position
  • Accept that people have different perspectives
  • Work to use other people’s personalities to strengthen the team
  • Maintain a calm and professional attitude
  • Remember, there is always more to learn

If conflict still arises, work to deescalate the situation before it becomes a real issue and get to the source of the conflict.

Don’t let communication negatively affect your relationships. Make sure when you communicate, you do so with intent and authenticity. Turn off auto pilot when necessary and give your communication the focus it needs to send the best message possible.

Do you have tips for communicating with intent? Comment below.

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Don’t Let Anger Consume You

AngerWe all have those moments when you loose control and usually end up regretting it 30 seconds after it’s all said and done. You were so mad you could even see straight, and you likely did something or said something you already regret. You let your anger build with out doing something about it and you totally lost it. Don’t worry, we’ve all been there.

Anger is one of the emotions most people can relate to, yet it is the one most people dread. While anger is a normal emotion, it can have a negative impact on your life if you are not able to reasonably control it. It can negatively impact your personal relationships, your job, and even your health if you aren’t able to reign it in. So, how do you train yourself to control such a consuming emotion?

Manage your anger

  1. Recognize your anger is taking a hold of you

    Typical warning signs that anger is setting in include:
    Knots in your stomach
    Clenched hands or jaw
    Feeling clammy or flushed
    Breathing faster
    Headaches
    Pacing or needing to walk around
    “Seeing red”
    Difficulty concentrating
    Pounding heart
    Tensed shoulders

  2. Take steps to control your anger

    You must find a way to control your anger rather than it controlling you. Find healthy outlets to center yourself and gain control of your emotions. Some outlets include:
    Keep a journal
    Practice relaxation techniques
    Take walk
    Know your triggers
    Find a place you can be alone
    Know when to seek help

  3. Find a way to channel your anger to be constructive.

    Even when you recognize and take steps to control your anger, anger will not magically disappear. It is still an emotion you will face some what regularly. Find a way to funnel those emotions into something productive and use it as an energy.

If you don’t learn how to control your anger, this emotion will consume you. You will find a way to ruin the relationships you care about the most. You will end up holding grudges you will never be able to truly get over and live with built up resentment. You may even jeopardize your job, if not lose it, because you can’t even have civil relationships with those around you. You can become irrational and begin to lose perspective of life blaming all those around for your misfortunes. Anger cannot be a way of life.

Get to the root of the problem

Find a way to separate all the factors in your life until you are able to clearly see the issues and triggers causing you to flip your switch. Work to understand the cause in order to address the issues. If the problem is too much for you to handle, seek out help and find support. The process of managing your anger is not “one size fits all.” Find a way that works for you.

If you are a person (or know a person) whose anger issues have caused problems in life and relationships, take a moment and ask yourself these questions:

  1. What are the things that make me the angriest?
  2. Have I always struggled with this or did it start at a definable point?
  3. Is getting angry destroying things or relationships in my life?
  4. Am I okay with my behavior?

While the answers to these questions won’t fix things, they can place you on the right path toward changing things. Especially if the answer to #4 is “no”.

Have you found a way to deal with anger? Comment below.

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Dealing with Difficult People

angry-3233158_1920Whether we like it or not, we deal with people on a daily basis in both our personal and professional lives. Most often, people are easy to deal with, even pleasant, but unfortunately, there is always one bad apple in the bunch. So, what should you do when you have to deal with difficult people?

While it may be easy to get caught up in your emotions, work to maintain a level head. Remove your emotions from the situation and don’t take it personal. Take an objective approach to the situation to get to the root of the problem in order to move forward. You should also attempt to take an empathetic approach and put yourself in the other persons shoes as you never know what they are going through and what could be causing the difficult behavior.

If people are acting difficult out of spite, be sure to take a stand and draw boundaries about what is acceptable behavior. In order to make any headway with difficult people, you must be willing to openly communicate when people cross the line so that they understand when enough is enough. When you communicate the line, be firm in your stance and don’t allow others to push back.

When dealing with difficult people, there is always potential for conflict. When conflict arises, you should always try to de-escalate the situation. In order to be sure the situation does not escalate unnecessarily, never attack someone’s character. Other tips for de-escalating conflict include:

Although you may want to avoid dealing with difficult people, facing the issue is the only way to move past it. If you don’t address the issues sooner rather than later, it is likely that it will become a greater problem and start negatively affecting the other aspects of your life. While you may not be able to prepare yourself for every situation you might encounter, you can prepare yourself with some basic skills to hopefully address the problem early and be sure it does not escalate.

How do you deal with difficult people? Comment below!

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Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs & Happiness

Most people throughout the existence of their life strive to find and achieve happiness. There are a number of ways people work to achieve happiness. The problem with happiness is that each person defines it and finds it differently. Some people believe in happiness as a state of mind and therefor a choice we all actively make. Others find happiness through serving others. There are those out there that also believe happiness can be found in material life style. So what’s the real basis for happiness?

Since happiness can be difficult to find and there no uniform way to achieve it, lets break it down to a more fundamental level. If you are familiar with or have taken any level of psychology courses, you have likely heard of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Abraham Maslow was an American psychologist who founded the Hierarchy of Needs. The Hierarchy (pictured below) is in the shape of a triangle and progress through the priority of human needs. The triangle has 5 levels: psychological needs, safety needs, belongingness and love needs, esteem needs, self-actualization. These needs are further group into three main categories: basic needs, psychological needs, self-fulfillment needs.

maslow-5

When reading the hierarchy, start from the base of the triangle and move up. You are only able to move onto the next level if you are able to fulfill the first need. For instance, you are not able to fulfill self-actualization if you have not yet fulfilled your physiological needs or safety needs. You must progress through the hierarchy. The hierarchy is said to motivate individuals to fulfill these levels.

Now that you have a bit of a foundation on the Hierarchy of Needs, let’s bring this back to happiness. Do you think these basic needs must be met prior to achieving happiness? While I am not sure that is entirely true, just image where people fall on different levels of the hierarchy. Motivations and needs for individuals at the level of self-actualization will be extremely different than those currently on safety needs level. Their level of needs will alter their outlook on life, their activities and even their purchasing habits.

One of the most basic examples is purchasing power and needs. There has been some research strictly based on materialism as form of happiness. Based on research, it is believed that there is a  reliable association between experiential purchases and increased happiness is only present in people in higher social classes Individuals in lowers classes might gain happiness from both types of purchases, and sometimes mainly from buying material goods.

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The Fear of Missing Out (FOMO)

social-media-1233873_1920In the technology driven world we live in today, its easy to get wrapped up in social media and it is common to live vicariously through those you follow on all of the different social media platforms. Additionally, young adults often feel pressure that they need to keep up with their friends in a social context regardless of the consequences on their finances. A combination of social media and social pressures to keep up have caused the idea of fear of missing out (“FOMO”). FOMO is anxiety that is cause by the fear that you are missing out on something that is happening elsewhere that you could be viewing or participating in.

So how do you overcome the FOMO?

Social Media Detox

It has been theorized that because of FOMO can lead individuals to the addiction or abuse of social media by engaging in safety behaviors that are similar to behaviors associated with abuse, dependence, or withdrawal, to the addiction. Therefore, one of the most obvious solutions is to participate in a social media detox.  Did you know, on average, a person between 18 – 24 spends 1½ – 2 hours scrolling, tagging and sharing on social media. From a 2015 study, it shows that over the course of a day, that same person will check their phone around 75 times. If that isn’t obsessive, then I don’t know what is. Given the continuous improvements in technology, you can check your social media on your phone, computer, and even your watch. While it plays a crucial role in today’s society, make sure social media doesn’t consume you.

Some of the positive effects of a social media detox include: free time, create real world connections, live in the present, and filter what content and who you choose to keep in your life. Additionally, you will be able to better protect your privacy and live unattached to a phone.

Budget for Events and Activities

When trying to keep up with the social world, it has been said that people can make poor choices when it comes to money. In order to maintain a specific lifestyle and image on social media or when keeping up with your friends, many people are often going into debt to do so. While some might not understand the issue, it is quite serious. A survey completed by Credit Karma, nearly 40% of millennials overspend to keep up with friends. Of that nearly 40%, 73% of those who went into debt to keep up with their friends typically keep it a secret from their friends.

It is obvious that if people continue down the path of FOMO, the future looks grim for their finances. If you suffer from over spending due to FOMO, here are some ideas to help:

  • Creating a budget and work to stick to it
  • Check your budget at least once a month, but more often it is helpful to stay on track
  • Limit your debit/credit card uses
  • Use cash for social events to avoid over spending
  • Find free social activities

While it can be difficult to see how separating yourself from social pressures could be beneficial, but I think the research speaks for itself. There is this excessive pressure we put on ourselves to keep up with others and keep appearances, when that is far from the only thing that matters. There is a time and place for both social activities and social media, there is no need to feel pressured to keep up in any way. There are so many more important things you can invest both your time and your money into for greater future benefit. Don’t sacrifice yourself for the impressions of others.

What are your thoughts on the FOMO? Comment below.

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