Bliss Mission: 7 Ways to Be More Productive

Bliss Mission: 7 Ways to Be More Productive

First Meeting“Once you have mastered time, you will understand how true it is that most people overestimate what they can accomplish in a year – and underestimate what they can achieve in a decade!” ~Tony Robbins

Being productive feels good. On those days that I manage to do all the things on my excessively long to-do list, I just feel amazing. But then, there are those days where I don’t quite hit the mark, and I find myself feeling less than stellar.

(Insider Tip: You can learn to use feng shui principles to increase your productivity when you sign up for Feng Shui Fest–it’s FREE!)

I love my work, and though I occasionally have a tendency to take on too much, I still keep plugging–most days. And then, there are those days where I just feel like I can’t get anything done. What about you?

Do you ever feel like your productivity level is slipping a bit?

Maybe you thought you’d get four projects done today, but you completed only two. You ask yourself where the time goes and you’ve noticed you’re feeling disappointed in yourself and how you perform at work or at home.

Don’t worry, you’re not alone–this is all part of being human. But there are some simple things you can do to increase your efficiency and get more out of your life.

Hit the ground running. Be ready to go to work as soon as you arrive, whether you’re commuting an hour to your corporate job or 10 steps to a home office.

Using the example of work, visualize yourself on the way into the office, and then think about what it’s going to be like when you get there. Do you have three large stacks of paperwork to do? Articles to write, research to do? Phone calls to return?

Think about what you’ll do first. Perhaps you can complete that project you started last Friday with just a couple more hours of work. Put your mind ahead of your body’s arrival so you can get started quickly.

Learn to anticipate. When you consider what will be happening next, you’ll be ready to meet whatever challenge is occurring at the time.

For example, at home, you might think, “I know the kids will be hungry for a snack. I’ll get out that fruit salad from yesterday and give them glasses of juice right away so I can get to the laundry.”

Anticipate what might happen, and have a plan.

Develop a method of keeping track of tasks that works for you. Whether it’s speaking your list into your smartphone, jotting down things to do in your calendar, or carrying a spiral notebook, having a running list to look at or listen to will help you get more things done.

For me, it’s all about Google Calendar–I can have multiple, color-coded calendars in one, and I can share various calendars with various parties. In my case, I have a personal calendar as well as various work/editorial calendars, among others. All sync to my phone, and for the really important stuff, I set reminders to help me remember–sometimes several.

Whichever method you choose, be sure it’s convenient and works for you. Having some way to check-off items is helpful so you can tell at a glance which tasks you’ve completed and which ones remain–this also increases your sense of accomplishment and can help encourage you to keep on keeping on.

If you don’t already have a calendar or task manager tool in place, try a couple of methods until you find the list that’s easiest for you to use. There’s no one-size-fits-all solution here. Just find something that fits in your life and go with it.

Politely tell others you don’t “have a minute.” If you’re at work and people stop by your office to chat, feel free to say, “I’m sorry. I can’t talk right now but I’d love to have lunch today and hear more about this.”

When you don’t allow yourself to be interrupted, you can get a lot more done. Plus, others learn to avoid interrupting your work time.

On that same note, remember that you are not Superman or Superwoman, and that you have the right to say no, sometimes. For example, in my case, I might need to push back a deadline or explain that my schedule is too full to be on that committee or to plan that party.

I’m not going to lie. This one is hard for me. I find myself saying yes and just “making stuff happen.” But at times, this attitude makes my life more difficult in a number of ways, including lack of sleep, lack of personal time and more.

So sometimes, we all have to be strong and explain that we just don’t have time–and if possible, we can offer alternative options, but if not, we just have to politely say no.

Keep meetings brief. If you’re in a position to have control over meetings at work, make a goal to meet for 30 minutes max. If you go into a meeting with a written agenda, you’ll be ready to cover your points quickly.

Personally, I have a weekly meeting with my team at Scrubs & Suits. We always try to come in with an agenda, and since we’re a creative and inspired bunch, we have a tendency to get off-track and the  meetings can run long. But when I remind everyone early in the meeting that we are limited to a certain period of time, we manage to stay on track a bit more effectively.

So, when you’re leading a meeting, involve the group in helping to manage the time. And, if you’re not leading but you’re attending the meeting,  you can do your part by helping the group to stay focused.

Reinforce your efforts to achieve. Praise yourself each day. Maybe you completed a work project you’ve been working on for several weeks or cooked a great meal for friends and family.

Recognize the efforts you make to complete tasks. You deserve it, and you’re worth it–and you don’t need to wait for others to notice. Celebrate yourself, and stay positive about your efforts and achievements.

Allow yourself plenty of time in the morning. If you need an hour to shower, have breakfast and get your task list written for the day, then get up early enough to have your full hour.

When you respect your own needs, you’ll be better emotionally prepared to get things accomplished–and you’ll feel better when you make the effort to present the best possible version of yourself to the world around you.

And if you work at home, don’t think you’re exempt from this idea. You should still get up every morning (most mornings, anyway) and get ready as you would if you worked in an office–whether you’re a stay-at-home parent or you work from your home office, something about “getting ready for work” will change your mindset and help to increase your productivity levels (and you won’t have to hide when the UPS guy shows up.)

So, how about you? What are your best tips for increasing productivity and eliminating procrastination from  your life? Let’s discuss! Share your thoughts in the comments section, below.

 

How to Deal With Jerks and Gossip in the Workplace

How to Deal With Jerks and Gossip in the Workplace

gossip-girls-w347x346I’m not going to lie. I’ve done my share of gossiping over the years, and I’ve also been the subject of some interesting gossip here and there. But the truth is that negative gossip can be hurtful and can cause a number of issues, both personal and professional.

On a personal level, gossip can become so toxic that it can negatively affect your day-to-day life–and professionally, it can cause dissension among colleagues and can even go so far as to ruin careers or entire businesses.

That’s why managing workplace gossip is important for organizations and for the employees who work there. Here are some important steps you can take as a team and as an individual to encourage communications that benefit your emotional health and career.

Dealing With Gossip as a Team

Consider a ban on gossip. Some employers have adopted an official ban on workplace gossip and require employees to sign a pledge. Opinion remains divided about whether this practice is too extreme, but it can send a strong message.

  1. Encourage open communication policies. A more moderate step is promoting open communication policies. Let employees know that they’re expected to talk directly with each other about conflicts before calling in a supervisor or other outside parties.
  2. Comply with personal blog and general internet use policies. Keep an eye on e-mail and chat too. Appropriate blog and online policies can balance an employee’s right to personal expression while protecting the company and related individuals from harassment, defamation and other threats.
  3. Confront rumors promptly. Minimize anxieties by responding to rumors promptly. Factual information about layoffs or other difficult issues serves people better than leaving them to speculate on their own.
  4. Discuss the impact of gossip. Use staff retreats and other gatherings to remind everyone about the difference between positive communication and gossip. Prevention is better than singling people out after the damage is already done.
  5. Know your legal rights. In general, employers have a duty to take action against verbal harassment if they’re aware of it. An employment lawyer can advise you on what options are available in your individual situation. If you’re on limited budget, your local bar association may be able to help you find free or low-cost legal services in your community.

Dealing with Gossip As An Individual

  1. gossip recipeShare information. Being generous with non-confidential information can put a check on gossip. Keep employees informed with regular progress reports about work issues or projects. If your work is likely to affect someone else’s responsibilities, ask for their input and invite them to meetings.
  2. Be sensitive about appearances. Closed doors can set off alarms even when the explanation is innocent. Let people know that you’re just watching a webinar with the speakers on and it’s okay to knock or send you an instant message if they need something.
  3. Reach out to new people. Resist the tendency to form cliques by inviting someone outside of your usual circle to join you for lunch. Sign up for the company softball team or volunteer for a charity drive.
  4. Walk away. Gossip doesn’t spread easily if it lacks an audience. You can tactfully suggest a more constructive channel for stating a complaint or just remove yourself from the discussion.
  5. Focus on your colleagues’ good qualities. Tensions can build easily at work. Remind yourself about what you like about your co-workers and the things they’ve done to help you in the past. You’ll automatically have nicer things to say about them.
  6. Cultivate relationships outside of work. Devote adequate attention to your private life, especially if you work long hours. Having close relationships outside the office can provide you with sources of emotional support and objective advice when issues arise in the workplace.
  7. Get busy. The best antidote to harmful gossip may be just staying busy. If your day is full of tasks that you find challenging and gratifying, you’re less likely to get distracted by less constructive activities.

An office grapevine run amok can take a heavy toll on morale and productivity. Help your colleagues and yourself to create a work environment where open and respectful communications flourish.

Learn to use feng shui principles to increase your productivity and peace of mind when you sign up for Feng Shui Fest, a free online event

Have you ever dealt with gossip at work? How did you handle it? Share your thoughts in the comments section, below.

Bliss Mission: 7 Ways to Be More Productive

Career Bliss: Are you doing what you love for a living?

A lot of people don’t enjoy their job, they may even hate it, but I am lucky enough to be able to make a living through my passion.” ~Martin Yan

Seven years ago, I was working a job I didn’t love. I had a cubicle (albeit a big one) and I lived in the corporate world.

My career, while it was interesting and certainly kept me busy, was completely unsatisfying.

What I really wanted was an opportunity to do what I really loved–to be a writer. I even took on all the writing work my corporate job would allow.

I wrote letters to patients and to insurance companies, forms, brochures, training manuals, articles for the company website and more–you name it, I wrote it.

And then, one day, it happened–I lost the job for no legitimate reason. My boss of just a few months (who I had trained myself) decided he didn’t like the fact that I was a female running an all-male department (very successfully, for the record).

When he fired me, I asked him for any legitimate reason or proof of my inability to do the job–he could provide none.

It was simply a case of office politics gone wrong, and at first, I was really upset and angry.

But I quickly realized that I had manifested the situation myself.

You see, while I didn’t absolutely hate my job, I definitely didn’t love it. I had to talk myself into going to work each day, and I watched the clock closely as those eight hours draaaaaaaged on each day.

I secretly hoped I’d be fired, because then, I thought, I’d have an opportunity to focus on my true passion–writing.

And that’s exactly what I got.

So, I started my freelance writing business. It took a couple of years to really start bringing in a “real” income, but I loved the work, and it was worth it to me.

(Tip: Want to get out of the rat race? Check out my work-at-home jobs board or my freelance writing jobs board over at Practical Freelance Writer’s Guide!)

These days, I am happy to report, I’m a full-time writer, editor and social media expert.

I am so grateful to be among the ranks of people who get to get paid to do what they love, and I want everyone to have that opportunity.

That’s why, this week, Project Blissful will offer daily posts on work and career fulfillment. Along with my guest posters, I’ll be covering a variety of work and career-related topics each day this week.

We’ll cover how to know you’ve found your life’s work, how to stay sane at work, tips to improve productivity and working simple, and more.

Stay tuned!

Learn to use feng shui principles to increase your productivity and peace of mind when you sign up for Feng Shui Fest, a free online event

Are you doing what you love for a living? What is your dream career? Share your thoughts and feelings in the comments section, below.

 

14 More Ways to Look Thinner Instantly (Without Losing a Pound)

14 More Ways to Look Thinner Instantly (Without Losing a Pound)

Maria Sharapova unveiling the Canon PowerShot ...

“When you look good, you feel good. Confidence with what you’re wearing is very important. If you feel good, you will always perform your best without worrying about anything.” ~Maria Sharapova

Did you know that you could instantly look thinner without actually losing any weight? While you’re waiting to see results from diet and exercise, there are ways to slim down instantly. Try these tips for your wardrobe, hair, face, body and mind.

Wardrobe Tips to Help You Look Thinner Instantly

  • Wear one color at a time. Wearing a single color or similar shades for your whole outfit will help you to look thinner and taller. Black is a practical choice, but other colors can achieve the same effect. Solids are usually more slimming than prints.
  • Ensure that your clothes fit properly. Wearing clothes that are too small makes you look bigger. Seek a comfortable fit and professional alterations if necessary. Get a personalized bra fitting at any department store periodically to keep up with any changes due to aging or weight fluctuations.
  • Use undergarments with comfortable shaping. Body shapers and other compression garments are more comfortable than ever before. Invest in some strategic undergarments that will make all your clothes look better. I love Spanx–and just FYI, the Target cheapie version works great if you want to save a few bucks.
  • Choose slimming pants. Look for pants with a flat front and minimal detail. Skip the pants with hidden zippers and no pockets. Pant legs with a slight flare can also help you to look trimmer (but to be fair, they’re currently on their way out!).
  • Select flattering tops. Pay attention to the length of your tops. A top that ends below the waist will deflect attention from a thick middle. Similarly, a wide collar will help balance broad hips.
  • Wear the right shoes. Chunky shoes can make your legs look thicker. Look for narrow pumps with a slightly pointed toe rather than square or rounded toes. Nude shoes are especially good because they make your legs look longer. Any heel can reduce your weight visually.
  • Liberate yourself from the fear of swimwear. Many women shrink from shopping for swimwear but there are bathing suits designed for every body type. High cut legs can make you look thinner. Lightweight compression can keep you feeling comfortable and sleek.

More Tips to Help You Look Thinner Instantly

  • Use makeup to make your face more angular. Iridescent powder can make your face look thinner instantly by creating contours. Brush it along your brow bones and the top of your cheekbones to bring out your bone structure.
  • Make your eyes stand out. If your eyes look bigger, the rest of your face will appear smaller. Curl your upper lashes and apply extra mascara to your top outer lashes. Keep your eyebrows slightly arched and well groomed.
  • Get a flattering haircut. If you want your face to look less full, try cutting your hair shorter. Instead of bangs, pull your hair away from your face to make your face look longer. Choose a hairstyle that adds a little height and fullness at the crown.
  • Practice good posture. Develop strong abdominal muscles and hold your stomach flat at all times. Pull your shoulders back. It’s good for your health and makes you look leaner.
  • If you must tan, get a safe tan. If you ask me, tanning is SO over. But if you think that tanning makes you look thinner, do it safely. Sunless tanning products have come a long way in recent years. Daily tanning moisturizers are one easy option to get a little color gradually without any increased risk of skin cancer or premature aging.
 I’d rather go with something like a moisturizer with a ‘glow.’
  • Project a positive attitude. No matter what your dress or pants size is, you’ll feel more attractive when you cultivate a healthy sense of self-esteem and a genuine affection for others. Focus on your most attractive features and qualities.
  • Get a leg up. Many successful dieters are using a supplement called all-natural, bee pollen-based weight loss supplements, such as the My BFF (Body Fat Formula) line, to give them a leg up in the competitionLearn more about My BFF all-natural weight loss supplements and purchase them here.

Looking thinner can help you feel more confident and give you the encouragement you need to stick with your fitness program. Simple adjustments to your wardrobe and beauty routine can have a huge impact on your appearance and your state of mind.

Do you use any of these tips already? Are there some you’ll try now? What do you do to look and feel your best? Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments section, below.

Bliss Mission: 7 Ways to Be More Productive

Bliss Mission: Stop Feeling Rejected

Fear terror eye

We all have times when we don’t feel particularly comfortable with ourselves. Sometimes, you might wonder whether others actually like you.

It doesn’t make you a weirdo or a loser–we’ve all been there. It’s a normal part of being human. But good news–you can rid yourself of these worries, and it’s probably a lot easier than you think.

So what does fear of rejection look like, anyway?

You might feel scared about meeting new people or getting together with old friends. You think that people might reject you for one of a number of reasons. Maybe you think you’re having a bad hair day or those extra pounds you’ve put on have dampened your self-confidence. All these things can be part of fear of rejection.

Tips to Stop Feeling Rejected by Others

Figure out what really scares you.

Do you fear the opposite sex will be turned off by your looks or the clothes you wear?

Maybe you think that others believe you have a big nose or that you have nothing interesting to say. Are you afraid that you’ll say something silly and embarrass yourself?

The point is that you must know exactly what it is that you fear before you try to tackle it.

Dispute your fear with facts.

Let’s say your fear is that you aren’t as smart as others. When was the last time you were graded on something?

Chances are probably pretty good that you didn’t fail every time.

Acknowledge that there are times when you performed well. Write them down. Stick with reality when it comes to disputing your fears.

Stop worrying so much about what other people think.

If someone doesn’t accept you, that’s their choice. Really, it’s okay if someone doesn’t think you’re smart. You know the truth.

No one gets 100% acceptance 100% of the time. Admit that you can function just fine, live well, and excel, even if someone rejects you.
Even if 5 people reject you today, your life is still going to go on however you’ve planned from this point.

Before going to a party, acknowledge you might encounter someone whom you believe doesn’t like you. You’ll also meet some people who do like you. Also, recognize that you probably won’t know for sure one way or the other whether someone you just met likes you or not.

Exude the qualities you love in others

What makes you attracted to other people? Maybe you like people who show humor or smile a lot. Perhaps you gravitate toward those who are helpful to the host of the party.

Why not try displaying some of those pleasant characteristics that draw you to others? If you demonstrate the qualities that attract you to others, others will most likely be drawn to you as well.

Feel the fear and do it anyway. The best way to get rid of a fear is to repeat the behavior that brings on the fear until you become comfortable and are no longer paralyzed by that fear.

Follow through with attending parties, making the acquaintance of people, and facing your concerns. This is the single best way to learn that your fear is just a human emotion that you can overcome.

It’s time to stop feeling rejected. Banishing your fears of rejection is within your reach. Use what you know about what makes you like other people and let go of how others respond to you. Since fears are just emotions, you can face your worries and apprehensions. Doing so will bring you lasting confidence and satisfaction. Give it a shot!

What do you think? Can you get over the fear of rejection? Share your thoughts in the comments section, below!

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