Showing posts with label Life Lessons. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Life Lessons. Show all posts

Friday 29 September 2023

Part 3: How To Combine The Two And Come Up With Creative Solutions That Work!


Last but not least, we come to the fun stuff. In this section, we take a look at how we can combine creative and critical thinking to come up with out of the box solutions to problems that work. By combining both critical and creative thinking, we can take advantage of the benefits of both while avoiding the downsides. 

 

Let’s go back to the silly weight loss example to show how this can work in action. Again the idea is to lose a fair amount of weight. Cutting off a limb is obviously not an option, but we can take a look at some of the reasons that make this an attractive consideration. We lose a set amount of weight, and we lose it in a set amount of time. That may spark a thought about tracking weight loss in interesting increments (like losing the equivalent of 3 packs of butter, or the equivalent of your arm’s weight). It may also inspire us to set a date for which we want to have x number of pounds gone. It may even get us to think about and consider surgical alternatives like liposuction or stomach stapling. While those may not end up being the right solutions for you, it’s good to include them and think about those options. You never know where they may lead you. 

 

Looking into weight loss surgery may have you considering alternatives like fasting. At the very least, it will serve as a motivator if you want to avoid surgery at all costs. 

 

In this case, we started out with creative thinking and then moved into critical thinking. We got a complete picture, collected a lot of data, and then analyzed it logically to come up with the best solution. That’s a great way to approach this process. 

 

Another option is to start with critical thinking, then switch to creative thoughts to come up with more alternatives and more data sources. Then go back to critical thinking to determine what will work in the end. 

 

By combining these two ways of thinking, we can come up with new and innovative solutions that will work. At other times we may find that the old tried and true way of doing things is popular for a reason. It may end up being the best possible solution. We won’t know that though until we’ve thought about it critically and creatively, working through all possible alternative options. 

 

That’s why combining aspects of both critical and creative thinking is such a powerful strategy. Give it a try the next time you face a complex problem. Since switching between thinking creatively and analytically can be a little tricky at first, it can be helpful to sit down and work on creative brainstorming first. Get out a notebook and spend some time thinking of as many ideas as you can and write them down. Walk away for a bit and then get to work on the critical thinking part of the process, collecting more data, organizing it, analyzing it, and finally coming up with a workable solution. Rinse and repeat as needed until you find something that works well for you.

 

The more you get in the habit of practicing those creative and critical thinking skills and combining them, the better you get at it. Before long the entire process will become an integral part of how you approach problem-solving. 

 


Tuesday 26 September 2023

Part 2: What Is Critical Thinking?


Another problem-solving skill is critical thinking. It’s very different from creative thinking. Here the idea is to think logically and work from information and data collected. You start with the information gathering process and then sort and analyze it to find the best solution. You want to be as objective and unbiased as possible and come up with the best possible judgment based on the information you have. 

 

For example, if you are a project manager for a construction firm, you would gather information on what you need on the job site and then order the materials at the best price you can find. Another example a little closer to home would be the critical thinking you use when you’ve lost your car keys. You start to search the house room by room, possibly retracing your steps until you find them. That's a small-scale example, but it gives you an idea of what critical thinking is.

 

The significant advantage of critical thinking, as opposed to creative thinking, is that you usually come up with a workable solution. When you let your creativity run too wild, you end up with a fun potential solution but possibly not something that will work or even something you want to attempt to try.

 

Let me show you what I mean by an off the wall example that will illustrate my point. Let’s say you want to lose 25 pounds. When thinking creatively, you realize that the average human leg weighs about 26 pounds. Cutting one of yours off would instantly result in a 25+ pound weight loss. While creative, it’s also absolutely ridiculous. 

 

When you switch to critical thinking, you gather data and information on various weight loss programs as well as how the biological process of burning body fat works. As a result, you fast intermittently, eat more whole foods, and start to go for daily walks. It’s a much more workable solution, isn’t it? 

 

Think about some other times when you’ve used critical thinking to make important decisions. Maybe it was choosing the right health insurance or 401K plan. Maybe it was picking a house in a good neighborhood with great schools for your kids that fit within your budget. Maybe it was whether or not to make a big career move or relocate to a different area of the country. We use critical thinking skills all the time. They serve us well at home, school, and work. 

 


Friday 22 September 2023

Part 1: What Is Creative Thinking?


In this short article, I want to introduce you to an innovative way of thinking and problem solving that combines creative and critical thinking. These two approaches are very different. Each of them has advantages and disadvantages. By combining the two, you can tap into the power of both. 

 

Let’s start by taking a look at creative thinking, what it is, and how we can start to think more creatively. The phrase most often used to describe creative thinking is “think outside the box.” I like to think about it as a way to think about something in a new and different way. Look for the not so obvious solutions not thought of by anyone else. Yes, it will be out of the box thinking, but it can be so much more. 

 

Let’s look at an example of creative thinking. Suppose you just bought a new house, and between the cost of the down payment and renovations you had to make, you’re broke. Your neighborhood association sends you a letter that your yard needs to be redone to fit in with the overall landscape. There’s no money in the budget for landscaping. What do you do? 

 

You have to get creative. The obvious answer is to do it yourself, but that takes time, money, and skill that you may not have. Some creative options may be to get in touch with an up-and-coming landscaping company to see if they are willing to redo your yard for free or at cost price in exchange for putting up a sign to advertise their business in your yard. If you have web design skills, you could barter those in exchange for the work. Think outside the box and come up with a creative solution. 

 

To get your creative thinking cap on, you can ask yourself some interesting questions: 

 

Start with what if. Keep it very open-ended. In this first brainstorming stage, no idea is too ridiculous or impossible to throw out. While the idea itself may turn out to be unusable, it may spark a creative thought that will lead you to the perfect solution. 

 

Another great question to ask is “What else.” It encourages brainstorming and expanding on existing ideas. Last but not least, you can spark creativity by introducing an off the wall concept. For example, you could pretend that you have no income for the following year. How would you live and how would you pay for your home and renovations, including the yard? The solution may be to work on a side hustle like graphic and web design for small businesses in your area. That, in turn, will help you realize that you can pay for the landscaping by spending a few weekends on freelance projects. 

 


Monday 3 July 2023

4 Simple Ways to Avoid Procrastination When You Work from Home


Working from home is every office worker’s dream, right? But how do you stay on track and not get caught up in those endless procrastination loops? When you don’t have to go into the office, it’s easy to get distracted by all the comforts and demands of home life. Whether it’s a sudden urge to do housework or the immediate need for snacks, before you know it, you’ve frittered away a couple of hours and not got any paid work done. 

So how can you take back control and avoid procrastination when you’re working at home? 

 

1. Make an Office Space

 

Part of your procrastination problem is that your home is a relaxation space. When you’re in an office, everything is geared towards work and getting the job done. Home is about chillaxing, housework, familial responsibilities. You need to carve out some space that is just for your work. A separate home office is a perfect solution, but having a proper desk setup also works. Set yourself up with a water bottle and a bowl of fruit for healthy snacking and to stop those regular trips to the kitchen!

 

2. Learn to Prioritize

 

Be professional in organizing your time. Use a planner or a diary for deadlines and allot time in your day for particular tasks. If you’re a morning person, get your demanding or thought-heavy tasks done in the first half of the day. Conversely, night owls can choose to work late or use morning time to sort emails or do admin. Make a daily task list and check things off as you achieve them. That last achievement will feel like a slam-dunk!

 

3. Stay Motivated

 

Research has shown that lack of motivation is a crucial driver of procrastination. If your motivation is low, there’s little reason to get on with your work. 

 

If you find it hard to stay focused on your work, consider using rewards to boost your motivation. It can be as simple as choosing to do a work task before you check social media or have a movie night to celebrate hitting a milestone. If you’re struggling, try reframing each piece of work as money in your pocket.

 

4. Use Apps

 

Technology can be your friend in defeating procrastination. You can choose from several apps that will freeze distracting social media while you work. You can also choose to have a separate browser that is only used for work. Time tracking apps will help you see what you’re achieving, and as they generate reports, it will also help when it comes time for billing clients. 



Monday 26 June 2023

6 Changes to Your Schedule to Help You Manage Your Time Like a Pro


You’ve learned some tricks on how to manage your time, whether you’ve learned from a boss, a friend, or on your own. Yet putting those tricks into action is a different story. You have to learn how to make a schedule for yourself, which sounds about as daunting as being your own boss. Take out your self-starter hat and get ready to learn how to manage your time all on your own with these six hacks!

 

1. Leave Wiggle Room Between your Time Blocks

 

Friends, meet buffer-time. No one should have a fully stacked calendar with no time in between for a break. Block out buffer-time on your calendar in between meetings and tasks. Your future self will thank you when your days are more productive, and the hours are less exhausting. 

 

2. Organize Yourself

 

This is a big life change for some people because organization habits don’t always come easily. At first, it may feel like you are spending extra time trying to stay organized, but the payoff is worth it. Here’s a staggering statistic: On average, Americans waste about 2.5 days a year looking for misplaced objects. Don’t be part of that statistic! Find a place for your belongings and always put them back where they belong. This goes for computer files too! Create a simple filing system and save new documents to the correct location. 

 

3. Make Use of the 80-20 Rule

 

Have you ever heard of the Pareto Principle? Otherwise known as the 80-20 rule, this principle says that you can get 80% of the work done in 20% of the time. Similarly, 80% of the results come from 20% of the actions. It can be applied to many things in life, so it’s a great concept to apply to your usage of time. Get in the habit of noticing what tasks get the most results. Spend more time on those actions and cut out some of the responsibilities that take up time but don’t produce the outcomes you are looking for.

 

4. Stop Waiting

 

Every once and a while, you’ll inevitably have to wait for something: at the grocery store, in the doctor’s office, in traffic. Instead of actually waiting, or deferring to your phone for entertainment, do something productive with your time. Listen to a podcast you’ve been dying to try out, read a book on an interesting topic, or write in your journal. Turn waiting time into productive time.

 

5. Organize Your Tasks in Blocks

 

Batch all your similar tasks together. For example, don’t check your email every time someone pings you. If it’s urgent, go right ahead, but otherwise, set a time block every two hours or so to plow through all your emails at one time. This keeps you focused, which is a more efficient way to work. 

 

6. Try to Do Less

 

This may sound like a slacker approach, but it’s not. Believe it or not – we take on way more than we need to, meaning we take on more than is beneficial to our work. If you find yourself planning parties, chatting with your coworkers, and dabbling in another department’s workload, you may have spread yourself to thin. By doing that, you’re not helping yourself or your peers. In the end, you could wind up letting down people because you overpromise and under-deliver. 

 


5 Simple, Yet Effective Time Management Tasks You Should Start Using Today


Are you trying to become an expert time manager? Have you noticed you don’t spend your time well throughout the day? We could keep going with these questions all day, but that would be a waste of time, right? We’re going to jump into five simple, yet effective time management tasks you should incorporate into your daily life. 

 

1. Track your Time

 

If someone asked you how long you spend reading emails every day, what would you say? What about your lunch break? Chances are, you don’t really know how long you spend on certain time blocks of the day. Start tracking your time and learn how to make changes so you can maximize it. 

 

2. Set up Time Blocks

 

When you have a certain set of tasks to do every day, set up time blocks for yourself. Give yourself 2 hours to do one thing and then 1 hour for another. It becomes a competition against yourself because you’ll be rushing to beat the clock, competing against yourself.

 

3. Plan it out

 

Morning person or a night owl, it doesn’t matter. Use the beginning and the end of your day to make a plan and try your best to stick to it. Before you leave work at night, write a list of important tasks to get done the next day. In the morning, prioritize your list and review the items. Then, get to work!

 

4. Get it out of the Way 

 

Eat that frog – Mark Twain said it himself. Pick the most important, and most dreaded, tasks first, and knock them out first thing in the morning. It’s such a relief once you finish them, and then the rest of your day is devoted to tasks that you care more about and find more challenging. 

 

5. Delegate When You Can

 

If you have a task on your plate that a subordinate could do (maybe even better than you could), delegate it to them. Some people worry that this is a bad work ethic, but it’s part of company culture. You’re all on the same team, so it’s a matter of asking for help rather than being lazy. Understand what your point of genius is and use your time for those important tasks while handing off things that you aren’t great at or that are below your paygrade. 

 

We kept it simple with these tasks. Time management is an art worth perfecting, and you’ll get there. Check-in with yourself (and the clock), and make sure you’re really optimizing the hours you get in the day. And if you don’t, fear not! There’s always tomorrow. It’s a constant work in progress, so do your best, and the rest will fall in place. 

 


7 Tips for Creating a Simple Morning Routine at Work


When you want to create a better day for yourself, you need to start out where you begin. This means having a morning routine at work as well as at home.

 

Think about this for a moment. A morning routine at home will set you up for success by getting you out of bed and ready to transition into wakefulness. 

 

Likewise, a morning routine at work can get you settled into a mindset of getting work done and ready to face the work world. Think of it as a series of steps designed to transition you into productivity.

 

How can you do this?

 

Start with How You Get There

 

Don't arrive stressed out at the very last second. To set yourself up for success, it's important to arrive with time to spare after a relaxing commute. Strategize to make this happen by allowing enough time to get where you need to go. Also, consider your route. Heavy traffic or construction is always more stressful in the long run, so you might want to adapt your route to a quieter one to reduce unwanted stress.

 

Schedule Check

 

What do you have going on today? What work is expected from you by what time? Get a mental picture of the day by noting what needs to happen when.

 

Set-Up

 

What needs to happen so you can get your work done? Are you lacking supplies or resources? Are there things you might need to delegate? Taking a few minutes to track down these items will help the rest of your day run more smoothly.

 

Habit Check

 

What detractors are already pulling at you, trying to derail your day? If you're someone who checks your phone often or can get caught up socializing with coworkers, think about how you can limit these activities as part of your routine. For example, you might want to schedule email checks at certain times or limit socialization to break times.

 

Make a List

 

Jotting down the 3-to 4 big items you want to get done today will help give you a clearer view of what needs doing and set up your goals.

 

Get Comfortable

 

Before you buckle down to work, do you need coffee? A Bathroom break? Do these things now, so you don't have to break concentration later. Also, take a minute to stretch if you haven't yet.

 

Begin

 

Time to get going. Take the first item on your list and dive in, concentrating fully on what you’re doing.

 

Of course, adapt your routine to fit whatever you need to get started for the day. The key here is to be intentional in your actions, shift your mindset, and set yourself up for success. Do only what works for you.

 


Monday 19 June 2023

Avoid Burnout with These 3 Tips


Burnout is a real and quite damaging condition. Once you find yourself suffering from burnout, it can be difficult to turn your life around. This is why it is necessary to take steps to try and avoid burnout. 

 

1.    Set Boundaries

 

No matter what your profession may be, it’s important to have boundaries. You can’t be available around the clock; this is simply impossible. So, to prevent burnout, it’s critical to establish boundaries of times you will not be available. This means that you won't be in the office or available by phone or email during these times. If you are in a management position, it might help to post these hours somewhere or adjust your email auto-reply, so people know you will answer as soon as you are available.  

 

2.    Have A Work-Life Balance

 

Besides just setting boundaries, you need to have time to do things that aren't workplace-related. This means you have time for your hobbies, your family, and just doing what you love. This doesn't have to be complicated, and it could be as simple as taking one afternoon a week to go for a walk in your favorite park. Whatever it may be, it needs to be something you want to do, and you need to put your foot down if work ever tries to interfere with your time.

 

3.    Put Yourself First

 

Whatever could be going on at your job, if you start not to feel well or feel overwhelmed, you need to put yourself first. This means that, even if your group just started a new project, if you need a mental health day, you take one. You will be no use to your group if you begin to feel burnout and your mental abilities begin to deteriorate. 

 

Putting yourself first is especially important when you start to feel the symptoms of an illness. Although it may be tempting to say it's just a cold and go to work anyways, this will only make you feel worse and put yourself closer to burnout. Stay home and rest instead. 

 

Overall, in this day and age, it may seem difficult to avoid the condition of burnout. But you can—as long as you remember to set boundaries, have a work-life balance, and put yourself first. And if you follow these tips, not only will you avoid the damages of burnout, but you'll also go through life feeling less stressed as well. 

 


It's Never Too Late to Learn That Tomorrow Never Comes


If you have a few dirty dishes in the sink, no worries. You can always get to them tomorrow. You don't feel like doing them right now, and that's okay. There's always tomorrow. Wrong! Tomorrow never comes. All you ever have is the present moment. There's this moment in time right now, and that's it.

 

You're probably thinking that tomorrow is almost on the horizon already. If today's Monday, you know tomorrow is Tuesday. We get that. What we mean is that if you regularly adopt the policy that you can do today's tasks tomorrow, you will eventually see a tomorrow with too much to accomplish. You'll have tons on your plate because you kept procrastinating, and your responsibilities have piled up.

 

The Negative Power of Procrastination

 

SolvingProcrastination.com is a website all about, you guessed it, procrastination. They want to share a lesson that time eventually teaches us all. Procrastination is dangerous.

 

If putting things off hasn't caused any real harm in your life, good for you. The problem is, that scenario might be telling you that if you procrastinate every now and then, what's the big deal? Don't fall into that mindset, that way of thinking.

 

The negative effects of procrastination are plenty. How serious are they? Check out this warning published on the website we just mentioned.

 

"Procrastination is associated with a variety of dangers and negative effects, including worse academic performance, worse financial status, increased interpersonal relationship issues, reduced well-being, and worse mental and physical health."

 

That's rather scary. What's even more bothersome is that the person who procrastinates often gets dealt with several of those issues simultaneously. They're closely related because of certain behaviors. 

 

Frequently putting things off can be very stressful. That stress attacks the body internally. Your overall health and well-being worsen, and you might have self-esteem issues because you never accomplish everything.

 

Do It Today or Write It Down

 

If you've got something small to do, something that doesn't take much time, do it. Stop reading this right now and go and do it. If it requires more time, planning, or the accumulation of resources, break out your day planner. Write it down. Schedule it. You get much more done in your life when you write things down. This has been proven in several studies.

 

Stop procrastinating. It can wreck your mental and physical health. Procrastination ruins relationships and does damage in so many other ways. Stop putting things off unnecessarily. This is a lesson life's ticking clock eventually teaches all of us, but you were reminded of it today, so you've got a jump on Father Time.



Monday 12 June 2023

Personal Autonomy: Strengthening Your Ability to Be Independent


Lately, the discussion has been focused on how to reach a level of personal freedom in your life that helps you achieve life goals. Being independent and practicing personal autonomy has its advantages, like having no one to answer to but yourself.

 

it encourages you to become self-aware while taking in the big picture. So, you’re not just focused purely on your needs, but you recognize that you’re part of a thriving community, with certain responsibilities, privileges, and freedoms.

 

Interested in finding out how your personal autonomy can strengthen your ability to become independent? Then, keep reading!

 

What Is Personal Autonomy?

 

There are several ways to describe personal autonomy, from being free to follow your heart to having a sense of determination and self-endorsement. Yet, the simplest explanation is that personal autonomy is your ability to act on your interests and core values.

 

Having that drive to keep you on track makes it easier to live on your own terms and live according to your desires and personal beliefs rather than being goaded to conform to someone else’s beliefs.

 

Yet, at the same time, personal autonomy requires a high degree of responsibility. You have to make informed decisions and learn how to back them up and take ownership of things when anything goes wrong. 

 

It also means that you’re able to manage yourself and take initiative when needed. It’s all about getting things done consistently without needing anyone to remind you.

 

How Can Personal Autonomy Strengthen Your Ability to Be Independent?

 

Now that we know what personal autonomy means, let’s look at some ways it can help boost your independence.

 

Have Initiative

 

Having personal autonomy means trying new things. They don’t have to be big things; they can even be trying that new coffee spot you’ve been eyeing for a couple of weeks.

 

Then, step by step, you’ll be able to go on to larger tasks. For example, you can try getting ahead start on a work presentation earlier in the week to avoid having to deal with that dreaded deadline looming overhead.

 

You could also show initiative at work by taking on additional tasks or doing a bit of research on your own regarding a certain project.

 

Initiative doesn’t have to be at work only. Why not take up a DIY project you’ve been wanting to try out? How about volunteering several hours a week at a local shelter or soup kitchen?

 

Get Organized

 

Being organized doesn’t just mean tidying up your workspace, picking scattered documents off the floor, or alphabetizing your bookshelf. Don’t get me wrong, all that sounds great! But it’s not enough for personal autonomy.

 

To actually become independent, you need to learn how to organize and manage your time and money. Luckily, dozens of life-saving apps can help you do just that.

 

Start by writing down all the things you do during a typical workday. Then, expand it to a whole week and eventually to an entire month. Don’t forget to schedule how long each task or activity takes. Also, remember to include any chores, errands, appointments, or sports events going on during that time.

 

An independent person is capable of efficiently mapping out their schedule. They’ll also be able to remove or postpone certain tasks if things get too hectic.

 

Be Responsible

 

We also talk about being responsible, but what does it actually mean?

 

Basically, responsibility is knowing what you have to do, getting it done on time, and taking credit for your hard work. You’re dependable, you honor your commitments, and keep your word no matter what.

 

That’s the cheerful side of responsibility. You’ll know you’ve made it when you feel that you’re on top of your game and everyone is singing your praises.

 

Yet, it’s not always so bright and cheery, especially when you have to muster up the courage to hold yourself accountable instead of coming up with excuses or blaming others when things don’t go as planned. Let’s be honest here, sometimes that can be easier said than done.

 

Yet, as soon as you admit that you were wrong about so-and-so, or that you failed to meet certain deadlines, you’ll instantly feel better. Then, you’ll be able to move on from that and work towards fixing what needs to be fixed.

 


Monday 5 June 2023

5 Tips for More Effective Conflict Resolution


Conflicts are bound to happen, whether at home, at work, or in between. Unfortunately, what can start as something trivial can quickly escalate to something much more serious in a matter of minutes.

 

That’s why it pays to know how to effectively resolve any conflict you find yourself in. This way, you can create some healthy boundaries and balance your emotions without creating unnecessary stress and anxiety.

 

Here are five tips for more effective conflict resolution that will help you out of any jam. Take a look.

 

Tip #1: Find the Source of the Conflict

 

The first step in conflict resolution is to identify the source of the problem. Once you identify the issue, you can start taking the right measures toward fixing it.

 

On the other hand, if you carry on without knowing exactly why you’re feeling the way you do, you’ll be angry and all worked up without really knowing why.

 

So, while it may seem like a waste of time at first, if you think about it, you can’t solve any problem unless you first find the source of the problem.

 

Here’s another way of looking at it:

 

When you identify the root cause of the issue, everyone involved can help strive towards not repeating the same thing in the future.

 

Tip #2: Find a Quiet and Safe Place to Talk

 

Once you understand the underlying causes of the conflict, it’s time to bring in the other person if you haven’t already. The thing about conflict is that you have to nip it in the bud and address it in a timely manner, so it doesn’t manifest into something bigger over time.

 

Remember that there’s nothing wrong with having a difference of opinion every now and then. Yet, it’s how you communicate that makes all the difference in the world!

 

However, we’ve all been in similar situations and it can be daunting to try and engage in this type of discourse. Yet, you have to muster up the courage and just start because the sooner you deal with it, the better the outcome will be.

 

Tip #3: Actively Listen

 

Active listening plays a big role in determining the way your conflict resolution proceeds. So, you have to be patient when it’s the other person’s turn to speak.

 

Write down any rebuttals that pop into your head to avoid interrupting them.

 

Show that you respect the other person’s emotions and point of view. This way, they’ll make it a point to try and do the same when it’s your turn to speak.

 

Tip #4: Point Out Ways to Solve the Problem

 

After each person has had their chance to talk and listen, the next step is to try and find some sort of middle ground that both parties can agree on.

 

You’ll probably need a pen and paper or a board to write down your ideas. Then start brainstorming.

 

Write out all the ideas that come, even the crazy ones. Those are usually the ones that lead to an effective end to the problem.

 

Although, there’s one critical thing to always remember when working to resolve any conflict, and that’s to only focus on the issue at hand and not the person.

 

This will help make the other person feel safe enough to start finding ways to solve the issue, rather than always be on the defensive or feel like they’re constantly being judged.

 

Tip #5: Agree on the Best Solution

 

Finding common ground can be easier said than done. It requires each party to own up to their part of the conflict.

 

Not only that, but it also means they have to put in the effort of looking for a suitable compromise. Plus, they have to take the necessary steps to resolve it and make sure it doesn’t happen again.

 

That can only take place once all parties have set clear expectations while respecting the other person’s differences. Also, it’s helpful to think of conflict as an opportunity to grow. When it’s managed properly, it can bring great insight and help you become more attuned to your needs and the needs of those around you.

 

The good news is that after opening up communication lines, taking the time to listen, and collaborating on solutions, it’s all downhill from there. It becomes easier to establish neutral ground where everyone feels comfortable speaking and sharing ideas.