Friday, December 23, 2016

How to better engage millennials in employee benefits

By With No comments:

Our country’s young adults have officially taken over the workforce. Millennials are 75.4 million strong and compose nearly one-third of the U.S. workforce — and that number will continue to grow. The 19- to 35-age range is set to make up half of our workforce by 2030.

Despite a reputation for being well-educated and tech-savvy, research shows that millennials have low participation rates in employee benefits and are less likely to know about their employers’ benefits compared to other age groups.

So how do HR professionals encourage employees — of all ages — to take advantage of consumer-directed benefits, such as health savings accounts, healthcare and dependent care flexible spending accounts and commuter benefits? It’s no small task. In order to educate millennials about their benefits options and drive participation, HR leaders need to be deliberate about what information is sent to employees, how it is delivered and why they should care.

Hitting “send” on the right platform

Millennials certainly like their mobile devices — 77 % own a smartphone. In addition, this age group accounts for 41% of the total time that all Americans spend using smartphones. In order to communicate with millennials, it must be done in a way that will make the most impact, capture their limited attention spans and stand out among competing information. Open enrollment and year-round benefits should be no different. Because millennials spend so much time on their smartphones, their benefits education and enrollment process should be provided on these devices, in a format that’s simple and familiar to them.

It’s important to go beyond face-to-face benefits meetings and paper-based communications, as millennials consume information differently than previous generations — they are accustomed to being fed bite-sized pieces of information. Aim to work open enrollment information into their daily news feed, sharing information that’s easily accessed from their phones, where they can quickly scan and click embedded links to a site where they can take action. By capturing their attention via emails, ad tiles, banners and videos, you can creatively communicate how the benefits work, how to enroll and how employees can save money by taking advantage of offerings like commuter benefits.

When communicating these benefits to employees, highlight ease of use and mobility features that will appeal to millennials. For example, many may not realize that some consumer-directed benefits, including HSAs and FSAs, can be easily managed by downloading an app. The WageWorks EZ Receipts mobile app, for example, allows benefits participants to manage their benefits accounts from anywhere—with the ability to snap and submit photos of receipts, file claims electronically, and view transactions and account balances right from their phones.

Focus on the benefits that matter most to millennials
Because of their current stage of life —perhaps living in a big city, earning entry-level or mid-level income and living without any dependents — millennials’ ideal benefits package will likely look different than that which is appropriate for an executive with a family of four.

Rather than giving an all-encompassing overview of every potential benefit offered to employees, HR leaders should highlight those that make the most sense for millennials and provide information in bite-size portions. It’s also important to be transparent about true costs. Millennials tend to be reluctant to enroll if they are unsure about how the benefits work, how they save and their out-of-pocket costs. Benefits communications should include real-life savings examples that allow millennials to better understand how pre-tax contributions can lead to significant annual savings and potential savings for retirement if HSAs are offered. For example, outlining to employees how an employee making an annual salary of $60,000 can take home $2,025 in tax savings by contributing the maximum amount to an HSA when paired with a high-deductible health plan, may peak their interest.

As for which benefits to focus on, FSAs and commuter benefits are typically home runs for millennials. Many millennials are not flush with cash, so they love how FSAs can help alleviate out-of-pocket healthcare expenses like prescriptions and copayments. Commuter benefits are particularly appealing for city-dwelling millennials, as they allow employees to save money on routine commuting costs via public transportation and even ride-sharing services like uberPOOL. Whether employees are living solo in the city or commuting to and from work from their parents’ homes in the suburbs, commuter benefits are a great way for millennials to put extra money in their pockets each month.

Looking ahead: Anticipating and educating on future benefits needs
While employees’ younger years present a great opportunity to save money while moving their way up the career ladder, millennials’ benefits needs will transform as their lives change.

Once millennials get married, they may want to increase annual contributions to HSAs or FSAs, as pre-tax funds can be used for eligible healthcare costs for spouses. Not long after that, millennials may benefit from a dependent care FSA to cover childcare costs or elderly care for aging parents.

Additionally, as millennials jumpstart 401(k) savings, they should also be aware of how HSAs can act as a 401(k) for healthcare. Projected healthcare costs in retirement show a massive increase, so millennials need to be prepared and start saving now to prevent unexpected costs that could cause them to dip into their savings for medical reasons.

Open enrollment can be a stressful time of year for both HR leaders and employees, but with the right preparation and tools, HR leaders can engage with millennial employees in a way that helps them save money in the short-term and better prepare financially for their futures.

Read More

Monday, December 19, 2016

The Love-Quotes That Change Your Life

By With No comments:

Quotes from Bob Marley. This quotes will change yourself. This is ultimate tips to improve your self-esteem.

someone who can completely turn your world around. You tell them things that you’ve never shared with another soul and they absorb everything you say and actually want to hear more. You share hopes for the future, dreams that will never come true, goals that were never achieved and the many disappointments life has thrown at you. When something wonderful happens, you can’t wait to tell them about it, knowing they will share in your excitement. They are not embarrassed to cry with you when you are hurting or laugh with you when you make a fool of yourself. Never do they hurt your feelings or make you feel like you are not good enough, but rather they build you up and show you the things about yourself that make you special and even beautiful. There is never any pressure, jealousy or competition but only a quiet calmness when they are around. You can be yourself and not worry about what they will think of you because they love you for who you are. The things that seem insignificant to most people such as a note, song or walk become invaluable treasures kept safe in your heart to cherish forever. Memories of your childhood come back and are so clear and vivid it’s like being young again. Colours seem brighter and more brilliant. Laughter seems part of daily life where before it was infrequent or didn’t exist at all. A phone call or two during the day helps to get you through a long day’s work and always brings a smile to your face. In their presence, there’s no need for continuous conversation, but you find you’re quite content in just having them nearby. Things that never interested you before become fascinating because you know they are important to this person who is so special to you. You think of this person on every occasion and in everything you do. Simple things bring them to mind like a pale blue sky, gentle wind or even a storm cloud on the horizon. You open your heart knowing that there’s a chance it may be broken one day and in opening your heart, you experience a love and joy that you never dreamed possible. You find that being vulnerable is the only way to allow your heart to feel true pleasure that’s so real it scares you. You find strength in knowing you have a true friend and possibly a soul mate who will remain loyal to the end. Life seems completely different, exciting and worthwhile. Your only hope and security is in knowing that they are a part of your life.

Read More

Mahatma Gandhi's Top Fundamentals to Change & Improve the World

By With No comments:

“You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty.”

“The difference between what we do and what we are capable of doing would suffice to solve most of the world’s problem.”

“If I had no sense of humor, I would long ago have committed suicide.”

Mahatma Gandhi needs no long introduction. Everyone knows about the man who lead the Indian people to independence from British rule in 1947.

So let’s just move on to some of my favourite tips from Mahatma Gandhi.

1. Change yourself.

“You must be the change you want to see in the world.”

“As human beings, our greatness lies not so much in being able to remake the world – that is the myth of the atomic age – as in being able to remake ourselves.”

If you change yourself you will change your world. If you change how you think then you will change how you feel and what actions you take. And so the world around you will change. Not only because you are now viewing your environment through new lenses of thoughts and emotions but also because the change within can allow you to take action in ways you wouldn’t have – or maybe even have thought about – while stuck in your old thought patterns.

And the problem with changing your outer world without changing yourself is that you will still be youwhen you reach that change you have strived for. You will still have your flaws, anger, negativity, self-sabotaging tendencies etc. intact.

And so in this new situation you will still not find what you hoped for since your mind is still seeping with that negative stuff. And if you get more without having some insight into and distance from your ego it may grow more powerful. Since your ego loves to divide things, to find enemies and to create separation it may start to try to create even more problems and conflicts in your life and world.

2. You are in control.

“Nobody can hurt me without my permission.”

What you feel and how you react to something is always up to you. There may be a “normal” or a common way to react to different things. But that’s mostly just all it is.

You can choose your own thoughts, reactions and emotions to pretty much everything. You don’t have to freak out, overreact of even react in a negative way. Perhaps not every time or instantly. Sometimes a knee-jerk reaction just goes off. Or an old thought habit kicks in.

And as you realize that no-one outside of yourself can actually control how you feel you can start to incorporate this thinking into your daily life and develop it as a thought habit. A habit that you can grow stronger and stronger over time. Doing this makes life a whole lot easier and more pleasurable.

3. Forgive and let it go.

“The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.”

“An eye for eye only ends up making the whole world blind.”

Fighting evil with evil won’t help anyone. And as said in the previous tip, you always choose how to react to something. When you can incorporate such a thought habit more and more into your life then you can react in a way that is more useful to you and others.

You realize that forgiving and letting go of the past will do you and the people in your world a great service. And spending your time in some negative memory won’t help you after you have learned the lessons you can learn from that experience. You’ll probably just cause yourself more suffering and paralyze yourself from taking action in this present moment.

If you don’t forgive then you let the past and another person to control how you feel. By forgiving you release yourself from those bonds. And then you can focus totally on, for instance, the next point.

4. Without action you aren’t going anywhere.

“An ounce of practice is worth more than tons of preaching.”

Without taking action very little will be done. However, taking action can be hard and difficult. There can be much inner resistance.

And so you may resort to preaching, as Gandhi says. Or reading and studying endlessly. And feeling like you are moving forward. But getting little or no practical results in real life.

So, to really get where you want to go and to really understand yourself and your world you need to practice. Books can mostly just bring you knowledge. You have to take action and translate that knowledge into results and understanding.

You can check out a few effective tips to overcome this problem in How to Take More Action: 9 Powerful Tips. Or you can move on to the next point for more on the best tip for taking more action that I have found so far.

5. Take care of this moment.

“I do not want to foresee the future. I am concerned with taking care of the present. God has given me no control over the moment following.”

The best way that I have found to overcome the inner resistance that often stops us from taking action is to stay in the present as much as possible and to be accepting.

Why? Well, when you are in the present moment you don’t worry about the next moment that you can’t control anyway. And the resistance to action that comes from you imagining negative future consequences – or reflecting on past failures – of your actions loses its power. And so it becomes easier to both take action and to keep your focus on this moment and perform better.

Have a look at 8 Ways to Return to the Present Moment for tips on how quickly step into the now. And remember that reconnecting with and staying in the now is a mental habit – a sort of muscle – that you grow. Over time it becomes more powerful and makes it easier to slip into the present moment.

6. Everyone is human.

“I claim to be a simple individual liable to err like any other fellow mortal. I own, however, that I have humility enough to confess my errors and to retrace my steps.”

“It is unwise to be too sure of one’s own wisdom. It is healthy to be reminded that the strongest might weaken and the wisest might err.”

When you start to make myths out of people – even though they may have produced extraordinary results – you run the risk of becoming disconnected from them. You can start to feel like you could never achieve similar things that they did because they are so very different. So it’s important to keep in mind that everyone is just a human being no matter who they are.

And I think it’s important to remember that we are all human and prone to make mistakes. Holding people to unreasonable standards will only create more unnecessary conflicts in your world and negativity within you.

It’s also important to remember this to avoid falling into the pretty useless habit of beating yourself up over mistakes that you have made. And instead be able to see with clarity where you went wrong and what you can learn from your mistake. And then try again.

7. Persist.

“First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.”

Be persistent. In time the opposition around you will fade and fall away. And your inner resistance and self-sabotaging tendencies that want to hold you back and keep you like you have always been will grow weaker.

Find what you really like to do. Then you’ll find the inner motivation to keep going, going and going. You can also find a lot of useful tips on how keep your motivation up in How to Get Out of a Motivational Slump and 25 Simple Ways to Motivate Yourself.

One reason Gandhi was so successful with his method of non-violence was because he and his followers were so persistent. They just didn’t give up.

Success or victory will seldom come as quickly as you would have liked it to. I think one of the reasons people don’t get what they want is simply because they give up too soon. The time they think an achievement will require isn’t the same amount of time it usually takes to achieve that goal. This faulty belief partly comes from the world we live in. A world full of magic pill solutions where advertising continually promises us that we can lose a lot of weight or earn a ton of money in just 30 days.

Finally, one useful tip to keep your persistence going is to listen to Gandhi’s third quote in this article and keep a sense of humor. It can lighten things up at the toughest of times.

8. See the good in people and help them.

“I look only to the good qualities of men. Not being faultless myself, I won’t presume to probe into the faults of others.”

“Man becomes great exactly in the degree in which he works for the welfare of his fellow-men.”

“I suppose leadership at one time meant muscles; but today it means getting along with people.”

There is pretty much always something good in people. And things that may not be so good. But you can choose what things to focus on. And if you want improvement then focusing on the good in people is a useful choice. It also makes life easier for you as your world and relationships become more pleasant and positive.

And when you see the good in people it becomes easier to motivate yourself to be of service to them. By being of service to other people, by giving them value you not only make their lives better. Over time you tend to get what you give. And the people you help may feel more inclined to help other people. And so you, together, create an upward spiral of positive change that grows and becomes stronger.

By strengthening your social skills you can become a more influential person and make this upward spiral even stronger. A few articles that may provide you with useful advice in that department are Do You Make These 10 Mistakes in a Conversation? and Dale Carnegie’s Top 10 Tips for Improving Your Social Skills. Or you can just move on to the next tip.

9. Be congruent, be authentic, be your true self.

“Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.”

“Always aim at complete harmony of thought and word and deed. Always aim at purifying your thoughts and everything will be well.”

I think that one of the best tips for improving your social skills is to behave in a congruent manner and communicate in an authentic way. People seem to really like authentic communication. And there is much inner enjoyment to be found when your thoughts, words and actions are aligned. You feel powerful and good about yourself.

When words and thoughts are aligned then that shows through in your communication. Because now you have your voice tonality and body language – some say they are over 90 percent of communication – in alignment with your words.

With these channels in alignment people tend to really listen to what you’re saying. You are communicating without incongruency, mixed messages or perhaps a sort of phoniness.

Also, if your actions aren’t in alignment with what you’re communicating then you start to hurt your own belief in what you can do. And other people’s belief in you too.

10. Continue to grow and evolve.

”Constant development is the law of life, and a man who always tries to maintain his dogmas in order to appear consistent drives himself into a false position.”

You can pretty much always improve your skills, habits or re-evaluate your evaluations. You can gain deeper understanding of yourself and the world.

Sure, you may look inconsistent or like you don’t know what you are doing from time to time. You may have trouble to act congruently or to communicate authentically. But if you don’t then you will, as Gandhi says, drive yourself into a false position. A place where you try to uphold or cling to your old views to appear consistent while you realise within that something is wrong. It’s not a fun place to be. To choose to grow and evolve is a happier and more useful path to take.

Read More

The Year of Financial Feminism: Big Idea 2017

By With No comments:

I’m going to be crass. My mother is going to be appalled….but I’m going there. I’m going to talk about money. Women and money.

It may be trite to say “money is power”….but money is power, particularly in a capitalist society. As professional women come to terms in these closing days of 2016 that our progress in business has slowed to a crawl – despite all of the energy around it over the past few years – they will look for new means to move forward.

My 2017 Big Idea is that this is the year in which “financial feminism” becomes a things. It is the year in which the term “empowerment” (which the dictionary defines as “to be given power”….to be given!) bows out of the feminist vocabulary. It is instead the year in which professional women recognize we don’t need “to be given” power; it is the year that we recognize that wealready have tremendous power, and, increasingly, the means to use that power. 

How much power? In the US, women direct 80% of consumer spending, control $5 trillion of investable assets, jointly control $6 trillion of investable assets and represent half of the workforce. Yep, that’s power.

To some extent, of course, it has been untapped power; for so long, the best we could do was decide not to buy Carl Jr’s hamburgers because their commercials are (incredibly) offensive. But in 2017, we have the increasing means to use that power: rapid changes in information dissemination and the proliferation of start-ups organizing that information are changing the equation.

We can now direct our purchases to reward companies that align with our values. There are any number of new businesses to help us do this. For example, BuyUp Index is an app that scores companies from which we buy based on their commitment to gender diversity. And DoneGood is a new browser extension that enables us to identify companies that make the world better, through diversity, but also on measures like environmental friendliness and cruelty-fee products. These are just two; there are more.

We can also now direct our investments: my own Pax Ellevate Global Women’s Index Fund and the new She ETF Index invest in the top-rated companies for advancing women. At the same time, impact- and values-based investing spaces are well-outstripping growth in the traditional asset management business. These type of investing vehicles have swiftly moved from “tree-hugging, granola-eating, don’t-they-have-to-be-return-diminishing-?” offerings to much more mainstream.

And we can have much more knowledge before we go to work for companies. Services like FairyGodBoss provide company reviews for women, by women; this can give us the information, and frank assessments, we need on what people-and-family-friendly policies companies have in place before we work there (or, heck, while we work there, so that we can engage with them around these issues). 

Smart companies will get this shift and recognize it for the positive that it is. Companies that play the “business as usual” game will be hit; they likely won’t realize why for some time, as they begin to slowly lose females as customers, employees and investors.

So, yup, money is power, and as a group, professional women have a lot of it. We are reaching a tipping point in which we more thoughtfully direct our money to have an impact.

That said, as individuals, we have more progress to make. Today, women retire with 2/3s the money of men; at many socio-economic levels, we have much less wealth than that, in comparison to men, over our lives. This is particularly true for women of color and those with disabilities. The negative implications of this were laid out in a January 2016 article on the importance of the f*ck-off fundfor women, which attracted a lot of attention and discussion. It’s worth a read (and for you gentlemen, too, and most particularly if you have a daughter). It’s a heart breaker. 

The money issue cannot be boiled down to being caused by just “one thing:” professional women continue to face a range of money gaps, which can cost us millions of dollars over our lives. The gender pay gap is well known, but there’s also a gender work achievement gap, a gender debt gap, a gender funding gap, a gender expense gap, the unpaid labor gap and a gender investing gap.

So 2017 will also be a year in which women become increasingly attuned to these gender money gaps, and the costs to them personally; and they will renew their efforts to close them. Here again, new businesses and technology can accelerate this. Women can turn to services like GetRaised to calculate their own gender pay gap and get steps for reducing it; GetRaised claims the average raise they help women get is about $6,700. Women can turn to services like LearnVest to work to reduce their gender debt gap, and to my own Ellevest, which is committed to helping women close their gender investing gap.

(For more, we’ve written a whole Ellevest e-book on the topic of the gender money gaps, quantifying them and providing sources, advice and hacks for closing them.)

Personal conversations around money have been hotbeds of shame for forever (for so many reasons: because we don’t make as much money as we “should,” because maybe we make more than our friends, because our parents fought over money, because we were told it was tacky to discuss, because it seems to say so much about how others perceive our worth). What is different now is that services like the ones above are giving individuals the information and tools – and therefore the power – to take action. It’s a lot easier to gather this information on a Sunday afternoon on your computer than to poll your friends.

So, in 2017, the wake-up call of 2016 will provide a spark. The election brought into sharp relief the slow progress on the advancement of professional women – and in some arenas – outright regression. This will provide the incentive for women to take action; and they will have more information and more means to take that action than ever before.

Money is power. Financial feminism will come of age in 2017.

Read More

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Why Being a Perfectionist Could Ruin Your Business

By With No comments:
Being a detailed nitpicker is more curse than blessing when it comes to running a business. Here are 4 signs you're too focused on the details and headed for a downturn

Most of us know this scenario all too well: You have a new project to tackle, and you’ve been going over it in your head and imagining how amazing the results will be. You know you’re capable of achieving your end goal because you have high standards and you’ve pushed yourself to continuously evolve and move forward.

Why Being a Perfectionist Could Ruin Your Business
There’s nothing wrong with setting a high bar for yourself, but if your inner critic has come on a little too strong lately, it'll do more harm than good for your business.

In many ways, we’re all perfectionists. After all, who wouldn’t want to be the best possible version of themselves? The problem is, when you become too obsessed with perfection, you end up placing value on the wrong things, which can actually hinder your ability to produce great work. Stanford professor John Perry wrote about this mindset in his famous 1996 confessional essay, "Structured Procrastination," where he explained that once the bar has been set too high, people naturally start putting off tasks because they’re afraid they won't be able to meet those high expectations.

The Price of Perfectionism

But perfectionism is common today simply because we’re taught from an early age that if we work hard enough, we can achieve whatever we want. That push for perfection can help us achieve our goals—but it can also quash our dreams. It all depends on what type of perfectionist you are.

In 1978, psychologist Don Hamacheck identified two forms of perfectionism: normal and neurotic. According to Hamacheck, the normal perfectionist strives to achieve greatness but doesn’t obsess about it or let it affect their happiness. The neurotic perfectionist, on the other hand, is miserable and often feels fear, shame and worthlessness because their happiness is linked to impossible goals. These neurotic perfectionists have inner critics that castigate them or tell them they’ll never be good enough.

If your constant need for perfection becomes obsessive, it can ultimately ruin your career, according to LaRae Quy, a speaker, author and mental toughness coach, who recently wrote about the topic of perfectionism on her website. But how do you know if you're a perfectionist and whether it's helping or hindering your business? These four tips can help you decide.

1. It Takes You Longer to Complete Tasks

Time is money, and if you’re an avid perfectionist, you’ll likely take twice as long to complete tasks because you’re so focused on making every detail perfect. "Successful people make decisions on how to make the best use of their time," Quy writes. "They do not focus on perfection or being the best; instead, they work on doing what is needed to get the job done."

Wasting your time revisiting already completed work will also leave you with less time to pursue other projects. In the end, no matter what profession you’re in, you lose. Instead, you should strive for excellence but also know that perfecting every detail doesn't matter.

2. You’re Working More Than Necessary

When you believe every task needs to be completed perfectly, you’ll put in the extra hours you think are necessary. What perfectionists don't understand is that no one expects “perfect” work. Instead, they expect competent work that's completed by the deadline—your extra hours or tweaking and re-tweaking will likely just leave you exhausted without getting any extra attention from your client. Even worse, if you’re too wrapped up in the details of a project, you’re probably missing out on better and more important opportunities.

3. You’re a Know-It-All

Perfectionists often believe they need to have all the answers. On the other hand, the most successful leaders know that being great means not having all the answers, but finding them.

“Resist the urge to be a perfect know-it-all and step back,” Quy writes. “Do not be afraid to respond by probing and asking even more questions, but focus on asking the right questions so the answers will lead you closer to finding success.” In short, admitting when you need help will get you a lot further than thinking you can do it all on your own.

4. You Can’t Evolve Quickly

The most successful business owners need to be able to think fast on their feet, but perfectionists may pine over a problem because they just can’t risk it not being the best way to get things done.

“The desire for perfection will cripple your need to adapt to fast-moving situations where minds need to remain nimble and flexible," Quy explains. Instead of focusing on solving a problem the first time (which is what perfectionists do), the better choice would be to continue trying new things until you find something that works well enough for you.

When you’re competing in today’s business environment, there are any number of reasons why you want to achieve excellent results and produce the very best work you know you’re capable of. But as our world spins faster and becomes more innovative, the people who will make it are the ones who continually adapt until they find something that works and the market responds to.

When you find yourself obsessing over details that stop you from doing the work necessary to compete, it's time to ask yourself: What do you really gain from being a perfectionist?
Read More

The 5 Worst Leadership Mistakes (and How to Fix Them)

By With No comments:
Are you making one of these common leadership mistakes? Simple tweaks can help you create a workplace with more engaged—and more effective—employees.

Teams are such an integral part of our workplace today that you'd think business owners would have mastered the skills to help their teams function at their very best.

Sadly, it seems we keep making the same leadership mistakes. Following are five you may very well be making with your employees—and the strategies you can use to fix them.

1. Forgetting That Your Team Is Made Up of People

It’s easy to get caught up in the “million things to do” and “I’m so busy” trap. Everyone is too busy these days. But when you’re leading a team, taking the time to check in with them is critically important. After all, they're the people who get things done in your company.
Each task you continue to do yourself is a task no one else in your company knows how to do.

Fix Suggestion: Consider setting up individual, once-a-week check-ins with each of your employees or, if your company is too big for that, with each of your direct reports. You may think you don’t have time for this, but trust me on this one, you probably do—and it will likely pay off big time for your company. If you dedicate 30 minutes every week to meet with each of your team members, you'll often be able to better guide them as needed and stay on top of what’s happening with them on the work front.

2. Doing It All Yourself

It’s really easy to justify taking care of a problem yourself that should be delegated to an employee by saying, “It'll only take me a few minutes.” But if you have several of those a week, they can add up and eat up a chunk of your time that would be better spent in other ways. Plus, each task you continue to do yourself is a task no one else in your company knows how to do.

Fix Suggestion: Figure out what tasks you're doing that can be delegated to someone else. You might think you know exactly what these tasks are—that you've been keeping a mental list—but that would be a mistaken assumption. A better way to find out what you should delegate is to keep track of your time for a week, then decide which of those tasks can be passed on to someone else. Once you’ve decided, you can jot down the process for the task, meet with the person you're delegating the task to, and do the hand off. It often helps to keep the communication lines open so the task gets done properly.

3. Missing Opportunities to Provide Feedback

People crave feedback about their work. If you’re the kind of leader who thinks that providing a paycheck for your team is feedback enough, then you may want to rethink your leadership strategy. Telling employees (publicly) when they’ve done a great job and (privately) when they need to do a bit of improving is key to keeping people engaged in their work.

Fix Suggestion:  Just say thank you. It’s amazing how this simple phrase can make someone’s day. Better yet, telling an employee what a good job they did on a project and identifying specific reasons why it was good will go a long way toward keeping them motivated. The same goes for helping them improve. Your employees want to do good work. Your employees usually want to do good work. Sharing pointers and “tips of the trade” can help them be better.

4. Not Knowing When to Be “Hands On”

Most of us worry so much about being a micromanager that we tend to skew in the other direction of being too “hands off.” But that’s not a good idea either. There’s a reason why there are leaders in an organization—to lead and manage the direction of the company. That requires you being present and knowing when it’s the right time to stay a bit closer to what your team is doing.

Fix Suggestion: If you have seasoned employees, you have a pretty good idea of what their capabilities are. But if your team is new, understanding how they work will take some getting used to. Being “hands on” isn't a one-size-fits-all proposition. Take into consideration the task at hand and the skills of your employees when deciding how much managing you need to do. Each situation will be different.

5. Forgetting to Communicate the Target

It’s tough for your team to help you hit your business targets if they don’t know what they look like. Your hopes, dreams and goals for making success happen shouldn’t just live inside your head.

Fix Suggestion: Meet with your employees annually to establish goals for the year. One of the best ways to get them really engaged in the outcome is to have them be a part of the goal-setting process. Once your goals are set, don’t shove them into a folder and forget about them. Make sure you review them on a regular basis to assess your team’s progress and make adjustments as needed.

Being an effective leader may not come naturally to everyone, but by putting a few key strategies into play, you can develop your skills and create a successful team.
Read More

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

23 Sites Where You Can Get Free Stock Images For Your Blog

By With No comments:
Many bloggers rely on Pinterest to generate visitors to their sites, which means that ALL bloggers need high quality images on their blogs. This typically isn’t too difficult for fashion bloggers, who usually include images of themselves on their blogs that can then be pinned to Pinterest. It’s also not too difficult for food bloggers who usually share drool-worthy images of their creations.

For the rest of us though? Creating Pinterest-worthy images can be difficult, to say the least!

The one thing you absolutely don’t want to do is search Google and use any old image that you find on your blog. Using a photo without permission could land you in legal hot water. Stories of bloggers paying hundreds to thousands of dollars in fines for copyright infringement are all over the internet.
Thankfully, there are plenty of sites where you can purchase stock photos, such as BigstockPhoto.com (my personal favorite) or iStock (which is owned by Getty Images). I’ve had great luck purchasing stock photos in the past, but it can be expensive!

Luckily, there are plenty of places online where you can get free stock images! Free stock images will help your site look great and you will be able to create Pinterest-worthy graphics that will help draw visitors to your website.
Need photos? Bookmark these 21 sites where you can get free stock images for your blog!

1. Death to the Stock Photo

Register for their list and each month you will receive a new pack of royalty-free stock images that you may use any way you like.

2. Free JPG

Free photos for commercial and editorial use with no restrictions.

3. Free Images

Images are free as long as you stick to the rules in the Image license Agreement. Also, in some cases you may need to notify the artists about using the images and sometimes you need to give credit to them. You can see these restrictions under the image previews, right next to the Download button. You also need to sign up for a free account in order to download images.

4. Gratisography

Free high-resolution photographs that are free of copyright restrictions. New photos added weekly.

5. Jay Mantri

The images found on this site are Creative Commons Public Domain, meaning you can “copy, modify, distribute and perform the work, even for commercial purposes, all without asking permission.”

6. Magdeleine

Hand-picked free photos. Some photos require attribution.

7. morgueFile

Free high resolution stock photos for commercial or personal use.

8. Negative Space

Free stock images with no copyright restrictions. Premium photos are also available at a cost, although you set the price you want to pay and 50% of that is donated to charity.

9. New Old Stock

Vintage photos from public archives. “Free of known copyright restrictions.”

10. Pexels.com

10 new high-quality stock photos are released each day at Pexels. No restrictions on use.

11. PhotoPin

Use PhotoPin to search through hundreds of thousands of free stock images. They provide HTML code that makes it easy to provide attribution to the photographer or original source of the photo (see above!). You can also sort by license type (commercial or non-commercial) to make sure you are getting the correct attribution.

12. Picjumbo

Download beautiful free photos for commercial and personal use.

13. Pixabay

Hundreds of thousands of images are listed on Pixabay. You may download, modify, distribute, and use them royalty-free for anything you like, even in commercial applications. Attribution is not required. This is one of the first sites I recommend searching if you are looking for free stock images for your blog.

14. Public Domain Archive

100% free high-resolution stock photos from the public domain.

15. Refe

High-quality, royalty-free, natural-looking photos. Please note: “Photos cannot be resold or redistributed on its own, or used in a product offered for sale where the item contributes to the core value of the product being sold.” In other words, you can use these photos in projects, but not if you plan on selling said project.

16. Splitshire

Frequently updated free stock images for commercial use. No copyright so these images can be used almost anywhere but they cannot be resold.

17. Startup Stock Photos

Free images depicting everyday life at a startup/ in an office.

18. StockSnap

Frequently updated archive of free stock images that are free from copyright restrictions with no attribution required.

19. Stock Vault

Printing and reproduction of the images on Stock Vault is prohibited. Images can be used on non-commercial websites.

20. Travel Coffee Book

You’ll find beautiful travel photos at Travel Coffee Book, all of which are public domain and can be used in any and all projects.

21. Unsplash.com

10 new high-resolution photos every 10 days. No attribution required.

22. Free Food Photos

If you love using photos of food on your site you will love FreeFoodPhotos.com, where they have tons of stock food images that can all be used for free – even in commercial projects – as long as attribution is given.

23. Good Stock Photos

One new photo is added to this site each day. Photos can be used on personal and commercial projects.

Read More

30 Ways to Promote Your Blog Post for Free: Digital-Marketing

By With 1 comment:
How to promote your blog post for free? Where to promote blog post without any cost? How to get more traffic to your blog? There’s a lot of work that goes into running a blog. It used to be that you could just write a post and more or less forget about it, but these days writing is the easy part. The hard part is all of the promotion you have to do afterward to ensure that people actually SEE your post! If you’re trying to figure out how to drive traffic to your blog, here are 30 places you can share your latest blog post.

How to Promote Your Blog Post for Free

Pinterest

This is pretty much a no-brainer at this point in time. If you’re not yet on Pinterest, you need to join, period. Share your blog posts… and repin and like other the stuff shared by others.

Quick Tip: According to Social Warfare,* which is a social sharing plugin that I highly recommend, the best image size for Pinterest is 735p x 1100p.

Pinterest Group Boards

You need to create your own space on Pinterest, and once you’ve done that you should join Pinterest group boards. Pinterest group boards are just that — they are boards that have a bunch of different collaborators so you can all take advantage of one another’s followers to promote your posts even further.

If you’re unsure of where to find group boards to join, check out the following Facebook group, which is for anyone who wants to collaborate on group boards:

    https://www.facebook.com/groups/pinterestboards/

Twitter

Like Pinterest, it goes without saying that you should share all of your blog posts on Twitter. You should tweet them out multiple times, in fact, as the average “shelf life” of a tweet is just 10 minutes! Don’t spam people, obviously, but you definitely shouldn’t just tweet something once and then forget about it.

In addition to sharing your own content, don’t forget to retweet the content of others and share content that isn’t from your blog. Try to make your Twitter account a good source of information for others in your niche.

Twitter Chats

Keep an eye out for blogging-related Twitter chats that you can join, as some of them will let you promote your blog posts. Becky Bedbug has a good list of blogger twitter chat times if you are interested in checking out a few.

Twitter Hashtags

Use the appropriate hashtags to get your posts found by others. For instance, The Blogger Hub does #BloggerSunday, where you can share your latest blog posts… and hopefully others will see and share your posts, too!

Click to Tweet

Click to Tweet isn’t something you can do to actively promote your posts, but it may encourage more shares of your content! With Click to Tweet you write out the text of a tweet – perhaps a quote from your post – and include a bit of code within your blog post. Your readers can then click a button and have your pre-written tweet get sent out automatically!

Click to Tweet is a must-have tool for bloggers! It's an easy way to encourage your readers to share more of your content.


The ability to do this easily comes packaged with the Social Warfare plugin, or you can go to ClicktoTweet.com to create the code.

Your Blog’s Facebook Page

While you will hear every blogger under the sun complain about the Facebook algorithm and how it means that nobody who subscribes to your page will ever see your post (and this is true and I complain about it, too), it’s still worth having a page because you just never know. Use your page to share your content, as well as related content that you think your fans will enjoy.

Your Blog’s Facebook Group

I don’t know if Facebook Groups are a newer phenomenon or if I am just late to the game, but creating a Facebook Group for your blog is a great way to connect with your readers. One of the reasons a Group is awesome is because group members will receive a notification whenever you post, which theoretically means everything you post won’t get lost in Facebook-land! However, remember to have a conversation and not just spam your group members with links to your posts.

Tiffany wrote a great post about the differences between Facebook Pages and Facebook Groups, if you’re unsure of whether you should choose one or the other or both.

Create a Facebook Live Video in your Facebook Group

Facebook now gives you the option of streaming live video within your Facebook Group. This can be a great way of letting your group members know when you have a new post, talking about the post a little more in-depth, or even answering questions about the post.

Personal Facebook Page

It never hurts to promote your blog posts on your personal Facebook page. Theoretically you’d be sharing with the people who know you best, so they might even be inclined to share for you, too… if you ask nicely.

Facebook Social Sharing Groups

While you might have your own Facebook Group, I would also recommend joining some Facebook Social Sharing Groups. With these groups, others will share your content in exchange for you sharing theirs. It’s a great trade-off that can drive instant traffic to your site. Honestly, I think it’s one of the best ways to promote your blog post for free. You can ask people to share your pins, retweet your tweets, or like your Facebook posts. These types of groups can really help generate buzz around your posts!

Google+ Page

I’m not going to pretend Google+ makes any sense to me or that I spend anytime on the site because frankly I get a headache just looking at it. BUT there are plenty of people who do still use Google+, so I recommend setting up your Google+ profile and sharing your posts on your page. There are rumors that Google still favors items being shared on its platform although I’m fairly dubious about that since nobody seems to have proof that this is true. That being said, it never hurts to do whatever you can to curry favor with the Google gods.

Google+ Communities

A few weeks ago I learned that Google+ Communities are a thing. I honestly had no idea. They’re a little like Facebook Groups, except that a lot of them are HUGE. The nice thing about Communities? You can find communities that fit your niche and share your blog posts! Some communities don’t allow post sharing, so be sure to follow the rules.
Depending on how many communities you join, this can be a great way to promote your blog post for free and get it in front of lots of eyes. To find the Communities feature, log in to Google+ and then look for “communities” in the panel on the left side of the page.

YouTube

Much like using Facebook Live to promote your posts to your Facebook group, you could do the same on YouTube. You know how some authors are creating book trailers for their latest releases? You could do the same on YouTube. Or you could use Youtube to go more in-depth about the topic in your post and then leave a link to your post in the comments.

Are you an active YouTube user? We’re just getting our channel set up to include more blogging tutorials. I’d love it if you’d follow the Oh, She Blogs! YouTube channel!

LinkedIn

I’m not sure that LinkedIn is the best platform for ALL blog posts, but depending on what you’re writing about it could be a great place to share with like-minded people. Some LinkedIn Groups will let you share posts and you could also created a business page for your blog to share all of your posts there.

Reddit

Reddit is one of those internet things that’s just too big for me to really conquer. Reddit has its own rules and ways of doing things. Some will tell you to get involved in subreddits and then casually insert your blog posts when appropriate. I’m not going to do that because I don’t know enough about Reddit culture. What I will recommend is checking out the Blogging Board on Reddit because there’s an area where you can submit one new blog post each week. That board is here:

    https://www.reddit.com/r/Blogging/

Note: You will need to register for a Reddit account to participate

Tumblr

Tumblr is a very unique blogging community where people love to share the stuff written by other people. You could build up a community there by posting some of your content or supplementary content and then linking back to your blog posts.

Put your Blog URL in your Instagram Profile

Instagram allows you to use one clickable link in your profile. Use this space to direct people back to your blog!

Some people update the link every time they post something new on their blog, while others have it linking to their homepage. Either option is fine, just don’t keep that space blank!

Be sure to check out Oh, She Blogs! on Instagram while you’re setting up your link!

Instagram images

Is there a way that you can post something on Instagram that ties back to your most recent blog post? Fashion bloggers do this regularly by posting a photo of what they’re wearing and then directing people to click the link in their profile to get more details from their blog. Try to think of creative ways that you can harness the power of Instagram to send people back to your blog.

Send a Blast to your Email Newsletter

If you’ve set up an email newsletter on your blog, be sure to send out a blast whenever you’ve updated your blog. You can do this automatically with many services or you can do it manually. Regardless, these people have signed up because they’re interested in the content you are creating so be sure to let them know you’ve published something new! 

Claim your Blog on Bloglovin’

When Google Reader shut down (RIP), Bloglovin’ became the number one RSS feeder that was directing traffic to my site. While anyone can add your RSS feed, be sure to claim your site so that you can get access to analytics and such.

Make an RSS feed available

Bloglovin’ is an RSS feeder used by some, but there are tons of other RSS aggregators out there so be sure to make an RSS feed available so that people can stay up-to-date with your posts.

Reach Out to Other Bloggers

I’m not going to tell you to reach out to every blogger you’ve ever heard of whenever you publish a new blog post. Frankly, ain’t nobody got time for that. BUT, if you’re mentioning a blogger in your post or just flat out think it will be something they love, why not? If you don’t want to email the blogger directly, include them in a Tweet or send them a message through their Facebook page.

StumbleUpon

StumbleUpon can be a great site for sending traffic your way and it’s a great way to promote your blog post for free, although what you’ll get from StumbleUpon is typically not high-quality traffic that will keep returning. Nevertheless, it never hurts to get even a temporary bump in traffic! The thing with StumbleUpon is that they really frown upon you only submitting your own links, so to get the most out of this site you will want to make sure you are sharing content that’s not yours as well. Not only that, but you should regularly visit the site to Stumble and give a “thumbs up” to posts that you enjoy.

Triberr

I don’t really use Triberr – although I just set up a Tribe on there – but it appears you can start or join Tribes to start sharing your blog content. You can also view the content being shared by others.

I’ve been seeing a lot of people with cool email signatures and I finally bit the bullet and registered for Wisestamp yesterday when I saw that you could use your email signature to promote your latest blog post. There’s a free version that includes Wisestamp branding (it’s not too obvious) or you can get the branding-free version for $4.99 per month. Wisestamp works seamlessly with Gmail and I am seriously in love!

If you don’t want to use a service like this, however, you can always update your email signature manually with your latest blog post.


Social Media Buttons
While adding social media buttons isn’t an action you can directly take to promote your blog posts for free, you need to have these buttons on your site to encourage your readers to share! I will generally share posts that I find compelling, but I won’t go out of my way if I don’t have easy access to a share button. I use Social Warfare on this site, which is a paid option, but SumoMe is a fantastic free option.

Ask Readers to Share

This one seems pretty simple, but sometimes it’s as simple as asking your readers to share your content!  Some bloggers put a little blurb above their social links that says something like, “If you’ve enjoyed this content we would really appreciate you sharing it with others.” You can even add something to your post. Sometimes people just need to be pointed in the right direction.


Comment on Other Blog Posts

I feel a little iffy about adding blog comments as a way you can promote your blog post for free because there’s no way of knowing if commenting will send traffic back to your blog immediately. What it will do is build up good-will with other bloggers and create a backlink to your site. Backlinks are always a good thing! Some bloggers also install CommentLuv, which is a plugin that will add a link to your latest blog post along with your comment.

One thing I absolutely do not recommend doing, however, is just leaving comments that are links to your blog. I promise you that nobody likes that!


Link Parties

Back when I first started blogging Link Parties were all the rage. I’m not sure if they’ve fall out of favor or if I’m just not seeing them as often, but they are definitely a great way to promote your blog post for free. Whenever I participate in one, which is admittedly rare, I see a nice bump in traffic! The way a link party works is that you add your blog link to the virtual party via a form that is provided, and then you visit some of the other participants and they return the favor.

My Joy Filled Life has an amazing list of 200+ Link Parties that are listed by the day of the week, which I highly recommend checking out if you want to make link parties a part of your promotional strategy. There are bound to be at least a few that fit your blogging niche.

And a Bonus…
IFTTT

While this isn’t a specific idea, I highly recommend seeing if you can use IFTTT to promote your blog post in any additional places. If you’re not familiar, IFTTT lets you create “recipes” – or use other people’s recipes – to automate processes. For example, whenever I post something on Instagram it automatically gets shared on Twitter and Facebook.

IFTTT works with tons of different services and they’re always expanding, so it’s worth keeping an eye on the site just in case a new way that you can automatically promote your blog post for free appears.

*Despite the number of times I mention it, this post is not sponsored by Social Warfare. They’ve just created a great app that I love and use quite a bit for blog promotion purposes!


Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, which means we may receive a commission if you click a link and purchase something that we have recommended. While clicking these links won't cost you any extra money, they will help us keep this site up and running AND keep it ad free! Please check out our disclosure policy for more details. Thank you for your support!
Read More

6 Tips To Make You A More Productive Entrepreneur

By With No comments:
Entrepreneurs can be one of the most frustrated sets of individuals! You want to know why? This is because it can be very difficult excelling as an entrepreneur considering the peculiar challenges that entrepreneurs encounter. Entrepreneurs who do not learn how to cope with peculiar challenges such as absence of regulatory mechanism, poor internet connection, infrastructural deficits may end up becoming unproductive and eventually frustrated. In this post, you will learn about tips you need to know in order to more productive as an entrepreneur.
6 Tips To Make You A More Productive Entrepreneur
Constantly Write Down Your Goals – Big or Small: As simple as this may sound, there are many entrepreneurs who go about their daily activities without having goals for the day. They believe in the principle of “do it as it comes”, or “anything goes”. The fact remains that such attitude towards work would never lead to efficiency and productivity because such entrepreneurs do not have a guide or anything to measure their level of success or accomplishment at the end of each day. Setting goals as an entrepreneur helps you to stay focused in the course of carrying out activities, whether daily, weekly or monthly. Also, setting goals helps you to measure your level of success as an entrepreneur. 

Make Plans Ahead of Time: This point basically underscores the previous point on writing down your set goals. Multitasking leaves us forgetting a lot of things we are supposed to do hence, it’s advisable to always take notes as you go along. To overcome the challenge of being under undue pressure and missing out important details, it is best you meticulously plan your tasks for the year, breaking them down into monthly, weekly, and daily activities. With this, you have a structured and organized plan on the activities you have to carry out on daily basis.

Leverage on Available Resources: To achieve some goals you just have to tap into the opportunities presented by others. Leveraging on other people’s accomplishment provides a cheaper and faster way of getting things done. You pay little or nothing to leverage on other people’s expertise; they could be  friends, relatives or just acquaintances. With the avalanche of operational softwares at our disposal, there are so many free applications entrepreneurs can introduce to their businesses that will aid effective and efficient execution of tasks and activities.

Learn to Cut Cost: As much as every entrepreneur has the dream of ‘starting big’, you need to put that on the back burner and actively come up with plans on how to bootstrap. At times, the first few years of setting up your business can be very stormy and to forge ahead during this period, you must reduce your cost. For instance, it would be illogical for a fledgling entrepreneur to budget a very huge chunk on marketing and advertising.

Delegate and Outsource Tasks – You Can’t Be A One Man Army: To be a productive or more productive entrepreneur, you must learn how to delegate tasks to other members of the team. The fact is you cannot carry out all the activities that need to be done on your own. You can reserve only core tasks that require your utmost attention for yourself. Delegating tasks helps you to concentrate on the few most important tasks you have allotted for yourself and provides you with ample time to concentrate on coming up with innovative ideas to move your business forward. In a case when you can’t find any member of the team to deliver on the task, then you can outsource such tasks to experts. There are a thousand and one freelancers both online and offline who charge very little for helping you get some tasks done within a short time.

Take Breaks: Working non-stop may be the best way to grow your business as an entrepreneur, but on the flipside, it could also be counterproductive. Research has proven beyond doubt that taking intermittent breaks from work helps re-energize the body and gives you a fresh outlook on things.

Read More

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Earning Money from Your Articles

By With No comments:
I often read of internet marketers extolling the virtues of article marketing — how it is a great way to market a website, get more backlinks, more traffic, and establish the writer as an expert in the field. However, I’ve seen very few people talk of how a small online business actually make money from their content through syndication.

In the early 90s with the dotcom boom, content syndication seemed easier to do, even if you have a small online presence. In the pre-Adsense era, you don’t have to be a Reuters or Associated Press to earn money through syndication. Companies such as iSyndicate (bought out by YellowBrix) and ScreamingMedia (bought out by Dow Jones’ MarketWatch) accepted even small content providers — and getting accepted and syndicated by these agencies assures you of earning a few thousands a month.

Instead of giving away your content for free in websites such as EzineArticles.com, check first if you can generate revenues from them. Today, here are some companies that can help you earn more money from your content:

    Mochila = free to join and you will set the price for your content. Mochila gets 30% of the selling price while the publisher gets 70%.
    Uclick = syndicates works of cartoonists, puzzle constructors/developers and gamers
    iCopyright = one of the leading reprint solutions today allowing publishers to earn by selling reprints of their content. Publishers pay a percentage (about 10%) of the closed sale done through iCopyright technology
    Associated Content = pay range is about $3 to $20 and accepts both exclusive (never been published before content) or non-exclusive (previously published).
    YellowBrix = top tier content providers; hard for small businesses to get accepted as a provider
    Suite 101 = they recently relaunched the site and now accepts freelance writer for a revenue sharing proposition. Writers earn a percentage of the income earned from Google Adsense ads served on the article pages. The downside is that they want to be first place where you publish the article, and wants the article to be exclusive to Suite 101 for 1 year – after which you can republish in other places including your website (a significant downside if you have your own blog and website)

If you know of other places that can help in syndicating and monetizing content, please let me know.
Read More

How to Earn from Stock Photography

By With No comments:
If you are an amateur photographer or simply someone who loves to dabble in photography, you may be able to earn money from your images. The business of stock photography has grown significantly on the Web, which in turn has allowed photography enthusiasts to find a marketplace for their images.
 

How to Earn from Stock Photography
If you have good images, you can easily earn anywhere from $300 to $1,000 a month. Here are some places where you can sell your photos and earn money from them:

  • Shutterstock = one of the most, if not the most popular micro stock photography sites on the Web today. Some photographers earn about $600 a month from this site alone. The site pays you $0.25 per download of your images, as well as referrals both in terms of other photographers and photo buyers.
  • Alamy = as a contributor, you get 65% of the sale of your photos while you retain copyright and editorial control over your images
  • Photoshelter = this site has over 25,000 buyers including magazines, advertising agencies and other high profile types of organizations. They will host your images, the number of which will depend on your subscription plan which ranges from free to $49.99 per month, and they take 10% of every sale you make.
  • Fotolia = a UK website, this site provides commission to photographers of up to 80% though the average is about 52% of the total sale price. You can choose to sell your images on an exclusive or non exclusive basis.
  • iStockPhoto = royalty structure is 20% if non-exclusive and 40% if exclusive.
  • CanStockPhoto.com  = earn a commission ranging from $0.30 to $13.25 per download. Photographers earn 20% for single image license. You can also earn $5 for referring a photographer for every 50 photos they sell.
Other sites that you need to check include:

    Acestock http://www.acestock.com/
    Corbis http://www.corbis.com/
    Dreamstime http://www.dreamstime.com/
    BigStockPhoto http://www.bigstockphoto.com/
    Fotolibra http://www.fotolibra.com/
    Photostockplus http://www.photostockplus.com/index.php

If you are an amateur photographer or simply someone who loves to dabble in photography, you may be able to earn money from your images. The business of stock photography has grown significantly on the Web, which in turn has allowed photography enthusiasts to find a marketplace for their images.
Read More

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Meditation makes you more creative

By With No comments:
Certain meditation techniques can promote creative thinking. Particular types of meditation can generate insight and new ideas, according to recent studies.

Benefits of meditation

Together these two studies suggest that different types of meditation may be useful for different aspects of creativity.
For generating new ideas, an open monitoring style performs best, then for solving an existing problem, a more focused attention style provides the best results.

Meditation makes you more creative
It also may begin to show why the previous studies on the connection between meditation and creativity have provided such mixed results.
Two ingredients of creativity

The study investigates the influences of different types of meditative techniques on the two main ingredients of creativity: divergent and convergent styles of thinking.

Divergent thinking

Divergent thinking allows many new ideas to be generated. It is measured using the so-called Alternate Uses Task method where participants are required to think up as many uses as possible for a particular object, such as a pen. 

Convergent thinking

Convergent thinking, on the other hand, is a process whereby one possible solution for a particular problem is generated. This method is measured using the Remote Associates Task method, where three unrelated words are presented to the participants, words such as 'time', 'hair' and 'stretch'. The participants are then asked to identify the common link: in this case, 'long'.

Analysis of meditation techniques

Colzato used creativity tasks that measure convergent and divergent thinking to assess which meditation techniques most influence creative activities. The meditation techniques analyzed are Open Monitoring and Focused Attention meditation.
  • In Open Monitoring meditation the individual is receptive to all the thoughts and sensations experienced without focusing attention on any particular concept or object. 
  • In Focused Attention meditation the individual focuses on a particular thought or object.

How Meditation Benefits Creativity

While meditation has benefits for everyone, creative sorts cite specific ways in which meditation boosts their creativity.
Meditation:

  • Increases self-confidence. Artists who lack self-confidence get in their own way. Through non-judgment meditation clears the way for the creative process. 
  • Eases artistic anxiety. Being creative is a risky enterprise. By creating a safe space within, meditation provides a platform from which to takes risks. 
  • Allows you to be yourself. Meditation puts you in touch with your true and authentic self, which is what makes each person unique. Knowing the true self makes it possible to express that self in creative ways. 
  • Makes you less vulnerable. Artists open themselves up to the criticism of others when they show their work. Because it puts them in touch with what matters to them, meditation makes artists less vulnerable to other people’s critiques, whether positive or negative. 
  • Fosters kindness to yourself. Sometimes the creative juices flow and sometimes they don’t. Being hard on yourself makes it even harder to connect with your creativity. Meditation makes you kinder to yourself (and others). 
  • Changes brain activity. Studies show that meditation increases brain activity in the areas of the brain that are associated with creativity. 
  •  Keeps the world at bay. Through its focus on the moment meditation increases concentration and makes the artist less susceptible to the distractions of the mundane world.

Different types of meditation have different effects

These findings demonstrate that not all forms of meditation have the same effect on creativity. After an Open Monitoring meditation the participants performed better in divergent thinking, and generated more new ideas than previously, but Focused Attention (FA) meditation produced a different result. FA meditation also had no significant effect on convergent thinking leading to resolving a problem.
Read More

Friday, November 4, 2016

20 Tips To Have An Amazing Day To Be Happier

By With 1 comment:
Happiness won't walk to you alone, you have to catch happiness by your heart, to become happier person. If you can be happy everyday, definitely you will be much productive than any other person in your industry. Successful people are always happy, they are happy not for their success, but they are succeed because of their happiness. Adopt these habits to learn new things and grow personally and professionally daily!

As entrepreneurs and business owners, it can sometimes be very easy to fall into the routine and adopt the habit of not really seize the day. 

Find The Key to happiness and Be Successful

Here are 20 ways to turn that passion and that will help you have an amazing day.
20 Tips To Have An Amazing Day To Be Happier
1. Never stop doing things. Avoid procrastinating leaving all "for tomorrow."

2. Imagine doing different activities. Dream big and let that dream in your mind, body and spirit.

3. Spend time alone to think and visualize.

4. Write your most important goal on a card and watch it five times a day. Repeat it aloud and convince yourself that will come true.

5. Drink plenty of water. It is impossible to operate and take your best potential if you are dehydrated. Our mind and body need water to function.

6. Come to win. Stay away from junk foods; remember that we are what we eat.

7. Exercise. One of the best productivity tools is to exercise in any part of your day.

8. Read a book for 15 or 20 minutes. Just as your body needs exercise, our mind should be fit.

9. Spend time with people who support you and support your vision. On average we spend more time with five people, choose them well.

10. Make time to grow. 30 minutes away your day and find ways to grow personally and professionally.

11. Turn off the music from your car and listening to an audiobook. Many of us spend several hours in traffic, use that time to improve and learn.

12. Keep a journal. Record your thoughts, ideas and strategies. We have approximately 20,000 to 60.000 thoughts per day. Do not let an idea or strategy to waste. Do not rely only on your memory.

13. Think of five things you're grateful. It can be something as simple as how beautiful nature is or how amazing your family. Thank you have and eventually end up having more.

14. Come almonds. They are a great source of protein, minerals and vitamins that will increase your energy levels.

15. Say "I love you" more often. Do not let a day pass where you do not tell those who love what they mean to you. Life is short and simply say these words will give you great satisfaction.

16. Treat others as you would have them do. In business and life people matter. If you want to win both, have all the people you meet feel important.

17. Take a green smoothie. Instead of resorting to caffeine, trust mother nature and prepared an energetic and delicious drink.

18. Take a post it or a card that move you, inspire and give you power. There will be times in the day that will make you angry or discouraged. Feed your mind with words that inspire you help you put your feet on the ground.

19. Eliminate distractions. When it's time to work, do it. When it's time to relax, do it. Aim to be away from Facebook and other social platforms when working on the computer. If you're in the office hangs a sign that says "do not disturb".

20. Take responsibility for your life. Accept your mistakes and not fall into the trap of blaming everyone else.

Adopt these winning habits is one of the safest ways to get where you want. What we do every day determines the results we ended up with. If you do not like what you've been doing change your routine.

Read More
Home About-us Privacy Policy Contact-us Services