All ‘General’ Posts

30 may

Your Online Information: Is It Really Private and Safe?

RobertCordrayWith today’s technology it’s easier than ever to surf the web, keep in touch with friends and family, purchase goods online, and do all sorts of things anywhere and at anytime — simply by touching the screen on a smartphone. However, quick access and easy navigation can create a false sense of security that our personal online information is always private and secure.

Truth is, as the tools and techniques of computer hacking become more sophisticated, experiencing a security breech on your computer that puts your private and personal information at risk is probably only a matter of time. Here’s a look at some simple safeguards you can take to help insure that your sensitive information remains as safe and private as possible.

Rethink Social Media Safety

You may think your information is private and safe on social networking sites. You may also assume that when you post pictures, status updates, or details about your family vacation, that this information is only being shared with those you know. But you would be wrong. A case in point is Facebook, which has begun selling access to its users personal information. For a price, companies can sift through Facebook’s base of 900 million members, pulling out email addresses, phone numbers, and other personal bits of information, all to help them create more targeted advertising. Search engines such as Google also pull information from social networking sites, and that information could come up during searches of your name. When using social media it’s critical to understand that whatever you share, including the dates you’ll be away from home on vacation — burglars love this — becomes public domain.

Reconsider Cell Phone Security

With mobile apps for just about everything, our smartphones allow us to shop, bank, navigate, email, and connect on social media while we’re on the go. But the downside is, unlike our computers, smartphones do not come equipped with antiviral software, which can mean easy access for hackers. So we really need to think before conducting online transactions with our smartphones. Another area of security concern is the apps that we download. More and more apps have been found to contain advanced malware, which is difficult to detect without antivirus or malware programs on phones.

We also need to pay attention to the permissions requested by common phone applications, as we are allowing access to our personal information — such as who is calling us, who we call, where we are located, and possibly even what we are doing on the internet. It’s a good idea to look over the requested permissions for every application to make sure you are not granting access to things you want kept private. Finally, most smart phones are equipped with GPS and many users don’t realize that when they post images online those images contain geo-tags, which are embedded by the smartphone. These geo-tags give out your location even down to your address, which can make you vulnerable and could potentially put you in danger.

Reevaluate Email

With recent increases in email hacking, it’s important to reevaluate the content of your emails to make sure you’re not including sensitive information. Generally hackers will gain access to send spam to your contact list. But a hacked email account could be an indication that there may be a key logger program or other program on your computer, which could potentially give out passwords to banking sites and other important pieces of information.

Remember that you should never send credit card information, social security numbers or other sensitive information through your email. Should a hack occur, run a scan of your system immediately and change all of your passwords — making sure that the new passwords incorporate numbers with upper and lower case letters for highest security.

Reenlist Safety Software

Viruses used to primarily be a threat to computer performance. Now our personal information — even our very identities — are being targeted by criminals and hackers. It’s imperative to install an up-to-date anti-malware program on your computer and do regular scans for viruses, malware and spyware to ensure that your sensitive information remains private and protected.

If you felt moved, inspired, touched, helped, annoyed, or anything after reading this, please let us know. Our wonderful bloggers really do appreciate your comments and feedback. It’s super easy and takes a minute. Click on comments below.

Posted by Robert Cordray on May 30th, 2013 in General, New Directions, Technology | No comments

21 jan

How to Talk to a Crush at Work This Valentine’s Day

JennaSmithCrushes at workplace are common, so if you have one at your co-worker, it’s nothing new. However, if you want to take things a step further and talk to your crush on this special day, then here are few tips that can help you strike that most-wanted conversation…

1. Ask Her to Lunch: Business associates and colleagues often discuss work over lunch. So asking her to lunch is a pretty harmless request, for which you won’t have to venture much out of your comfort zone. However, if you’re nervous about it then invite some of your other co-workers to join you.

2. Give Non-Threatening Compliments: Valentine’s Day is when women are more receptive, so why not show your interest to your co-worker by paying her some nice compliments? The only thing you need to be careful with is your choice of words. Be subtle in your approach and avoid saying anything that may look inappropriate.

3. Walk With Her Through the Building: If your workplace is in a building where you have to move from one place to another, then make use of this time that you travel through the building with her. Even spending a few minutes with her on this special day can do wonders if you don’t do or say anything uncomfortable while you’re walking.

4. Tickle Her Funny Bone: One easy way to begin talking to your crush is to crack some jokes because humor will make it easy for her to let her guard down and connect with you as a person, not just a colleague. However, do make sure your jokes are squeaky clean so that you don’t end up offending her right on Valentine’s Day.

5. Get Her Coffee: Sometimes even the smallest gestures matter a lot. If your crush likes coffee, then why not bring her one on this special day? It’s a great way to break the ice and get a conversation started. She will see your gesture as sweet and not aggressive. If you see her comfortable then you could take things forward and arrange for regular coffee dates.

6. Stop By Her Desk: While there are many indirect approaches you can take to spark a conversation with your crush this Valentine’s, the most obvious and direct approach is to stop by her desk for some official work, and get the conversation going where you try to ask her out.

7. Have Flowers Delivered: Flowers and Valentine’s Day go in hand hand, so what you can do is order some good flowers like daisies at and have them delivered at her desk. This will let her know that you’re interested in her and will make it easier for you to approach her.

Go ahead and use the tips that we discussed above with complete confidence, and don’t miss out on the chance to talk to your crush and ask her out on this Valentine’s.

If you felt moved, inspired, touched, helped, annoyed, or anything after reading this, please let us know. Our wonderful bloggers really do appreciate your comments and feedback. It’s super easy and takes a minute. Click on comments below.

Posted by Jenna Smith on January 21st, 2013 in General, Personal Stories, Relationships, Things We Love | No comments

10 jan

Coping with and Managing Stress

RobertCordrayThe American Institute of Stress reports that stress levels have steadily been on the rise in the workplace. According to a recent survey, 80% of workers feel stress on the job and almost half of those say they need help learning to manage their stress. The American Psychological Association is concerned about the stress levels of teens between 9th and 12th grades, stating that teens who don’t learn healthy ways to cope with stress are susceptible to serious long-term health implications. Chances are that those stressed out teens are living in the homes of stressed out working parents. The whole family could benefit from some stress management training.

The Problem With Stress

While we generally recognize that stress is taking an emotional toll on us, we might not realize that it can also exacerbate almost any health condition. The body responds physically to the mental condition of stress as if it were facing a physical threat. Blood vessels constrict, your blood pressure and pulse rise and you breathe faster. Maintaining this level of cardiovascular activity over long periods of time takes a toll on your physical health. Studies have shown an increase in many health problems in people that have poor stress management, some of which include:

  • • Heart Disease
  • • Asthma
  • • Obesity
  • • Diabetes
  • • Headaches
  • • Depression
  • • Anxiety
  • • Gastrointestinal problems

Causes of Stress

Balancing work and home can become a vicious stress-filled cycle. For example, working long hours at work or bringing work home can make home life stressful. Since your home life normally acts as a stress reliever to restore you for the next day’s work, feeling stress at home makes your work life seem more stressful as well. The opposite is also true. When a person feels stress at home due to childcare responsibilities, financial problems or relationship strife, they will often become less effective at work, which compounds the stress they feel both at home and at work.

There are many causes of stress both at home and at work, but the stress management techniques are the same no matter the cause of the stress. You can either change the situation or change your reaction, and sometimes you need to do both.

Changing the Situation

Changing the situation involves avoiding or altering the stressor. However, identifying the stressor is often a challenge. Sometimes we blame our stress on other people or outside events that are beyond our control when really it is our perception of or reaction to these things that is causing the stress. Other times we might view the stress as temporary, not recognizing that its relief requires some action on our part. Keeping a stress journal can help you identify the stressors in your life so you can start working to avoid or alter them.

Changing Your Reaction

You can change your reaction to a stressor by either accepting it or adapting to it. For example, you can try to change your perspective to see the bigger picture. People often find that a situation becomes less stressful when they imagine the impact it will have on their lives down the road a week, a month or a year. You can manage the stress in your life by focusing on the most urgent needs rather than having everything piled up in front of you. You might have to accept stressors that are beyond your control, but your reaction to them is always within your control.

Getting Help

Another great way to cope with stress is to talk about it with someone you trust. A sounding board can often help you to identify the stressor and even set goals to avoid it, alter it or change your reaction to it. Many people have had success in learning to manage stress by working with a life coach. A life coach helps you to lead a more balanced life that is better aligned with your personal goals and values.

Manage Your Stress Better This Year

Don’t let the stress cycle run your life this year. Managing your stress will have both emotional and physical health benefits and make you more successful at work and at home.

About the Author:
Robert Cordray is a former entrepreneur/businessman with over 20 years of success. He has seen his fair share of ways that people deal with stress, and wants to continue to help those that can’t seem to manage it. For more specific help, go to to find the right help for you. Currently Robert resides in the Los Angeles area with his beautiful wife and three children.

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Posted by Robert Cordray on January 10th, 2013 in General, Health, New Directions | No comments Read related posts in , ,

10 jan

The Benefits of Music for a Happy and Healthy Lifestyle

JennaSmithThroughout the ages, people have listened and played music in an effort to live happier and healthier lives. Good music can put your in a better mood and help your overall emotional and physical well-being. Whether you’re feeling angry, down, lonely or happy, music has a way of making the day better and life worth living. Take a moment and think about a life without music. A world without music is a sad world indeed. Learn the benefits of music for a happy and healthy life.

Listen to Music and Be Happier

Music has been proven to lift our spirits in times of hard or lonely times. Invest in some music that makes you happy. This may be different for each individual. Someone may have grown up on the bayou and love listening to blues with an acoustic guitar and harmonica. This music, while seeming sad, may make someone happy because it reminds them of their childhood. Find the type of music that speaks to your soul and makes you happy. Build up a large amount of this music that you can play on a rainy day to lift your spirits.

Learn to Play an Instrument

You’re never too old to learn an instrument. In fact, if you’ve never learned out to play an instrument, doing so in your elderly years is a great way to keep active and lead a healthier life in your later years. Whatever your age, you can learn how to play an instrument. Find your teacher through a local music store and get to learning! You can have lessons at the music store, or even have the teacher come and teach you in your home.

Bond with Loved Ones Through Music

Throughout the generations, music has connected people of different creeds and nations in a way that nothing else can. It is a powerful bond that can form simply through a shared enjoyment of music. Playing music is a great way to connect with other members of your family too. For example, if you know how to play the violin and your grandson is learning, you can bond with him through this shared instrument. He will love the fact that you both have something in common, and he will be encouraged to learn it even more because you know it as well.

Whether you’re just wanting to have a better day, are picking up a instrument for the first time, or want to bond with loved ones, music is a tool that can help you. It will increase your self worth and help you to not be sad or lonely anymore.

If you felt moved, inspired, touched, helped, annoyed, or anything after reading this, please let us know. Our wonderful bloggers really do appreciate your comments and feedback. It’s super easy and takes a minute. Click on comments below.

Posted by Jenna Smith on January 10th, 2013 in General, Health | No comments

10 dec

Downsizing Tips and Tricks: Make Your Whole House (Almost) Fit into Your New Apartment

JennaSmithLet’s pretend that you’re moving to Denver from Seattle (the reason why could be pretty much anything). You’ve found a small apartment to live in for the foreseeable future and you already know that there is no way that you will be able to fit everything from your house into the new space. Here are some tips for how to make that move work.

Plan for Extra Space “Off Site”

Make plans to rent a storage unit. These are a great way to store the things that you want to keep but don’t need to have on hand on a regular basis. You can store holiday decorations in them. You can store old paperwork and records in them. They are an affordable way to expand your “stuff space” by quite a lot (and for less than it would cost to simply rent a larger apartment). They’re also incredibly helpful spaces to have while you explore the city and figure out which Denver neighborhood would be best for you and your family.

Figuring Out What to Take

Before you move, sort through your things. Make four piles: “trash” “no” “maybe” and “definitely.” Sort your things (including your furniture) into each of those piles. Throw out everything that you’ve labeled as trash (these are things that you’ve stored but that are beyond repair or hope of salvation.

The things that you know you don’t want or need to keep but that are still in good condition, put in the “no” pile (we’ll explain that in a minute). The things you aren’t sure about go in the “maybe” pile and the “definitely” pile is self explanatory.

Plan to go through the “maybe” and “definitely” piles a few times as you figure out what you truly need to keep and what you’re just holding on to because you’re having a hard time dealing with packing and moving.

What About the Stuff Not Going With You?

Once you’ve got what you are absolutely taking with you squared away, it’s time to tackle everything else. This is where the downsizing process can become quite exciting because the first thing you want to do with your leftovers (that weren’t tossed out as “trash”) is try to sell them.

You can have an estate sale or yard sale. If you have the time before your move, you can put things up for auction on eBay and list them for sale on Craigslist. The amount of money that you bring in through these avenues could be quite substantial. Some people have earned enough to finance their entire move!

Whatever doesn’t sell, you need to donate. Make sure you get a receipt for your donations because those donations should be tax deductible.

Finally, pack up all of your definitely items and move them to Denver. Send the things you don’t need every day (or even every week) to the unit you’ve rented for storage. Unpack everything else and be amazed at just how easy moving from a house to an apartment can be!

If you felt moved, inspired, touched, helped, annoyed, or anything after reading this, please let us know. Our wonderful bloggers really do appreciate your comments and feedback. It’s super easy and takes a minute. Click on comments below.

Posted by Jenna Smith on December 10th, 2012 in Family, General, House and Home | No comments

18 oct

Setting and Achieving Goals: 5 Big Ways a Calendar Can Help

RobertCordrayCalendars. We all use them—to mark the change of seasons, to keep track of important events, and in the case of the ancient Mayan people, to predict the end of the world. A more upbeat benefit of calendars is that, if used correctly, they can be very effective tools in helping us turn our dreams into realities. So if you plan on being around after Dec. 21, 2012, and you’ve got some lofty aspirations, here’s a look at 5 ways a calendar can help you to set and achieve your goals.

1. Calendars turn wishes into goals

There is great power in putting our hopes and aspirations down in written form. As a wise person once said, “A goal not written is only a wish.” Writing goals on wall calendars take them a step further than writing them down in journals or on slips of paper to post in prominent places. Calendaring your goals right along with other events that will surely come to pass puts them in the realm of what is real and possible in your life.

2. Calendars give goals timeframes

“A goal is a dream with a deadline,” said Napolean Hill. And as noble as your intentions may be, unless you assign your goals a reasonable deadline by which to achieve them, they are doomed to remain in the dream stage forever. Goals with timeframes become impending events, providing the all-important motivation needed to act upon them and make them happen.

3. Calendars help you plan for success

Goals that help you to change and improve your life are big by design. But the task of achieving a major goal in a specified period of time can seem daunting, making it difficult to know where to even start, let alone devise a plan. Calendaring your goal allows you to visualize and strategize a path to success—a path paved with smaller, more manageable goals, each with its own doable timeframe. As each smaller goal is achieved those mini-successes will help to spur you on with greater drive and determination, until the larger goal is accomplished.

4. Calendars help to track progress

With large goals divided into smaller ones, your calendar becomes a great tool to help you visually track and measure both your successes and shortcomings. Being that all roads to a worthwhile goal will have their share of roadblocks, having your goal planned out step by step on the calendar will help you to see and hopefully avoid any pitfalls that may lie ahead. And when setbacks occur, and they often do, being able to track the progress you have made will help you to strategize a new plan for success.

5. Calendars go with you everywhere

Not long ago a calendar was something that hung on your wall, along with your goals, to be viewed and reviewed once or twice a day. With today’s advances in technology—namely smartphones, laptops and tablet computers—calendars are with you everywhere we go. Now, with a mouse click or the touch of a screen, your goals and game plans for achieving them can be called up, evaluated and orchestrated virtually anywhere and at any time. You can also receive alerts to instantly remind you of the goals you’ve set, and spur you on to success. And since success calls for celebration, you’ll want to schedule an appropriate time to do just that—on your calendar.

About the Author

Robert Cordray is a former entrepreneur and business consultant with over 20 years of experience. He is a freelance writer for multiple organizations. He is currently exploring the coaching realm, and trying to help people through his experiences. If he’s not sipping an ice cold margarita on the beach, he’s most likely living life with his wife and three kids.You can also find him on twitter.

If you felt moved, inspired, touched, helped, annoyed, or anything after reading this, please let us know. Our wonderful bloggers really do appreciate your comments and feedback. It’s super easy and takes a minute. Click on comments below.

Posted by Robert Cordray on October 18th, 2012 in General, New Directions | No comments

13 oct

Parenting Kids Through Times of Change

happier_confidenceWe live in transitional times. Each of us is affected by change, whether it be a job change, a relationship change, a financial change or even a health-related change.

Kids feel these changes, too. They witness them closely. For example, often they are involved in the case of a divorce, a death or a move.

I’ve found a few insights that can really make a difference when parenting children during these types of life events. Plus, my personal belief is that teaching them about change is one of the most fundamental life skills to impart to them to be prepared for the years when they’re growing up.

Parents need to get comfortable with change, then your children will be comfortable, too. Kids are a lot less fragile through change than their parents are. Kids often simply reflect how you are feeling, so if they are acting out, it’s because you may have some emotions that aren’t being expressed. If they are anxious, it’s because you are, too, at some level. Think about it, at any moment, you are either being a warning or an example for your kids, how you eat, how you communicate, how you behave, everything you do. They see and feel everything. So regarding the change you’re going through, are you coming from a place of trust and faith or one of fear? Are you coming from your heart and a loving space or from your head and responsibilities? Be an example for how to navigate change. Be positive, accept the change once it’s happened and stop comparing things to what was. Believe in something greater going on, ask for help so your kids see that there are always people ready to help and they/you are never alone. Take some action. Take care of yourself during times of change so your kids see that just because something has changed doesn’t mean your whole life and especially your health will be affected.

The most important thing your kids want is for you to be happy! This is what your kids are yearning for. They aren’t yearning for their old school after a while, or how things were. They want to be in a home that is filled with laughter and love. Get out of the serious box. Yes, a change may be serious, but it’s not so serious that you want to teach your kids that all change is hard, tough, and worth getting concerned about. So yes, if getting happy and doing what you want involves going away for the weekend, going to the gym, taking a new class, going back to work, do it. Your kids will unconsciously and consciously relax when they know you are OK and doing things you love and enjoy. They’d rather you were happy than at home all the time. They’d rather you be happy alone than unhappily married.

Parents need to wake up and place their trust in their children’s inner-guidance system. So many parents tend to over-parent their kids, do everything for them, show them, help them. This is underestimating their innate ability that the same life force that is flowing through you is flowing through them. Wake up their intuition, their instincts. Believe they can figure things out. Ask them how something feels. It’s easier for you as parents to worry about your kids, when the truth is that you yourself are the one that’s worried. Kids aren’t that worried at their core since they are in the present moment, while we adults feel fear and nervousness when thinking about the past and future effect of a change. Teach your kids that they have access to answers on the inside of them at all times–even more answers than Mom or Dad can provide. Their bodies are always sending them signals about what’s the right thing to do.

Teach them that they have a “change muscle.” Kids love knowing this. That there is a specific muscle to be able to handle changes, that they can flex it, use it and it gets stronger with every change they experience–that the body is made for change and that the best of who they are is going to come out during times of change, that life is always giving them an opportunity to grow, to learn something, to acquire a new set of emotions, such as courage, faith or patience when change comes their way.
Teach them “The Change Guarantee.” Write down the following phrase for them, somewhere visible. “From this situation, something good will come.” Start showing them that good things come from change. Go through previous changes that have happened and the good that eventually came. Teach them that life is on their side, that it’s always coming up with new ways to bring something into their lives.

Allow kids to be human and express their emotions. Teach them that its perfectly OK to be sad, to cry, to be angry, to be anything they are feeling. Make their feelings seem right, not wrong. Don’t impose any deadlines on when they should stop feeling something. The same goes for you. It’s good for your kids to see you have feelings. Do not only be in supermom or superdad mode. When they see you are human, sad, scared for a little while, then they feel much safer being the same. Do not try to change what they are feeling. If they are feeling something, reward it.

For more information on the 9 Principles of Change, be sure to pick up a copy of my book, The First 30 Days: Your Guide to Making Any Change Easier. The change principles equally apply for children of any age.

If you felt moved, inspired, touched, helped, annoyed, or anything after reading this, please let us know. Our wonderful bloggers really do appreciate your comments and feedback. It’s super easy and takes a minute. Click on comments below.

Posted by Ariane de Bonvoisin on October 13th, 2012 in Ariane, First30Days Book, General, New Directions, Spirituality, Things We Love | No comments

14 sep

Six Ways to Make Moving Easier

MovingThe good folks at recently published this article, “Six Ways to Make Moving Easier,” that we think is tailor-made for you.

Here’s the good news: You found the home of your dreams and it’s finally time to start living there. Here’s the bad news: You have to move before you can get to the fun parts. Moving can be a headache full of packing, coordinating various services and utilities, and carrying load after load of heavy furniture and boxes, but it doesn’t need to make you lose your cool. With these tips, your next move will be as close to painless as possible.

Hire movers: If you choose to move your house or even an apartment by yourself, you’ll wish you had hired someone halfway through the job. Skip the hassle of heaving everything around yourself and trying to bribe your friends to help, and just hire professional movers. They have experience packing boxes into trucks and lifting heavy furniture. Full-service movers will even pack your belongings for you. Shop around for the best estimate and services that fit your needs.
Have a yard sale: As you start trying to pack up all your possessions, you’ll probably be surprised (and slightly horrified) by how much junk you’ve accumulated over the years. You’ll likely come across things that you forgot you had, don’t need, and don’t want to waste a box on. For these items, it’s best to just get rid of them. Holding a garage or yard sale is a great way to pick up a little extra cash for the big move and cut down on the number of boxes you’ll need.

Dedicate a notebook to the move: You’re going to have a lot to keep track of as you start planning your move. There are the phone numbers for the moving company, electric company, phone company, cable company, etc., estimates, recommendations, receipts, and many more things you’d never think you’d have to hold onto. Do yourself a favor and get a planning notebook as soon as you start looking at new houses. Future! You will be grateful.

Label everything: We mean it. If you think you’re going to be able to remember where everything is or identify boxes that have “Misc.” scrawled on the side, you’re in for some frustrating unpacking days. For the sake of your sanity, label everything and be specific. Rather than just saying “Bedroom,” also include “bedding” or “nightstand drawers” to be clear. Some experts even suggest labeling each box on all four sides so you can read it no matter which way it’s facing without having to unstack everything.

Have your packing supplies handy: So you’re on a roll, ready to tape up some boxes you’ve packed, when you realize the packing tape is nowhere to be found. Next, you run out of boxes and have to go buy more. And what about when you get to the fragile items in your house? Poor planning can interrupt your packing and reduce your efficiency drastically. If you know you’re going to be packing all day, make sure you have more than enough boxes, tape, packing peanuts, and plain newsprint so you don’t have to start and stop again and again.

Know where the toilet paper is: You’ve got to pack strategically, and this means packing all of the things you’re going to need first into one box that you put in the moving van last. You don’t want to have to tear through boxes frantically just so you can go to the bathroom. Besides having toilet paper handy, you might also want to include paper towels, cleaning supplies, toiletries, important documents, paper plates, and plastic utensils. Plan what you’re going to pack last in advance so you can set those items to the side rather than in the wrong box.

(Here’s the link to the original article:

If you felt moved, inspired, touched, helped, annoyed, or anything after reading this, please let us know. Our wonderful bloggers really do appreciate your comments and feedback. It’s super easy and takes a minute. Click on comments below.

Posted by First 30 Days on September 14th, 2012 in General, House and Home, Uncategorized | No comments

11 sep

Yes or Yes: How to Make Fewer Decisions

RenitaKalhornA married couple was celebrating their 60th wedding anniversary. At the party everybody wanted to know how they managed to stay married so long in this day and age.

The husband responded, “When we were first married we came to an agreement – I would make all the major decisions and my wife would make all the minor decisions. And now, after 60 years of marriage, I can truthfully say that we have never needed to make a MAJOR decision.

He’s on to something.

Everyday, throughout the day, we’re faced with hundreds of decisions. Major or minor, each one requires brainpower as we process information, weigh the alternatives and make a choice. Eventually, this leads to what researchers call decision fatigue and the harder each decision becomes. (If you think about the last time you bought a camera, a car or even a new toothpaste, you know what I’m talking about.)

At that point, our judgment falters and our brain starts to take shortcuts, like doing something reckless or doing nothing at all. (This helps explain why ordinarily sensible people make that impulse buy at the checkout counter and why married politicians send inappropriate photos on Twitter.)

Thing is, if we’re in reactive mode simply making decisions as they pop up, we’re using up precious brainpower on trivial decisions, like what to eat for breakfast or which movie to download. Then, when it comes time to make decisions that actually have a lasting impact on our work and relationships, we’re pooped.

Make fewer decisions

Leo Widrich, the co-founder of Buffer, a fast-growing start-up Buffer, has adopted a very deliberate strategy for decision-making: make less of them.

“If someone suggests a place to get dinner, I say yes. If someone asks to do something on the weekend, I say yes. I don’t own any clothes apart from white t-shirts (and one black Buffer t-shirt), so I don’t have to decide what to wear. I listen to the same music I’ve always listened to, if someone suggests some new music, I say yes and listen to it.”

Of course, there are times where the default is “no” but Leo’s streamlined the number of decisions he has to think about to those he believes will make a difference to his long-term success and happiness.

Get rid of redundant thinking

Another way to simplify your life is by reducing redundant decisions and automating your schedule.

Make a list of the activities you want or need to do on a regular, repeated basis – team meetings, client prospecting, monthly report-writing, yoga class, poker night. Then designate a specific day or time for them in your calendar. This dramatically simplifies the process of figuring out when you’re going to do them – and also makes it more likely that you’ll do them (cold-calling, I’m talking to you).

Ryan Carson, CEO of Treehouse, demonstrates this disciplined approach by structuring his week according to business area: Monday, he focuses on Product issues, Tuesday on Video & Teaching, and so on.

Rather than making your life rigid and fixed, automating means you spend less mental energy on making the same boring decisions over and over, which frees up creativity and allows you to be spontaneous where it counts.

Now it’s your turn: how can you apply these strategies to YOUR life?

Posted by Renita Kalhorn on September 11th, 2012 in General, Uncategorized | No comments

31 aug

The First30Days Change Quiz

happier_confidenceAre You Good at Change?

You can be good at skiing, math, or sculpting, but can you also be good at change? Some people certainly seem to face change better than others. Ever wonder why your boss isn’t fazed by the biggest corporate changes, but your mother gets frazzled if there’s the slightest shift in her daily routine? And we all have friends who have successfully made major changes in their lives—like quitting smoking or losing weight—and others who give up the minute it gets tough. Whether it’s a change in your job, health, family, relationships, or life in general, transitions are an inevitable part of life. How well do you handle change? Take this quiz and find out!

1. Change makes me feel:

- Lonely and unlucky.
- Uncertain, but excited about what lies ahead.
- Paralyzed and afraid.
- Hopeful and inspired.

2. When faced with a challenging change, like losing my job or receiving bad news from the
doctor, I:

- Try to find the positive in the situation.
- Cry, scream, and then hide out in bed.
- Call a trusted friend.
- Eat excessive amounts of something chocolaty.

3. When I think of all the changes I would like to make in my life, like getting in shape, going back to school, or improving my relationship with my spouse, I:

- Remember how many times I’ve tried and failed before.
- Focus on one but never seem to get very far.
- Begin them all enthusiastically on January 1st and am back to my old self by the time March rolls around.
- Visualize exactly what I want to happen, create an action plan and start moving forward.

4. When I decide to make a major change, like leaving an unfulfilling relationship or
moving to a new city, the first thing I do is:

- Seek out others who have gone through similar changes.
- Feel overwhelmed by the work that lies ahead.
- Find books and web sites that can help.
- Think about all of the reasons why I’ll probably fail.

5. When I think back to the changes that I’ve already been through, I:

- Recognize how each one brought something positive into my life.
- Feel as if others have experienced more than I have.
- Am impressed with all that’s happened in my life.
- Wish that I had handled them differently.

6. When I tell others about a difficult change that’s come into my life, I:

- List the many reasons why I think it has happened.
- Outline a clear plan for moving through any pain or suffering that I may be experiencing.
- List all of the reasons why it will never get better.
- Feel overwhelmed, but capable of moving forward.

7. My friends would probably say that I:

- Can handle any change that comes my way and am unafraid to initiate changes in my life.
- Avoid change at all costs.
- Become angry and depressed when faced with change.
- Have a generally positive attitude and try to accept change.

8. When I feel stuck and unsure during change, I:

- Go for a run or take a yoga class.
- Sleep…a lot.
- Write in my journal and listen to some soothing music.
- Watch TV or drink alcohol.

9. When faced with change or hoping to initiate a change, I take some time to be quiet and
look within:

- Never—who has time to be quiet?
- Rarely—quiet alone time is a luxury.
- Sometimes—I can find a few minutes for myself right when I wake up or before drifting off to sleep.
- Often—I take a long walk or meditate several times a week.

10. When something changes in my life, I:

- Long for things to be as they once were.
- Accept the change and work to move through it.
- Get angry at life for making things harder.
- Feel as if I’m being protected.

How to Interpret Your Score

[32 - 40 points] Change Optimist

Change isn’t something you handle; it’s something you seek out! You welcome every change that comes into your life—even the tough ones—believing that each one serves a purpose and will eventually lead to good. You don’t waste time looking back at the way things were, instead you accept your new circumstances and wonder what’s around the next corner.

[21 - 31 points] Change Agent

Change is a familiar friend. Though you don’t always have the time to give it the attention it deserves, you accept the changes that life hands you and feel confident in your ability to initiate changes when necessary. You also understand that you never need to be alone when going through change. There are always people and resources that can help.

[11 – 20 points] Change Explorer

You’re not opposed to change, but it’s not something you welcome, either. When a difficult change comes up, you tend to hide or ignore what’s happening instead of accepting the change and working to move through it. Remember that from every change, even the most challenging, something good will always come. Keep moving—take a walk, clean the house, write in your journal—action helps dissipate the anxiety and tension that can arise during change; seek the help of others; and use empowering language to describe your change. Each one of these steps will help to make your journey through change less stressful.

[1-10 points] Change Novice

You don’t like change. In fact, you’d even say you hate it. You’re not alone. Many people find change difficult and feel isolated, misunderstood, and generally unlucky when changes come their way. But now is the perfect time to create a different belief system about change. The next time you’re faced with change, instead of asking, “Why me?” ask yourself if this change could be protecting you from something or helping you grow in some way. And, though it’s tempting to curl up in a ball and hide during change, it’s essential to seek out help from others—there are friends, family, colleagues, clergy members, support groups, and therapists available to guide you through change.

Posted by First 30 Days on August 31st, 2012 in General, New Directions | No comments