G008 | Productivity | Adopt a Routine to Turbo Your Day

I had a lunch with my friend Ed and we were chatting about personal development, educational methodologies, techie stuff, the art of networking, among other things. We were talking about the power of routine and Ed was referring to me to his post on this topic and I feel fairly inspired. In the article, he talked about his routine to ease the transition between his work hours and evening hours.

I intend to take the following actions

  • Blog about my routines
  • Focus on my early evening routine inspired by Ed.

My evening routine plan as of 2013-12-31

  • S1 Change into comfort clothes while tidying away my work clothes
  • S2 Put on relaxing music or motivation audio
  • S3 Make a cup of camomille tea
  • S4 Quick shower

It’s Your Turn

What do you think? Do you use any routine consciously or unconsciously to be more productive? Do you have any tip that you can share. Do you have an suggestion? Do you want to me expand on any section. Share your experience in the comments box below.

G007 | Experiment | Less Forgetfulness

Combining the technique of anchoring and checklist and mnemonics, I intend to experiment with the following:

Tap my left shoulders with mentally going through the following checklist.

I. At home

  • Charge Phone and Gadgets
  • Organise my Stuff (with Trello)
  • Mini Plan – Reverse planning, JIP (Just in time planning)

mnemonics: a cop at home

II. When leaving house

  • Phones
  • Money (bank card and some cash)
  • Stuff for travel (tickets, Oyster/Navigo etc)
  • Keys

mnemonics: PM TK –> Afternoon shopping at Tk Max

G005 | Social Skills| Step-by-Step Guide to Develop the Art of Conversation

“Conversation, like certain portions of the anatomy, always runs more smoothly when lubricated.” ― Marquis de Sade

Please nod your head if you’ve ever felt that you are not very good at having conversations with new people in a party, new colleagues in your company, or new people in general.

When you decide that you want to walk with a particular person for whatever reasons, maybe you feel that you are supposed to be talking since you are in a social situation which demands so, or that you find that person attractive or for whatever reasons actually, you just feel that your jaws are kind of stuck together and no words can come out. Trust me, lots of people feel the same from time to time.

… But you know you are a nice person, and you want to connect with a particular person. So, what do do?

Well, I have thought about this topic quite a bit like most people and I have read around the subjects as well, I am writing this article as a reminder to myself but I also hope that you find some ideas here helpful for you too.

First, I will talk about the principles for a great initial conversation. Then I will share some tips for the opener. Finally, I will suggest an action plan for you so that you can hone your skills.

I. Principles

  • Mindfulness
  • Good feeling
  • Rapport & Reciprocity

Principle 1: Mindfulness

Have you ever talked with someone and you feel that he is not there with you and that he is actually miles away so to speak? This is obviously a no-no. Mindfulness, in a sense, is an attitude of attention and art of awareness. (mnemonics: 4As) Most people say that eye contact is key, for a long time, I don’t actually know what that means as it does not feel concrete enough. Without moderation, I have found watching the eye movement of your conversation partner to be an easy way to anchor my attention to him, I suggest that you can try this or something similar too.

Principle 2: Good feeling

People like people who are like themselves and people like people like people who like them. I am more or less convinced this is one of the main foundations of social dynamics.

Principle 3: Rapport & Reciprocity

These are two ideas from NLP, I will discuss these two ideas in a separate article.

II. Openers

  • OAR (Observe, Assume, Relate)
  • OO (Opinion Openers)
  • SC (Situation Compliments)
  • AI (Advice Invitation)

I will discuss the first 4 ideas in a separate article.

The KISS principle is basically universal. So, something like “Hi, My name is Ben and I’m a Paris-based IT guy” or “Hi, my name is Ben and I am here because I know Bob” is actually great. Talking about jobs can be a turn-off for certain people, keep this in mind.

Personally, I feel that speaking your mind honestly is indeed the best policy, so, it’s absolutely fine to say, “I feel a bit nervous to talk to new people in this event, I have an intuition that you would be someone easy to talk to, so, my name is Ben and I’m a Paris-based IT guy, you?

III. Action Plan

I will discuss this in a separate article.

It’s Your Turn

What do you think? What strategies do you use to network? Do you have any tip that you can share. Do you have an suggestion? Do you want to me expand on any section. Share your experience in the comments box below.

G004 | Productivity | 4 Steps and 3 Tips to Use Trello to Stay Super Organised

Smiley face

Please nod your head if you’ve ever felt overwhelmed by the seemingly endless number of todo items on your plate.

When you decide what you want to do, there are seemingly hundreds of little creatures of the todo species battling for your attention, you feel overwhelmed and paralysed, you then decide to shoot some more birds on your smartphone, check on the statuses of someone you’ve haven’t met in like over 10 years or reorganise your desk for the 8th time this month. You then feel guilty afterwards and this is basically a vicious circle.

… But you know you are in intelligent person, and you want to feel that you are in control and that you are actually taking meaningful actions to bring you closer to your goal. So, what to do?

Well, there’s good news: managing your life, both professional and personal in Trello doesn’t have to be that daunting. With the right attitude and ideas at your disposal, you could easily visually manage your workflow and get great things done — all without reading more self-help books, paying for more overpriced Moleskin or constantly making boring todo lists.

To help you make the most out of Trello, we are creating Trello Ninja Guide. We’ll walk you through to the most crucial elements of maximising productivity through Trello, and give you 10+ templates you can use in your new or existing Trello setup.

4 Steps to Get the Most from Trello.

1) Sign up for Trello and install native apps

  • Sign up to Trello here.
  • Install native iOS or Android or Windows 8 apps with guide here

2) Explore and play with the Welcome Board

3) Create several boards depending on how you like to work

I would recommend

  • Main – this is basically a board of boards
  • Project: ABC, Project: XYZ – I recommend a project based organisation
  • Projects – where you can have an overview of your projects
  • Someday – a board for things you may want to do one day. This is a GTD concept. Read this guide for more information.

4) Constant use and constant evolution

I recommend that you look at your main boards at least 3 times a day and that you evolve and tweak the board set up every 4 weeks to keep the novelty factor.

3 Tips to Get the Most from Trello.

1) Use keyboard shortcuts

2) Use label as status updates

Instead of constantly moving cards around, I like to use Trello labels to indicate status, I personally use red for high priority tasks, yellow for in progress and blue for completed tasks

3) Use the Trello Resources Board for more ideas

It’s Your Turn

What do you think? What strategies do you or your business use to stay organised? What has your experience with Trello been so far? What aspects would you like me to explain more? Share your experience in the comments box below.

G003 | Blogging | Creating Powerful Blog Titles that Are Generate Traffic

“It’s the little details that are vital. Little things make big things happen. ” – John Wooden

Little things make all the difference. Now that there are literally billions of articles to read on the Internet, whether an article has a good title determines whether it even has a potential reader.

Here are some keys

Here, we discuss seven most important factors to consider when choosing a title

  • Actionable
  • Brief
  • Keyword-conscious
  • Clear
  • Definitive
  • Intriguing

Actionable

Your reader is here to learn something, so action verbs invites readership

Example: How to Write a Business Plan in Five Easy Steps

Brief

Long titles are boring. Brief titles are more memorable and shareable

Example: How to Tweet like a Big Cheese

Keyword-conscious

SEO makes all the difference after all.

Example: The 4 Essential Tips for Creating Amazing Landing Page Copy

Clear

We are all frustrated when something is communicated vaguely. Relieve your readers of this frustration.

Example: 5 tips to stop procrasting

Definitive

Write in a confident way to inspire confidence.

Example: Top 10 Reasons why Rosetta Stone products do not work for most people

Intriguing

Set free your creative juice and compel a potential reader to read your article.

Example: Why Lady Gaga is the Queen of Social Media

Actions

Sign up to our mailing list and get exclusive articles, free gifts and promotional offers. Share your thought below.

Read more

[ImpactBnd: Creating Powerful Blog Titles that Are Traffic Generating]

G001 | Health | How to Beat Cold and Flu Season

How to Beat Cold and Flu Season

Your mother always told you to “Wear your jacket or you’ll catch a cold”… but is it true? Most researchers agree that a clear link between being cold and catching a cold is yet to be discovered. So what can you do to stay healthy during cold and flu season? A lot more than you probably think!

It’s important to remember that the immune system is, well, a system. It’s a lot of different parts that have to work together to keep you healthy and living at your best. From sleep to socializing, some small changes can help you stay sniffle-free.

Wash Your Hands!

 Unlike various strains of viruses that take an airborne route into your body, the common cold prefers to travel from your hands to your eyes, nose, and mouth. Germs can live up to 3 hours, even on non-porous surfaces (think a shopping cart, your coffee cup, and your laptop)!

Studies show that we touch our faces a whopping 400+ times per day! If your hands aren’t clean each and every time you reach up to scratch your sniffer, you’re much more likely to catch a cold. We all know that public restrooms are filthy, but there are much more common items you come into contact with that are just as germ-ridden! Here are the top 6:

  1. Soap
  2. Money
  3. Your washing machine
  4. Your computer keyboard
  5. Your mobile phone
  6. Your mouth

Here’s a really amusing article about why you should be disinfecting your hands every time you touch any of these items

Washing your hands is the #1 defense system against getting a cold. It doesn’t boost your immune system, but it prevents it from having to fight at all.

Get into bed

 …and not just for the sleep! Now don’t get me wrong, sleep is really important for keeping your immune system running on all cylinders. In fact, one study published in the January 2009 Archives of Internal Medicine,  found that people who slept fewer than seven hours a night were three times more likely to develop a cold when exposed to a rhinovirus compared to those who slept eight or more hours a night.

And everyone knows that sleep is important to have a healthy life, but let’s face it, sleep isn’t the only thing you can do in bed to prevent a cold. A study done atWilkes-BarreUniversityin Pennsylvania (US) shows that regular lovemaking actually reduces your chances of catching a cold by increasing the germ-fighting compounds in your saliva.

In addition to the chemical boost, frequent sex in a long-term relationship provides other benefits that naturally go along with a healthy immune defense – relaxation, reduced stress levels, and social support. Whether you’re just feeling frisky or you’re feeling a cold coming on, hop into bed to give your anti-germ defenses a jumpstart!

Drink More Water than You Think You Should

And tea and juice and clear broth. Fluids help your body maintain its basic functions and give you higher energy levels (think about that next time you go for a mid-afternoon coffee). It also helps the body heal from a cold by loosening congestion and preventing dehydration. According to the Mayo Clinic, the “8 glasses of water per day” mark isn’t exactly accurate. Men typically need about 13 glasses of water, and women usually 9. If you’re traveling somewhere warm or you’re working out, you’ll need to up your intake even more!

Think about what happens when you finally remember to water your houseplant after 4 days. That’s your body – crying for water.

Oh, and alcohol, coffee, and caffeinated sodas only make dehydration worse, so if you’re going to have them, you’re going to need to up your agua intake as well.

Change How You Eat…or Drink… or Exercise… or…

Hundreds of studies show that an overall healthy lifestyle is the BEST immune system booster around. Sometimes people find these easy choices difficult because of their social groups or significant others. Let’s be honest: if your girlfriend doesn’t love you because you’re living a healthier life, she’s probably not a great girlfriend. Here’s some easy advice that you already know you should be following:

Don’t smoke, ever. Eat a diet high in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, and low in saturated fat. Exercise regularly and maintain a healthy weight. Control your blood pressure and reduce stress in your life. If you drink alcohol, drink only in moderation – never binge. Get adequate sleep. Wash your hands frequently and cook meats thoroughly. Get regular medical screening tests for people in your age group and risk category.

I like to think of it as “what would I change if I found out I had cancer”. Not pleasant, I’ll grant you, but why wait until you’re sick to fix it? Each of these healthy-living strategies is really easy, and they can be done by anyone. Quit procrastinating and make health a priority!
Take Your Vitamins (but Be Skeptical!)

 

In today’s world more and more people are seeing signs of malnutrition, even though they’re eating 3 squares a day. Lack of energy, breathlessness, poor skin tone, increased irritability, and decreased concentration all rank high on the malnutrition list. Let’s face it – it’s faster, and often cheaper, to make poor food choices. After all, the good quality, lean sausages cost nearly 5 times as much as the cheap, fatty ones. If you only have an hour to eat lunch, you’re much more likely to eat out than to cook your own lunch, and many jobs don’t even have an option for real cooking in a breakroom (the microwave does NOT count).

Thus, it’s essential that we get the nutrition we need from other sources, and the options for supplementing your diet with vitamins, minerals, oils, and compounds can be dizzying, Fortunately there are some simple steps to finding good quality products that do what they say they will. Here’s some advice when you’re trying to make sense of the vitamin aisle.

  1. Always use whole-food supplements. These are supplements that come from living sources, like plants. It’s easy to find out if your supplements are synthetically created in a laboratory somewhere or if they come from real live plants – just call the manufacturer. Synthetic vitamins tend to be less expensive, but are shown to have almost no significant value whatsoever.
  1. More expensive doesn’t mean higher quality. While many high-quality supplements are indeed more expensive than their synthetic counterparts, you should shop around to find a great supplement in your budget.
  1. You need more than a multi. Multivitamin/Multimineral supplements are great, but chances are your body needs something else. Everybody can benefit from these basic supplements:

Daily multivitamin/multimineral

Probiotic

Fish Oil (from a safe source!)

Antioxidants

My favorite vitamins come from Nutrilite, whose parent company is Amway. They were the original creators of vitamins and you can even take tours of their organic farms and factories! I’m a sucker for transparency. The downside is that unless your next door neighbor is an Amway rep, you’ll have to order them online. I’m a sucker for transparency.

In terms of cold prevention, here are some immune-boosting vitamins and minerals:

  • Selenium
  • Zinc
  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin B2
  • Vitamin B6
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin D
  • Vitamin E

You can check out why they’re so powerful here.

Even though these particular vitamins and minerals are proven to help, each person’s immune system is unique, and therefore the supplements and quantities that work for one person might not be the same for you. A very high quality daily multi-vitamin/multi-mineral supplement will include all of the listed immune boosters.

Be Social

 

While you should always steer clear of people who are experiencing illness, studies show that people who maintain an active social life are twice as likely to avoid colds. Although we don’t yet know exactly why, one study suggests that it could be due to the decrease in stress levels when we socialize.

So there you have it. In essence, there’s no magic bullet, just healthy living every day. There’s a wonderful book out called “The Slight Edge” by Jeff Olson that has helped me understand that each and every choice I make throughout the day – cheeseburger or salad, water or energy drink, swallow vitamins or roll my eyes at them – truly does make a difference. Start small – have one less drink at the pub or one extra hour of sleep instead of telly and work your way on from there. Health is a choice!

Stay happy and healthy!

P.S. If you already have a cold or the flu, do yourself a favor and check out this site. It explains why you’re sneezing and feverish and what you can do to heal faster!

To see some of the articles I used for this post, check out these sources

(Written by my wonderful Virtual Assistant)