Avoiding Screen Fatigue with F.lux

January 7, 2016 / no comments

It’s a tale as old as time, one where you’ve been plugging away at your computer for hours without looking away. All of a sudden you turn to look out the window, and it’s as though your whole life is flashing before your eyes. You’ve successfully entered the mid-afternoon computer screen fatigue panic! Your eyes may feel like the surface of the sun, but you must persevere.

Luckily, screen fatigue doesn’t have to be the rest of your life; F.lux is here to change this daily struggle.

F.lux is a completely (yes, completely) free application which you can access online that will alter thephoto cred: www.justgetflux.com“temperature” of your screen depending on the time of day. Particularly when you work in an office environment with lots of natural light, F.lux alters your computer screen’s warmth to accommodate outside changes as the day progresses. This is especially important after the sun goes down, where your screen will adopt a yellow-orange hue that might throw you off at first. Don’t worry though, as this is supposed to help facilitate pre-sleep. This is especially helpful if you’re a fan of watching Netflix, working, or canvassing eBay for collectible action figures right before bed.

Screen fatigue (and eye strain) from staring at your screen is only going to become more and more of a

photo cred: www.improveeyesighthq.com

photo cred: www.improveeyesighthq.com

problem as the work we do becomes more and more computer-centric. While we have discussed taking breaks away from your screen in previous blogs, it doesn’t change the fact that the majority of your day will be spent in front of your screen’s warm glow. Simple changes, like the one F.lux is providing, are monumental in their day-to-day effect on user’s lives. While it is important to ensure that you aren’t (literally and proverbially) glued to your screen, F.lux is a useful way to successfully complete your work and avoid the piercing pain of the 2 o’ clock screen assault.

F.lux is another example of applications making minor adjustments to our everyday lives, with life-changing results. 

How To Boost Your Creativity At Work

April 10, 2015 / no comments

Connecting with your inner creative self at work can be challenging sometimes, so here are some tips on how to boost your creativity in the workplace!

Stop Checking The Clock

 

You’ll be surprised how much your sense of time affects what you think you can accomplish in a workday. Constantly checking the clock is a key contributor to stress in the workplace, and effectively works to destroy an employee’s ability to think creatively. Try taking off your watch and letting your internal clock take over for a while, you’ll notice a difference in your overall productivity, efficiency and relaxation level.

 

Listen To Music

 

Listening to music at work can help you feel calm and relaxed, subsequently encouraging your brain to think more creatively and openly. Studies have established that listening to music creates emotions and a change in your overall mood through shifting brain waves. This shift works to anchor creativity by attaching certain feelings with certain songs. Essentially, these emotions evoked by listening to different types of music work to foster creative thinking and can even boost efficiency.

 

Take Breaks

 

 If you find yourself in a creative slump, try taking a constructive break. Spend some time doodling, reading, or doing a mental puzzle – anything to get your mind working more imaginatively. You’ll find that the distraction will help you approach your task with more clarity and inspiration. Planned breaks maximize efficiency, creativity and generally improve focus to complete the task at hand.

 

Collaborate

 

 Brainstorming is a tried and true method for producing creative ideas and stimulating creative thought. It is best for a brainstorming group to freely generate as many creative ideas as possible, without holding back. Once everyone has been given a chance to express his or her creative thoughts, the group should work together to evaluate each idea and come to a consensus on a final concept. Creativity is fostered when employees can effectively work together and feed off of each other’s ideas.

 

Be Positive

           

Being engaged and optimistic at your job will lead to more creativity and innovation while completing various projects. Being an engaged member of your organization contributes to increased motivation in the workplace, improves performance and the quality of your work. Basically, to be creative you need to care about your job and the work you are doing. If you participate in ‘self talk’ that asserts that “I’m not capable of creative thought,” then you are pigeonholing yourself and limiting your own ability. Everyone has the ability to be creative, partake in creative thought processes and be an innovator!

Mind Blown Moments: 4 powerful lessons that have made me a better (business) person

November 18, 2014 / no comments

We’ve all had that mind blown moment. A moment that resonates so completely within us; we internalize the experience and it changes the way we think. Those moments shape our future actions and motivations. The lessons we learn in life are just as valuable in becoming a better business person as the qualifications we hold. Here are 4 powerful moments that have changed my thinking and how these lessons have helped me become a better business person.

Travel will make you a stronger decision maker in uncertainty

Travel is one of the greatest influencers in changing people’s thinking and behaviour; it makes you gain a vast amount of perspective and is the perfect environment to test how you manage uncertainty because, like in business, things are not always going to go your way. And in this uncertainty we learn when to be firm, when to be flexible but most importantly when not to ‘sweat the small stuff’.

“Destiny is not a matter of chance; it is a matter of choice. It is not a thing to be waited for, it is a thing to be achieved.”

― William Jennings Bryan

Being Successful does not equal being happy

TedTalks are inspirational, motivational and a great resource for gaining insight but this specific TedTalk I watched because it was listed as ‘funny’, which is something I don’t usually associate with TedTalks. As I watched it I was in stitches with tears of laughter; but it was the point that psychologist, Shawn Achor, was making that stayed with me long after the 12min video had finished. There is a fundamental flaw in the way we perceive happiness and success as being mutually inclusive at work. This video supplies valuable lessons that will change how you think about being successful compared to being happy.

Emotional Intelligence is just as important as your other qualifications

The great poet and author Maya Angelou passed away peacefully this year on May 28. Having come from New Zealand I wasn’t overly familiar with her work so this year was the first time that I read her following quote.

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

– Maya Angelou

This is something that I have always intuitively understood but having someone put this experience to words takes it from being a subconscious thought to a conscious understanding. It helps us to understand how our interactions affect people. When we are genuine or insincere it may not be heard by others but it will be felt.

Always walk the talk

This song was strong and meaningful to my 12 year old self and even though I didn’t yet comprehend how these words of wisdom would impact my adult self, they resonated with me none the less. Many of these lessons can be challenging at times but I’ve been working on sticking with them for 15 years now. Sometimes I go back to this song and remind myself that it’s easy to make promises and knowing how you should be conducting yourself doesn’t equal living by those lessons. Same goes for business. Walk the talk. It won’t always be achieved but you should always strive to do what you know is right.

Lesson Takeaway

The powerful moments that reshape our thinking broaden our perceptions make us more receptive to learning, compassion and new experiences and these experiences in turn make us into better, in business and as people. What life lessons have you learned that have made you a better (business) person?

The Road to Enlightenment

October 22, 2014 / no comments

I like to stay inspired, learning what I can about the world. It’s been an experience continuing to open my eyes more and more, uncovering more about the purpose of life. Of my influences, Russell Brand is one person among many who serves as a valued voice speaking of the injustices that have been plaguing the world from wealth inequality to political corruption.

Many who are deeply intertwined and interested solely in pop culture know very little about the problems the facing our world today. People are focusing on their social media status or famous people who sing songs about money and getting girls, when these things are all totally insignificant to life. People with higher social status like Russell Brand, Matt Damon and Rob Schneider have been doing a great job expressing their opinions about what is actually going on in the world and why our current way of life isn’t sustainable. To me, it’s pretty cool to see celebrities use the platforms they have to express their point of view and try and awaken the minds of humanity.

Currently, with our culture in place, we often call celebrities like Russell Brand lunatics. Why? Because people haven’t been presented these ideas before. Having an open mind to all the possibilities of life is something that we all need to take into account. This is where we will find our true connection to each other and how the world is meant to be.

Learning more and what life presents and the infinite capacity for connection to all things. Using meditation helps to re-connect our spiritual being. “You think of yourselves as humans searching for a spiritual awakening, when in fact you are spiritual beings attempting to cope with a human awakening. Seeing yourselves from the perspective of the spirit within will help you to remember why you came here and what you came here to do.” – The Group. This is applicable to all human beings, whether you think it is or not. In my opinion, people should be living spiritual lives, but we are all stuck in the realm of our five senses (sight, hearing, taste, touch and smell). The next steps of evolution are to move on to the next realm of spiritual consciousness (enlightenment).

There is so much more than what we see in front of us. There is much more around than just what we are experiencing. Our eyes are only able to see between ultraviolet light and inferred light. Our ears can only hear between 20 to 20,000 decibels. It’s highly likely that there are other energies and consciousness moving through the universe that we don’t see. Looking within yourself holds true opportunity to limitless bliss for positive energy. Although I may not know and understand everything life presents, I am learning and open minded to all possibilities.

 

“When I Stop Struggling, I Float; It’s the Law.”

September 24, 2014 / no comments

We all struggle with the endless ups and downs of life; it’s human nature to isolate ourselves and think we’re alone in our experiences. Doing your best to stay positive is something certainly easier said than done. Certain events in life may bring forth negative thinking patterns that, when given the right opportunity, can wreak havoc on our lives. Reflection is great and healthy, however worrying too much about the past or the future can lead to negative emotions and thoughts. We might find that as soon as one bad thing happens, we associate it with other negative feelings and experiences things that have happened in our lives; it’s a miserable pattern at best.

It’s self destructive .

If you find yourself in these situations more often than you’d like, you are what scientists call a ruminator (or in other words, an over-thinker). This state of over thinking could actually be detrimental to your health, spanning over both mental and physical horizons. Holding and generating these negative feelings can be detrimental to human performance, leading to mental conditions like anxiety and depression.

Personally, I know how it feels to over-analyse life’s bits and pieces; I know how it feels to be miserable and somewhat depressed. It sucks; a lot. Nobody deserves that; to feel burdened and overwhelmed by forces seemingly out of their control, tides turned against them. But there are ways to get around these negative feelings and thought patterns; there is a way to power-through these times of confusion, over-reflection, and doubt.

These hurtful patterns won’t stop unless you put the dedication and effort into helping yourself. Based on scientific research and my own personal experiences and research, I’ve have found that these next 8 ways will drastically help you stop over thinking and just live life knowing there are going to be negative events, but you’ll be able to get through them both sane, productive and happy.

1) Accept that you have a problem with over-thinking.

This encompasses the healing process and will help you forgive yourself. Most people probably aren’t aware your brain is actually wired to make over thinking a natural tendency; it helps reinforce rational thought and create a pool of thoughtful answers to act upon.  Our thoughts are knitted together like a web instead of layered on top of one another. The imagery might not make total sense; I aware! But once you become more aware of this you can begin to solve the underlying issue. This is usually the first step in all healing processes; realization, reflection and acceptance.

 

2) Breathe more.

For me, this was the best thing that helped me through this same exact process. Breathing will relax you, calm you, connect you to the present moment and ground you to the world around you Taking three big breaths in through my nose and out through my mouth. This helps reconnect yourself with reality; you’d be surprised how often we lose our connection to reality and get caught up too deeply in remembrance. The world is in the present, ever changing; don’t get left behind in the past (or the future, for that matter).

 

3) Get active and stay busy.

Let the energy out and have fun! Physical activity actually provides enough absorption to pull you out of negative thinking and back into a state of flowing (floating) with life. It’s proven that exercise helps improve focus, productivity and, of course, your health (mental and physical).

 

4) Be mindful.

This takes some practice. Being able to live in the present moment and take each second at a time is one of the essential pillars of life; it’s valuing each second that passes by for what it is and realizing the life is precious and important. Lao Tzu once said: “If you are depressed you are living in the past, if you are anxious you are living in the future, and if you are at peace you are living in the present.” A great way to kick this into gear is to mediate and relax, breaking free of heavy thoughts. This clears your mind and presents a calm and an ‘at one feeling’ with the universe.

 

5) Surrender to the universe.

Don’t try to control every aspect of life; let life flow. In reality, we have little to no control over the unfolding of events before us, at least not from the conscious standpoint that our worrying will directly impact the outcome in the way we want. Surrender does not mean giving up; It means you are willing to go with the flow of the current instead of trying to swim against it and getting repeatedly bashed into the rocks. Surrender is a form of release and a form of peace. It means you are willing to trust that everything will work out as it’s supposed to.

 

6) Your thoughts create your own reality.

Our thoughts actually do shape our reality through influencing our actions and expectations; it a way, they can affect what we see in front of us. The more you worry about something, the more you’ll begin to attract that exact same energy you are worried about! Jimmy Ohm always says: “Worrying is a misuse of creative energy.” Focus on important things, but don’t forget the more you worry, the worse your outlook will become.

 

You have all the tools to be positive and create a life that you want. Live each day one at a time, be thankful for this life you have. Be patient, take the time to find inner peace in each present moment no matter if its negative or positive.

My Perspective on Life & The World

September 17, 2014 / no comments

For my weekly blogs, I’d rather talk about what’s happened in my life and what’s going on in the universe. Every time I do, I feel like reader’s have no idea where my head is, like I’m crazy or something. From my point of view, most people think that life is nothing but what they see in front of them; ‘what you see is what you get’. Black and white. I refuse to accept that belief and point of view (respectfully, of course), because I know there’s more under the surface of every experience and opportunity; to every facet of life.

Life is so much more than what we get to see each day. So many people do things in this day and age without thinking; without first understanding the consequences of their actions and being able to accept they play a part in their own mistakes. Countless oil spills and wars could have been avoided had we simply just worked together and stopped closing our minds to new ideas, focusing solely on ourselves. We take the Earth and perhaps life for granted. Living each day like you have a thousand more to go. There’s nothing more precious than life itself, so why are we intent on living in the now? Why aren’t we looking to the future, preserving the world for our children and their children?

What is life? What is reality? These are questions we may never understand, but while we have the time to find out as much as possible about the world around us, I think it’s a good idea to keep our minds open. There are so many different theories of life and human existence and how we can improve ourselves. It’s a pretty uneducated to only believe in one point of view when the possibilities of life are endless.

Yes there might be a God. Or, there may very well not be. I’ve always told myself to keep an open mind and take all possibilities into account. Show respect towards all ways of life and beliefs. Never judge no matter the situation.

I wish I could do something to help change peoples minds about disrespecting the people of the world, no matter their religions or their ways of life. There’s no reason to start wars or show disrespect towards another country’s beliefs because you disagree with their traditions. You may never know; whatever they believe may happen to be reality. How are we to know?

Until you get the perspective of whole world and how other people live, there’s no reason to be so confident that our ways are the only ones. What makes us so sure we’re ‘enlightened’? Well, I believe it’s all about the human condition, something in itself that’s confusing enough.

My goal in life is to travel the world, to go to every nook and cranny. I want to literally see every country and how they live, learning from them because each of their experiences are different. This planet we call home is so expansive and mysterious; there’s so much we can’t see, and that’s because of both the size of the Earth and the plethora of experiences and viewpoints amongst various cultures. I’m going to travel and keep travelling until I’ve seen the perspective of the entire world in front of me. Every person on this Earth should get the opportunity to do the same. We are all equal. We are all brothers and sisters. Keep an open mind; life will surprise you if you do.

How Often Should I Post to My Blog?

September 15, 2014 / no comments

Blogging isn’t for everyone, which is exactly why it’s turned into a service where businesses pay agencies and freelancers to manage their network for them. Bloggers, content creators, writers, storytellers, copy artists: they’re called many things by many different people, but those who offer blogging services, either independently or as part of an agency, are great researchers and writers above all.

Not sure what message to send to your audience? Good bloggers can summarize your business goals, strengths, tone and more, establishing a solid foundation for your brand online. They’re indispensable, but the importance of blogs for both business and personal use still goes unappreciated.

But hopefully you’ve been educated and told that maintaining a blog is a good idea for establishing a digital presence. If you’re unsure how often to post to your blog (regardless if you’re managing it or not), you’ve come to the right place. Our blogging service can set you on the path to a great digital presence with a SEO foundation and followers who love your content. If you have some blog ideas but don’t know how often to post, keep reading.

Blogging for someone who doesn’t do it often can feel more of a chore than an accomplishment. Blogs usually take so long to impact SEO that some businesses don’t even bother to update regularly. So what are they missing out on? Why shouldn’t you just turn to your current digital strategy? Your blog is a place to start conversation. It’s a resource that could make businesses standout as an influencer in their field. It’s a channel to provide value and meaning to their potential customers and clients.

It would be a mistake not to blog, especially on a consistent schedule. I’m not talking about posting at the exact same minute each and every week, but rather how much you post a month. What’re the best practices? Well, if you can create content you actually find interesting to write about (which I suggest you do, as your audience will be more enthralled with you writing), I would recommend at least one post every week. That amounts to about four a month, which is actually pretty considerable; depending on the quality of your writing, it might take you an hour to create a strong blog post. It may take you significantly longer, and that’s okay. Keeping to a schedule will help make creating posts easier by helping you set aside time to actually get around to making them.

A post a week will likely improve your SEO less than putting out two or three a week, but that doesn’t mean you should give up and not bother posting if your competitors are creating content left and right. Quality content trumps quantity any day of the week these days, and SEO algorithms are only improving, highlighting the importance honest content instead of vast legions of poor, unoptimized copy. Also, SEO is only part of the story; blogging can bring you more traffic if shared and linked across the internet, increasing your fanbase and helping others ascribe value to your brand. This is why blogging is invaluable to businesses in this day and age: blogs (with properly crafted content optimized for your audience) that offer value are useful in their own sense, and in the everyday world, value is actually worth something.

You want more customers? You want more people to care about your brand? Offer them something each and every week; offer them something useful they can take home and improve their businesses and their lives. Keep them coming back. Keep them interested, and they’ll never forget you.

Social Media: The Decline of Face-to-Face Communication

September 10, 2014 / 4 comments

Commuting back and forth to work everyday, you tend to see a lot of different people. Everybody’s different in there own way. There’s one thing that everybody has these days: a cell phone. 9/10 people are either looking down at their cell phone, scrolling through the Facebook news feed or talking with somebody on a call.

This new technology has completely changed the way we communicate. It’s changed just about everything about us, altering our very culture; it’s changed the way we engage with one another, the way we market brands and ourselves. To all of us it seems like these applications have been around for quite some time, but they’re still fairly new. We’ve become so wrapped up with new technology that we’ve pretty much forgot how to engage and interact with each other face-to-face. This is a growing fact in the world today that we simply can’t ignore.

Its a little scary if you ask me. Why? Well, most of these large networks and communities won’t just stop growing; Facebook is a prime example. Communication has gone from human contact to technological contact in no time flat. People now feel comfortable messaging a friend across the room when they can easily speak out load to communicate with them. Out of convenience? I’m not so sure, but it’s a notable trend. I’ve been taking some steps to keep face-to-face communication alive for myself. I urge you to do the same. This will be beneficial for more than one reason. You will be able to speak your mind a lot easier, feel more comfortable in front of an audience, and express your feelings in a better way than through text. The true way genuine relationships are made is from face to face contact. Verbal instead of written. Expressing and feeling someone else’s emotions is nothing like reading it on your cell phone. Speak your mind out loud, you’ll find more people tend to listen and remember you.

Of course using social media is a great way to keep in touch with friends and family; we can attach media, use emoticons and more. It adds communication where we’d normally be without it; where we’d be without the human contact we prefer at the moment in time. It’s great for following your interests and hobbies, keeping track of the newest products and trends. But If these people really mean a lot to you, you’ll take the extra effort to see them and communicate with them in person.

This especially true for the newest generation of kids. All they see and want is technology; newest iPhone: check. The fastest, thinnest tablet: check. If parents don’t start teaching them how to connect and communicate with people, then there’s little hope of a future with intimate, natural contact. We will be communicating through technology and that’s it. Using video calls instead of meeting somebody to talk. Should we call it lazy way to communicate? That lies in the eye of the beholder, but let’s be serious and honest with ourselves: social media and digital communications amplify the human experience, but we need to remind ourselves that balance is important and so are real life conversations.

Lets make eye contact, share emotion and thought. Lets do it through face-to-face communication and ensure we treasure personal, intimate conversation.

When Opportunity Conquers Fear

September 3, 2014 / no comments

There’s always some sort of up and down in life. It’s never just a steady track. When you think about past experiences and what you’ve been through, they’re all a sum of who you are as a person today; the good and the bad are equally important.

We will all come across big opportunities to achieve something great, but we may be too nervous or lack the confidence to press forward; for example, interviews or presentations are the two things that always make me sweat. When I got my first agency job, I almost didn’t go to the interview. I was so nervous I couldn’t get up out of bed. Somehow, I found the courage to get up and go. Once I arrived at the building, I took a deep breath and told myself I could do it and everything would be ok. Even if I didn’t get the position, I should be proud of myself that I went. I got the job and am happy to this day for making the decision to try.

Learning from that experience has showed me that I do have the skills and confidence to impress. Everything up to this point and forward has all been worth it; the long hours of work throughout high school, public school and college paid off. If I didn’t have these experiences, I wouldn’t be in the place I am today. Maybe you can relate to my story. I’m sure many people have had similar experiences and benefited from them. No matter the out come, as long as you’ve learned from them and moved forward, you’ve won.

Everybody is going through their own problems and experiences. There’s never any good reason to judge somebody or be negative towards them. Treat people how you want to be treated. You will find that you are much happier. Don’t let your ego control you. Just be. And let other people be.

Confidence is a major part of life. The ego works off of that. Your ego comes out when you don’t feel confident enough to do something. So you judge other people or think negatively about them to make yourself feel better. I’m not somebody to share about my life and my perspective on things because of my confidence, but I am doing it anyways. Pushing through that barrier and expressing my understanding of life.

I challenge you to do the same. No matter what it is. Take risks. Try new things. These experiences will improve who you are. Stay positive. Life will present you with the endless possibilities of the universe.