“One of my favorite aspects of the smartphone revolution is the interconnected nature of devices,” says life coach Luke Hughes. “Using phone notes that are synced to WiFi or phone data, you can write down all your ideas under subheadings for different projects. Then, at a later date, you can return to these ideas on your laptop or permanent workstation when you have the time and motivation to research them further. This cross-pollination between devices is ideal for busy working professionals who work on several projects at once.”
Ways to Improve Your Life in 7 Days
The only way to improve your life is to consistently make choices that will make your life better. It’s tempting to think you need to make sweeping changes in an effort to shake things up and improve everything all at once. But the reality is, it’s the little things that add up and have a huge impact on us.
If you really want to start improving your life, start with small but meaningful steps that you can build on over time. Take on new and exciting activities, but begin slowly so you don’t get overwhelmed. In no time, you’ll begin to see your life improved by taking steps that help you build knowledge, improve confidence and engage in activities that make you feel healthier and more connected to your inner self and to others.
Here are seven steps that will help open your mind, release stress and remind you of what’s really important in life. Start today, and in just seven days you’ll begin to notice the small but profound improvements to your life.
Begin learning a new skill.
What’s one thing you’ve always wanted to learn, but have never made the time for? Maybe you’ve always wanted to learn to speak a foreign language, play an instrument, knit or use a sewing machine. You may wish you had a practical skill, like Photoshop or Excel spreadsheets, but never made the time to learn it.
Or you may consider taking up an activity you used to enjoy but gave up on, like learning how to Rollerblade or ski. Pick something that’s been gnawing at the back of your mind and come up with a plan to learn it.
Next, look for the resources you need to help you master this new skill. To learn a foreign language, there are a number of apps available for download. LinkedIn Learning offers many tutorials to help you with business, management and software tools. YouTube is another great resource, offering free tutorials on anything from learning to Rollerblade to using a sewing machine. Set aside 15-30 minutes every day to work on your new skill, and see how awesome it feels to start chipping away at this bigger goal.
Easy Ways to Improve Yourself and Your Life (Even if You’re Busy)
But improving your life—or yourself—doesn’t have to be about making one big gesture. Instead, it typically comes down to the small things you do every day that can add up to larger growth in the long run. These small habits and practices may help you increase your confidence, reduce your stress, build deeper relationships, stabilize your work-life balance, become a healthier person (mentally, emotionally, or physically), and be happier.
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I’m sure you’re sick of hearing that you should “totally try meditation,” especially from your (newly) yoga-devoted mother. But mindfulness is a lot more realistic to achieve than the kind of meditation you hear about because it doesn’t require years of practice or a yoga mat. Mindfulness only takes 30 minutes (or less!) and can be done without leaving your desk.
One way to have a productive day—and save yourself time in the morning—is to break down every task you need to do into small steps and then schedule all of them. This means you know exactly what activity you’ll do from the moment you wake up.
Sounds a bit overwhelming, yes, but the reason it works is because you don’t waste any time trying to decide on things—spending 10 minutes picking out an outfit, spending 15 minutes deciding if you want to go on a run—you just do it. And that way, you’ll (almost) always be out of the house exactly on time.
For example, every evening I shower, make my lunch for the next day, and spend 10 or so minutes doing something that relaxes me, whether that’s scrolling through social media, reading 15 pages of a book, or talking to my parents on the phone. The consistency helps me fall asleep better and feel prepared to conquer the next day.
Especially when you’re busy or stressed, it can be hard to get your best sleep every night, even with an awesome bedtime routine. Try creating a space where you’ll always feel good going to bed by using one or more of these seven quick DIY projects.
Making your meals every day not only guarantees you have control over your health, but it’s also cheaper and a great way to learn a new skill or experiment with your cooking abilities. Plus, you get to boast to coworkers when they ask where you got the food. For some brag-worthy recipes, check out these 52 lunch ideas, or these quick office snack ideas.
Muse writer Kat Boogaard learned many valuable lessons after eating lunch away from her desk. For one thing, taking a break is just good for you. But she also realized the importance of practicing work-life balance all day, rather than just after work was over. By giving yourself that time off during office hours, you’re already one step closer to a healthier, well-balanced life.
TED Talks are like mini-lectures. They just might teach you more about yourself, inspire you to innovate, or just introduce an interesting new topic. Plus, they’re usually only about 20 minutes—so you can watch one and get a super quick knowledge boost while getting ready for work in the morning, during your lunch break, or when you’re sitting in a waiting room.
Similarly, podcasts are great on-the-go entertainment. And a lot of the time they’re just what you need to unwind. I’m a big fan of tackling one podcast during my commute each day—half of it on the way to work, half on the way back, and the stories always bring out some real emotions. (For reference, my favorites are This American Life and You’re the Expert.) But the types of podcasts out there are very nearly limitless. So whether you want to catch up on the news, learn something new, hear what people are saying about your favorite topic (whether that’s fantasy sports, The Real Housewives, historical events, or video games), experience a fascinating true story, or laugh at something more light-hearted, you can find the perfect podcast for every mood.
Freewriting is basically what the name implies: writing, freely—as in without any directions or constraints. You don’t need to be a writer to freewrite. In fact, dropping all the concerns about how your writing sounds or whether it’s grammatically correct is key. You just set a timer and start writing, maybe with a prompt or question to get you started, and see where the writing takes you. It’s a great way to discover something new about what you want or what you’re feeling. Here are five prompts to help you freewrite your way out of a career slump (plus a few tips).
Deceptively Simple Tasks That Can Actually Improve Your Life
It’s all-too-common to want to improve your life so that you’re living the best one possible. But the hard part comes in figuring out how to improve your life. While you may have massive ideas to change things up, the truth is that smaller, more sustainable actions and hacks actually help you improve your life day-to-day, which really adds up over time. These deceptively simple little tricks and habits can help you be more productive, feel happier, work more efficiently, and generally get more out of life. And for more great ways to change your life for the better, check out 50 Important Habits Linked to a Longer Life.
“Use that time to sit quietly and focus on what you want your day to look like, jot down what is most important to accomplish, and relax as you sip coffee or tea,” says Diana Fletcher, life coach and stress reduction expert. “This time you take to focus in the morning will save you hours in your day. You won’t waste time on trivial things because you have already decided what is the priority and what outcomes you want.”
Sometimes all it takes is a moment outside to make things better. A 2010 study published in the Journal of Environmental Psychology showed that spending just 20 minutes a day surrounded by nature increased people’s vitality levels. And Candra Canning, founder of Live Bright Now, says even just a one-minute nature break can help.
“Slow down on your way out the door in the morning, or take a moment to look at the sky while on your lunch break,” says Canning. “Science proves that your brain and body chemistry get the same benefit as if you were gazing at the Grand Canyon. Taking in the details can connect you back to yourself which will leave you relaxed and confident.”
“It allows you to walk through your day, so if you walk into the office and someone asks ‘Do you have a minute?’ you will know if you do or don’t.” Bonus: If you make a to-do list at the same time, you’ll find that this productivity hack actually helps improve your sleep as well.
“Isolation breeds discontent,” says Raffi Bilek, a psychotherapist and director of the Baltimore Therapy Center. “You don’t have to be the life of the party; having just one or two close friends keeps you feeling connected and alive.” And, if you’re looking for a little friendship inspiration, check out these 50 Ways to Make New Friends After 50.
There’s no doubt that maintaining your relationship with close friends and family is important. However, a landmark 1973 study published in the American Journal of Sociology showed that “weak ties,” or people who are more acquaintance-level connections, are the ones who can actually help you out the most in terms of developing new contacts, improving career prospects, and generally meeting new people. Each week, set a goal to get in touch with one person you haven’t talked to in a while, and you’ll find your personal and professional networks growing faster than ever before. And for more ways to connect with old friends, check out 60 Funniest One-Liners That Will Leave Your Friends Laughing.
If you always wish you could spend more time with your family, this one’s for you. “Family is all about focus,” says Arman Sadeghi, business coach and founder of Titanium Success. “For most of us, family is the most important thing. However, most of us simply don’t schedule enough time with our family, so that time is what always gets squeezed out. Instead of allowing that to happen, actually schedule the time with family, including scheduling date night with your spouse or an evening with the kids.” And if you’re looking for a little family fun, check out these 12 Fun Family Games Everyone Will Get a Kick Out of Playing.
Instead of spreading out conference calls throughout the day, book them all in quick succession. “It takes as much time to make one phone call as five,” Carson says. “It’s a flow.” Plus, if you have another call lined up afterwards, you’ll have a reason to keep each call to its designated amount of time rather than letting it take up more of your day than necessary. And for more on managing your communication flow, check out The Secret to Better Communication With Your Partner, According to a Relationship Expert.
“During morning hours, cortisol acts as your energy hormone and your focus and concentration are better than any other time of day,” says Debra Atkinson, a productivity, fitness, and wellness coach with Flipping Fifty. So, use biology to your advantage and leave more mundane tasks for later in the day. And if you’re not a morning person but would like to be, check out these 20 Better Sleep Essentials That’ll Have You Waking Up Well-Rested Every Morning.