Monday, April 20, 2009
Work From Home
Whether by choice or by default many of us are working from home these days. Many people however encounter difficulties as productivity and work often suffer; they get distracted by daily life or other people who believe they’re not doing anything important (otherwise you would be somewhere else…not home). If you are one of these people here are a few things you need to know to get your tasks done effectively and efficiently so you can get on with your life.
Create a home office: by doing this you are physically and mentally establishing an environment where you can get some real work done. One location where the activity that you carry out is work; you can reach your phone work on the computer find your stationary and supplies nothing will get in the way of your progress faster than rolling out of bed with your laptop to go and find the stapler in the kitchen to staple the files that are printing presently in your dining room.
Time Management: decide what time you are going to allot to work and work during those hours. While working at home allows you the freedom to work on your own time to much free reign might have you procrastinating and then struggling to get things done at the last minute. Make your self a schedule that works for you whether it’s a 4 day or 4 hour work week and stick to it. Minimize Distractions: TV’s, Video games, to loud music or other people can distract you from your work. If necessary work with out these distractions in or near your work space.
Get a second line: while this may be an additional cost initially it far out ways the costs of missing an important call because your teenager was in the midst of some juicy gossip. A phone line established for your business alone can keep your work separate from home life.
Dress for the office: while the allure of working in your pajamas might be all too tempting, dressing for work can you put you in a productive state of mind. Suit and tie is probably not necessary but business casual dress attire might put you in a working frame of mind.
Get out of the house: working at home and living at home can become tedious and de-motivating if you do not take time to get some fresh air and perspective. Do something out of the house daily in order the keep your mental health in check; take a garden lunch break or go for a walk around the neighborhood, it will revitalize your mind and get you ready to work some more.
Keep in contact: once in your house do not become a home body and loose contact with your social network, some face time with friends, family or colleagues will keep you healthy and probably help you live longer. Set boundaries: if you are working from home make sure people know that this is important and that your do not disturb sign or quiet time restrictions need to be respected. Also make boundaries for your self just because you work at home does not mean you have to take work home with you.
Make time for you and your family!
Sunday, April 19, 2009
Use Your Mood to Improve the World
Good health can be both the cause and consequence of being happy. That's why two pioneering scientists wanted to see if they could actually measure how happiness works in groups. What they discovered took everyone by happy surprise -- the happiness of others, even those you don't know, has a direct influence on your happiness.
The coauthor of this novel study on happiness, James Fowler, PhD, told me how the research was done. First his team combed through the records of 5,000 participants in the Framingham Heart Study, many of whom had identified one another as spouses, friends or neighbors. His team established a happiness baseline for these participants by checking their periodic answers to questions regarding their happiness over the past 20 years (1983 to 2003). Then they used a sophisticated statistical analysis tool to create a map of social connections among the initial 5,000 and other participants within the Framingham study. It showed how one person's happiness rippled like a network, creating a cascade of happiness that increased the likelihood of others being happy too.
They discovered that there were various degrees of influence depending on the degree of social connection and that it was quite predictable. For example, within your social network, the happiness of someone with whom you have frequent and regular personal contact, called an immediate social contact (for instance, your spouse or closest nearby friend), increases the likelihood of your happiness by an average of 15%. The happiness of a second-degree contact (for instance, your closest friend's spouse) increases your chances for happiness by 10%, while the happiness of a third-degree contact (your closest friend's friend's friend) increases it by 6%. In other words, your happiness is directly influenced by strangers.
MORE SPECIFIC LEARNINGS FROM THE HAPPINESS STUDY
- Proximity is key. The closer your happy friends and family live to you, the greater the probability that their happiness will affect you. For example, the happiness of your next door neighbor is more influential than the happiness of a neighbor who lives down the street.
- More social connections adds to your happiness. The bigger your social network of nearby happy friends and family, the greater the likelihood of your happiness.
- Unhappy people cluster together in unhappy networks. As the saying goes, misery loves company.
- Whether or not you were happy in the past and whether your social contacts are happy are more important predictors of happiness than your income, gender or education.
- Happiness is more powerful than unhappiness. The happiness of a friend increases the probability of your happiness by 9%... while his unhappiness decreases the chances of your happiness by only 7%.
- It's not fleeting. The impact of another's happiness on your happiness lasts about a year, on average, before fading.
HAPPINESS 2.0: ONLINE SOCIAL NETWORKSDr. Fowler and his coauthor Nicholas Christakis, MD, PhD, MPH, are now looking at the question of whether happiness spreads the same way via the Internet, specifically using the Facebook network. They assumed that those who posted smiling pictures of themselves with smiling friends were happy. Since Facebook automatically tags or uploads your photos to those registered as your "friends," they were able to trace the paths of these happy pictures. They found that smiling friends had photos of other smiling friends and so on and so on. (People who didn't smile in their photos, didn't have photos with friends who smiled, who in turn also didn't have photos of smiling friends.) Again -- happiness begets happiness and the same goes for unhappiness. Next they'll study how contagious online happiness turns out to be.
REACH OUT AND TOUCH SOMEONEDr. Fowler himself has been moved by his findings. "I think our study shows that the best thing we can do for ourselves is to connect to friends and family," says Dr. Fowler. "I have been personally affected by the study --
Have a good day, be well and take care
" a simple natural lifestyle and a chuckle a day keeps the doctor away'
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