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Life Hacks

Personal Development Hack 155: How to use job crafting?

Job crafting is an employee-initiated approach which helps employees to shape or redesign their own work environment’s demands and resources in such a way that it fits their individual needs. Therefore, the fundamental theme is to craft our work in such a way that it matches with our strengths, motives and passion. 

So, how to do effective job crafting? Berg, Dutton, and Wrzesniewski (2013), came up with a very effective approach to job crafting, which they divided into several parts that keep each of those job demands and resources into account. For this, employees need to keep asking themselves two questions: How could they reduce their psychological costs including stress and energy? And where might they welcome a challenge in their role? 

The following are the steps for building job crafting: 

  1. Start with making a ‘before sketch’. In this sketch write different tasks you do and how you spend or allocate your time at work. Remember to think this in terms of energy, and broadly about resources and demands.
  2. Secondly, divide your whole job into three types of task blocks. These blocks are in increasing order of their size where the biggest block is for tasks which consume most of your effort and time, and the smallest block is for those that take up least of your energy and time.
  3. After doing this, start with making an ‘after diagram’ of what your ideal role should look like. Here, use your strengths, passions, and motives to create something more meaningful and exciting for yourself. Remember to not step completely outside of your formal responsibilities. 
  4. Finally, your last step is to create an action plan to set some goals (both short and long-term) so that you can move your before diagram (current job) to your after Diagram (ideal job)?

A more easier approach to do this job crafting is to focus on 3 types of job crafting namely “task, relationship and mindset crafting” and changing those roles to fit your passion and needs. Such that:

1. Task crafting focuses on what tasks you need to craft. 

2. Relationship crafting focuses on what interactions you need to craft. 

3. Mindset crafting focuses on which mindset you are currently using and which mindset will fit your needs and resources. 

Challenge: Identify your current blocks and write your biggest block in the comment section that consumes most of your resources.

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Personal Development Hack 154: How to release your stress.

how to build a successful mindset

Experiencing stress is a normal response to being able to healthily deal with situations on a daily basis. This healthy stress is known as eustress, an example of it could be completing your work before the deadline to watch a movie. Oftentimes what we experience is called distress, which impacts both our mental and physical state of being. One of the most suggested ways of dealing with such stress is trying out breathing exercises. 

For this purpose, try these two breathing techniques to better deal with stress:

  1. Morning breathing: This is a preventative exercise to reduce the amount of stressful experiences in one’s life. It is to be practiced as the very first thing in the morning to relieve your muscles and clear breathing passages, in order to begin your day while feeling better. To learn this, follow the steps below:
    1. Stand and bend forward a little so that your arms get closer to the ground. 
    2. Slowly inhale and move back to the standing position. 
    3. Hold your breath for only a few seconds in this position. 
    4. Slowly exhale and get back to the bending position. 
    5. Repeat this for a couple of times.

  1. Diaphragmatic/belly breathing: This exercise is helpful when you don’t want to move much and just want to relax yourself while lying down on your bed or sofa. To do this:
    1. Start with getting into a comfortable seated or lying down position.
    2. Then place one hand on your chest and another hand on your stomach. 
    3. Now, slowly breathe through your nose while actively expanding your stomach upward, pushing upward on your hand while keeping your chest still. 
    4. Exhale with your mouth and let all the air out of your stomach. 
    5. Repeat up to 10 times.

Challenge:  Try either or both of the techniques mentioned above and write how you felt in the comment section.

“Breathe. Let go. And remind yourself that this very moment is the only one you know you have for sure.” 

– Oprah Winfrey

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Personal Development Hack 153: How to boost resilience in a team?

We juggle multiple projects, in-office politics, conflicts, and even our personal life issues each day. All these act as stressors living in our occupational world, a new addition to it is the transformation to a more virtual mode of communication. All these stressors have been observed to impact employee performance levels and are in turn also correlated to having an experience of burnout mostly resulting in a higher employee turnover. Therefore, finding a way to healthily cope with all these stressors has become the need of the hour.

Resilience has been found to be one of the most successful coping mechanisms for a majority of the employees. Being resilient at work not only increases employees’ performance, but it also increases the team’s overall success. Furthermore, resilient employees make positive relationships at work and boost team-building to help in each other’s successes

So, how to boost resilience in a team? A simple and effective hack is to establish checklists and guides that are specific to the organization. Both checklist and guide would then become a “go-to” resource for the team members to use under stressful circumstances for themselves as well as guide other team members when they are visibly under stress. The checklist may include:How are employees feeling at present? 

1. How stressful do they perceive themselves or their teammates to be?

2. How resilient do they or their teammates feel right now?.

And a few measures for guides can include:

1. Who should they contact during a challenging time?

2. Tips and tricks for new employees to handle things at ease

3. A few reminders of their achievements to boost their confidence

4. A few affirmations and breathing exercises to help them relax 

Challenge: Write a short checklist in the comment that will work with your organization and teammates.

Bonus tip: Having debriefing sessions after overcoming challenges helps employees to reflect on their current strengths which aid them to healthily cope with the challenge and in turn boost their resilience. 

Resilience is not what happens to you. It’s how you react to, respond to, and recover from what happens to you.”

– Jeffrey Gitomer

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Personal Development Hack 152: How to control your impulses?

How often do you find yourself buying things other than those you had pre-decided while in the supermarket? Or doing things on impulse?  Or being unable to stop yourself from eating unhealthy food, especially when working on improving your health? If you agree to these situations then you might be facing a problem with controlling your impulses and face difficulty in delaying gratification, which is the act of resisting an impulse to take an immediately available reward in the hope of obtaining a much more valued reward in the future. This delaying gratification is also essential for self-regulation.

In 1972, psychologist Walter Mischel conducted the famous marshmallow experiment where he found that participants who as a child were unable to resist eating marshmallows in front of them knowing that they would be rewarded with more marshmallows if they do not get tempted with this first one, became adults who were less likely to finish college and earned lesser incomes than children who delayed their gratification and controlled their impulses. A possible reason may be that while instant gratification gives us the reward we seek, it also distracts us from meaningful pursuits in life that may further result in destructive financial, health, or social outcomes.  

So, how to control these impulses or learn delay of gratification? A hack that you can learn from the kids who successfully controlled their impulses is a positive distraction. They sang songs and created a kind of play for themselves to control their impulses. You can also positively distract yourself when you feel an impulse. For example: Think about an impulse you have a hard time controlling and write a few positive distractions that you can use when you feel those impulses in the comment section. 

Bonus tip: Tracking and journaling your impulses is a reliable and efficient way to improve your overall capacity to delay gratification. Hence, try to note down your everyday progress in a journal and how that makes you feel after the day. This will make you more self-aware as well as mindful about your impulse control. 

Remember, controlling impulses and delaying gratification helps in many areas of life but it’s okay to have a few cheat days in a while.  

“The ability to subordinate an impulse to a value is the essence of the proactive person.”                       

 -Stephen Covey

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Personal Development Hack 151: How to deal with job burnout?

Experiencing burnout at the job? Studies report that 77% of the employees admitted that they experienced burnout in their current job, wherein more than half of them further described experiencing more than one occurrence of burnout. Job burnout is characterized by three negative symptoms or outcomes known as emotional exhaustion, increased negative feelings about work and feeling incompetent and inefficient. 

So, how to deal with job burnout? A common assumption or approach taken by the majority of employers and employees to deal with job burnout is to take a vacation. While it may help, research suggests that daily recovery efforts are more important than a vacation. And that makes more sense as taking a vacation can give you the break and self-care you need, but there will be more pending work when you come back. Therefore, try to take more frequent breaks in your day, go for a little walk in these breaks so that you can release the stress-coping hormones and eventually feel better.   

Also, oftentimes employees are doing things that aren’t even in their job description, hence another way to deal with job burnout is to compare your regular tasks with your job description and make a list of things you are doing extra, the next step is to present this extra task’s list to your superior stating that as you are doing extra work and will need more time and assistance for successfully completing the same. 

Finally, remember to detach yourself physically as well as mentally from your work after your working hours by closing your laptop and being there for your own self with yourself.

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Personal Development Hack 150: How to build self-discipline?

Do you find yourself struggling to follow through with a set goal? In the 21st century, Self-discipline which involves our ability to stay motivated, be on track in order to take action, and achieve the target goals we set for ourselves has become of utmost importance. This discipline is crucial for our overall life as studies report that those with higher levels of self-discipline have higher self‐esteem, better relationships, better interpersonal skills, and better emotional intelligence. Furthermore, they are also more satisfied and happy.

But, why do we face difficulty in being disciplined? A few possible reasons include fear of failure, lack of clarity of purpose in life or having people in the environment who enjoy spontaneous things instead of planned discipline. As discipline is something that we learn while growing up, therefore, the early development of a child is very crucial. The famous psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud proposed that children who fixate on the psychosexual development stages tend to later lack discipline in their life. 

So, how to build self-discipline? A simple hack could be the 3-C technique. This technique helps to build discipline for anything by a three-step process involving:

  1. Creating a goal
  2. Challenging yourself 
  3. Creating a deadline. 

This is an effective hack, as once you start using this method for multiple things, you will realize that the discipline learned for one thing, tends to pervade to other things as well. 

For example, if a person’s specific goal is to build the discipline of waking up early then you need to:

  1. Create a goal for when you want to wake up. 
  2. Challenge yourself by noting down the reduction in the number of alarms you now need in order to wake up and how early you woke up before an alarm rang.
  3. Put a deadline with a cost, for example, if you don’t build discipline of waking up early until the week after the next, then you will pay some money to your friend or family member as a fine. 

Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishment.” 

– Jim Rohn 

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Personal Development Hack 149: How to Achieve Balance in Life?

We all have different priorities and aspirations in life that motivate us. Imagine these aspirations or goals as pillars that help you to build a stable home or stable life, hence, it’s crucial to have a balance with these three pillars: career, love, and purpose.

So, how to work on these pillars? To build an effective career pillar, identify if you have clear career goals or not by asking yourself a few questions such as:

1. Where do I want to reach in the next 10 years? 

2. What role or kind of work should I be mastering in these coming years? 

3. Which person’s career do I aspire to the most?

4. What am I doing to reach there? 

Once you have clarity on the question above, then it’s time to boost up your pillar strength by identifying the following, usually having a coach or mentor helps you to make better career decisions:

1. Where do you lack strength?

2. Do you need to get more training about something? 

3. Do you need a mentor? 

4. Do you need to go back to college to get another degree?  

To build an effective Love pillar, begin by identifying different variations of love you already have. For example, you might have unconditional love for someone close to you, you might have comradery love for your friend and you might have nurturing love for your pet. Then identify the time and effort you make for these people and try to find a balance between the give and take of the affection amongst the two of you. And remember, it’s okay to be vulnerable around your close one, it helps in building more trust and a genuine relationship with others.

To build an effective purpose pillar, you need to understand that it’s not about personal or career-related purpose, it’s about the purpose which helps you to make your mark on the world. Hence, think about what difference you want to make in the world. You can move towards making such a difference by working on both micro and macro levels. For example, if you think your purpose is to make people’s life better then on a micro level you may work on bringing smiles to your friend’s or family members face, and on a macro level, you may start a blog or choose a career option that impacts other’s happiness.

Remember your purpose can change or shift with time, so there’s no hard and fast rule to stick to a purpose when you don’t feel passionate about it or if it doesn’t give you peace and satisfaction.  

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Personal Development Hack 148: How to Build 360-degree feedback?

360-degree feedback is a process where a given employee gets feedback on not only their performance, but also on job-related behaviors, competencies, and skills from a number of different employees that have different working relationships with the employee or employees. This 360 feedback helps employees to become more aware of their weaknesses so that they can grow as an employee, helps them to understand their strengths and also learn how to fully capitalize them. Furthermore, it helps employees to decrease conflicts within the team and make employees feel that their feedback is appreciated. 

How to administer 360-degree feedback? 360-degree feedback usually includes 6-10 employees who complete an anonymous online feedback form. This anonymity helps employees to become completely honest with their feedback. The feedback form includes questions such as how well the employee is the work, teamwork, interpersonal communication, and respecting organizational and cultural values. These respondents are those employees whose work gets affected by the employee for example coworkers and managers. The employee themselves also fills their feedback form and usually, all of this is supervised by an external professional who can be truly unbiased.  

Implementing a 360-Degree feedback system also needs the whole team to be on board with the idea, including higher management. This becomes necessary because if the managers are not leading by themselves as an example, then the rest of the employees will have no incentive to follow the program. Furthermore, it is necessary to make sure that the objectives and process of the feedback are clear for all those who are involved. The objective is to improve employee’s growth and the process should include providing support to the employee to grow instead of criticism. 

Remember, the goal of a 360-degree feedback program is not to use it as a one-time process to assess employee appraisal, but to implement a long-term solution for performance as well as overall improvement of the employees. Hence, organizations should encourage regular feedback reviews, maybe at the end of every week or month, that will allow employees to build a positive feedback culture in the workplace.

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Personal Development Hack 147: How to Increase your social intelligence?

We are social beings and often rely on each other’s cooperation in different areas of life, including personal relationships as well as building social networks at work. This social intelligence within each of us allows an individual to form meaningful friendships, alliances, be able to identify situations where they might be at a disadvantage, and find ways to successfully deal with them. Some other common characteristics of socially intelligent people include the ability to understand as well as act on, the feelings, thoughts, and behaviors of other people. Hence, it’s a skill you need to boost irrespective of your career and personal choices. 

So, How to boost social intelligence? The first step is to build social awareness that comes from paying close attention to what (and who) is around you. To learn this:

1. Try to be more observant. 

2. Pay attention to small and subtle social cues from those around you. 

3. Try to notice when people enter a room or conversation, who do these people find more comfortable talking with, what kind of conversation is liked by people near you. 

Another effective hack is to learn how to play social roles. Social roles are the different behaviors people play as a member of different groups so that they match the expectations and norms of the role as well as the group members and become comfortable with all kinds of people. Therefore, to become a socially intelligent person, you need to know how to play different social roles in different settings. And to learn this:

1. Try to do a role play 

2. Imagine yourself in different social groups and imagine the social role you need to play in each of these groups. List out those different roles and observe how much of these you apply in real life. 

Bonus tip: Try to observe someone in your life who has strong people skills, and watch how they interact with others, and list 5 things you can learn from them.

There is something I call social intelligence. You can do a lot in life on your own and you can do all kinds of stuff, but if you’re really bad with people, if you’re really naive or aggressive and push people away, if you don’t know the political environment you’re in, it invalidates all the things you know. You’re not going to get anywhere.” 

~ Robert Greene

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Personal Development Hack 146: How to deal with procrastination?

How many times have you realized that even though you have a task to complete, you just couldn’t help bring yourself to do it and this somehow started to affect your sleep pattern as well as the quality of the task? We often find ourselves trapped in the habit of procrastination, which negatively affects your work along with your overall health by increasing stress related problems such as headaches and digestive issues. Researchers interviewed over 10,000 people for a survey and found that procrastination actually takes away some of their happiness. 

But, why do we engage in procrastination? A common explanation could be our lack of interest and our fears of failure, fear of the unknown, and/or even the fear of being judged for a task. Another possible explanation involves a person’s need for perfection, they are found stuck on a task, mulling over how it is not good enough due to the high standards which they set for themselves own self and sometimes they think that if they start a task they can’t stop until it’s all done; so if they can’t do it all, they won’t do any of it. An all-or-nothing thinking pattern. 

How to deal with procrastination? A simple hack is a five-minute approach. To do this:  

1. Commit five minutes of your day to begin doing this task.

2. Then you may commit five more minutes or if it feels too much too soon then maybe take a 2 minutes break.

The idea is to keep using this approach until your task is finished. This can be a surprisingly effective way to start intermediate and longer-term projects because it’s often easier to maintain momentum after you’ve initiated a preliminary action.

Furthermore, you can continue deciding at five-minute intervals or even choose another interval that works for you until you complete your tasks. Try to use different time intervals as per your need and write which one works best for you in the comments section.

Another hack to push yourself to start the goal or task is to build your accountability in front of others. You can do this by telling some of your friends, colleagues, acquaintances, and family about your projects. Now whenever you see them, they are bound to ask you about your status on those projects.

Remember to leave a healthy amount of time for emergencies and rest periods but don’t give yourself a week when you really need a day or two for that work.

“You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.” ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

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Personal Development Hack 145: How to heal from a dysfunctional family?

Families tend to be our ground one support system, it’s where we learn and grow. This growth may not always be positive as about 96% of all families in the world are suggested to be dysfunctional. Experiences ranging from emotional/physical abuse, conditional love, controlling behavior, and such exhibited by the parents are the core of dysfunction within a family. 

These dysfunctional experiences further include difficulty in starting and maintaining relationships, feeling a lack of self-worth and self-esteem, difficulty in communicating emotions, and so on, which negatively influence a person’s career and personal life. Hence, it’s crucial to learn how to heal from the dysfunctionality of your family.  

But, why do most of the families have some level of dysfunction? There can be numerous reasons behind this, but most of them can be categorized into two sets, internal and external causes. While internal causes include factors such as different personalities of parents, physical or mental illness, divorced parents, and sibling rivalry. External causes include factors such as the financial and social standing of the family, drug addiction, and so on. Therefore, it is the amalgamation of these factors which may lead to dysfunction within the family.  

How to heal from a dysfunctional family? The most basic thing to keep in mind before you begin your journey of healing is that as a child, you might not have had a voice and control over possibilities but now as an adult, you do. You may try a very effective hack about identifying and changing roles that you had played in your past. To do this: Understand what role(s) you played in the past. Ask yourself, if you were a scapegoat in the family or you felt like a lost child or if you liked to do pranks a lot. 

1.Identify how these roles are affecting you right now. Recalling instances where you think these roles make things hard for you. 

2. Take an actionable step and communicate with your family about these roles and how you want to change them to a more positive ones. 

3. Remember that you can’t change others, but you can always bring change within yourself. So, don’t try to change your family members as it can always backfire, instead try to use an approach of changing your behavior without expecting others to completely understand you. 

“Our sorrows and wounds are healed only when we touch them with compassion.” ~ Gautama Buddha

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Personal Development Hack 144: How to communicate effectively every time

How often have you realized that you are unable to understand why a person is acting or what he/she is talking about during a conversation? This may act as an obstacle when trying to communicate for working professionals, homemakers, students, entrepreneurs, and so on. A number of barriers to effective communication can be observed, such as being distracted, lack of interest, feeling tired, and even a rather unknown barrier which involves having non-complementary ego states.   

What are these ego states, and how can they help us communicate effectively?

Eric Berne (1970s) gave the Transactional Analysis theory to improve an individual’s ability to effectively communicate, by making them understand the communication patterns of both self and others. This theory suggests that there are three following ego states that affect our ability to effectively communicate:

  1. Parent ego-state: This ego-state is rooted in the past and includes an individual to show nurturing parts of their parents, such as, where they show care, helping behavior, loving behavior and even controlling parts of a parent where they criticize or punish others.

  1. Adult ego-state: This ego-state is rooted in the present where the individual with this ego-state often responds to straightforward and rational things. It majorly includes an individual to look for solutions and keep the emotional side of the conversation a little away from themselves. People in professional settings often use this ego-state. 

  1. Child ego-state: This ego-state is also rooted in the past as a person with a child-ego state responds as having thoughts, feelings or behaviors of themselves as a child. An adult person throwing tantrums over their favorite food is the best example of a child-ego state. This also includes tendencies such as trying to please others, feeling curious and excited about everything, feeling guilty and so on like a child.

Eric suggested that the effectiveness of one’s ability to communicate depends on how much the speaker’s ego-states complement or contradict those of the receiver’s. A complementary transaction is one where both speaker and receiver have similar ego-states, i.e., parent-parent, adult-adult, child-child ego state or when there is a parent-child ego state with one having a parent and the other a child ego state they end up having effective communication by taking care of each other’s needs.

A contradictory or crossed transaction occurs when the ego-states are different in most cases, such as parent-adult, adult-parent, child-adult, adult-child. For example, a person might say that “I noticed you are shopping a lot today?” showing their adult ego state of being rational and suggesting a present, but if the other person replied by “why are you noticing my expenses” showing their child ego state then they probably would not understand each other and would end up having poor communication. 

Hence, to communicate effectively, it’s crucial to be aware of the ego-state for self and others and by complimenting our ego-state with theirs we can communicate more effectively than ever. For example, if a husband in a relationship is throwing tantrums and is a little demanding suddenly, then he is showing child ego-state and the wife is being rational and in the present moment then she is showing adult ego-state, so because of this contradiction in ego-state they won’t be able to effectively communicate. To deal with this, two solutions can be done, the first husband can change his ego-state from child to adult to compliment the wife’s current ego-state or the wife can enter the parent’s ego-state for a while to complement the husband’s ego-state, in either case, they will be able to better communicate and understand each other.    

Challenge: Think about your last conversation and which ego-state or states you used during that conversation and which ego-state or states the other person used during that conversation.  

“The way we communicate with others and with ourselves ultimately determines the quality of our lives.” 

– Tony Robbins

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