Thursday, December 21st, 2017

The Life-Changing Benefits of Unplugging

“Setting aside protected time each day for direct interaction with people—or for solitude and meditation without the interruption of a Facebook feed or a stream of texts—instinctively feels like a good thing.”
~ John Swartzberg, M.D.

“We’re suffering a sleep crisis,” warns Arianna Huffington, co-founder and editor-in-chief of The Huffington Post and author of The Sleep Revolution: Transforming Your Life One Night at a Time. The chronic need to be “plugged in” is hurting our health, productivity, relationships, and happiness.
Are you suffering from information overwhelm? Are you permanently attached to your device? Does the thought of unplugging send your anxiety spiraling? What if you miss something? What if….what if…

What if you shut it all down and stepped away for a day, a week, a month or more? Consider taking time out to unplug, take a step back, forget about what is expected, forget about what you may be missing, and think about you may be gaining.

Like any addiction, unplugging can be a struggle at first, but the benefits are worth it. Besides the main benefit of being able to enjoy much more hassle-free, uninterrupted time, here are seven other wonderful and lesser-known upsides you’ll notice from making the decision to unplug regularly:

Increased awareness. When was the last time you were fully aware of the beauty that surrounds you? When you unplug you blitz major distractions. You begin to notice small details in people, things, and places that you never really noticed before.

Clarity. Unplugging reduced brain overload. Technological over stimulation overwhelms your mind, reducing your cognitive reasoning skills.

Improved memory retention and mood. Even just detoxing from technology for a day once a week is enough to give your brain a reboot, which can improve your memory and lift your mood.

More brain power. Spending less time being a slave to technological stimulation, provides more time to focus on doing activities that can grow your brain cells—such as indulging in an enjoyable hobby, learning a new skill, visiting a new place, having new experiences, going for a relaxing walk.

Enhanced relationships. Disconnecting from your perpetual tether to iPhones and laptops can do all kinds of great things for your real-world connections with families and friends.This is a no-brainer, but one so many people seem to miss. Putting your device away and giving the people you are with, rather than your device, your undivided attention tells people they’re important to you.

Enhanced productivity. Do you really need constant access to your social notifications, Facebook updates, your email inbox, a bunch of tabs open in your web browser and all sorts of other things to feel in touch and in control? Accumulating interruptions steals peace of mind and minimises your ability to get things done. Any time you’re interrupted from a work-related task by something from your phone or computer, it can take as long as 45 minutes for your brain to refocus.

Mindfulness. When something interesting starts happening, what’s your first reaction? Do you whip out your phone, start snapping photos and begin sharing on social media? Or do you savor the moment and delight in being in the moment? When you unplug, you force yourself to be more present.

“A natural side effect of unplugging is that you stop missing out on what you should be enjoying for yourself, rather than trying to tell everyone on social media about it,” says author Elise Moreau.

Are screens the problem or a symptom?

“It’s become part of our culture to think that being too plugged in’ and too dependent on our devices is the root of our problems, rather than a manifestation of other problems,” says John Swartzberg, M.D.

“Is constantly checking your phone during dinner with your family causing you to be less close to them? Or are you constantly checking your phone because it’s a convenient way to avoid conversations? Are you anxious and having trouble sleeping because you’re spending too much time online? Or are you spending lots of time online to try to tune out your anxiety?” Swartzberg asks.

None of this is to say that Swartzberg thinks it’s a good thing that so many of us are so constantly connected to our devices. “If we spend too much time staring at a screen, the life that is happening right in front of us—our kids’ childhoods, conversations with our partners, work that we can do to help make the world better—may just pass us by.”

Call to Action

Get to the heart of why you’re spending so much time connected to technology. Isolate the benefits and issues, and then make a call whether you need to schedule the time to unplug.
Learn polymath Tim Ferris’s 4 steps to lifestyle design: definition, elimination, automation, and liberation. Watch it here: http://bit.ly/1nTs7jq

 

 

This is an edited extract from Stress Less. Love Life More: How to Stop Worrying, Reduce Anxiety, Eliminate Negative Thinking and Find Happiness

by Cassandra Gaisford. To purchase your copy and learn how to stress less and love life more, click here to go to your online bookshop.

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Friday, December 1st, 2017

From Chained to the Office, to Freedom in the Country—How to Manifest Your Dream Career or Business

 

“What counts for me, in business and in life, is making a difference. That and having fun. Okay, it’s not always fun. Sometimes it’s b***** stressful,” says Laurie Wills, a mortgage expert with a passion for butterflies.

“But work feels less like a slog when I get to help awesome people make their dreams come true. I’m lucky to have clients I’m proud to call friends. Of course, the odd bottle of champers I’m sometimes sent goes down a treat too.”

But Laurie yearned to be free from the confines of an office. He wondered if he needed a break from the industry. But then after analyzing what he really needed to be happier at work it came down to two central themes. More freedom and control.

He sold his shares in his first mortgage business and after a short break started a new business, Awesome Mortgages. With a vision for the future and a blueprint about how he wanted to operate, he re-engineered his processes. An early adopter of new technology, at the time of writing, he remains one of very few, if any, mortgage advisers working remotely.

“It was exciting to see some of my clients make a move to a warmer climate, and I thought, ‘that’s what I want to do too.”

It was an audacious move that definitely paid off. Together with his partner, they left Wellington and moved onto their own lifestyle block, overlooking the magical Bay of Islands in New Zealand.

It was a dream that wouldn’t have come true had he not spent time early on in his career planning, getting clarity about how he wanted to live and work in the future. But the move wasn’t without some apprehension.

“How will people feel if we’re based in the Winterless North,” I wondered. “Will they balk and walk if they can’t do business over a caffeine shot? What about the tie, the dark suit, the polished shoes? Will a T-shirt and shorts send the wrong message?

“I thought it could, but my partner, said, ‘Trust me. It’s what you do, the results you get, and the integrity you do it with, that attracts people to you, and keeps them coming back. That, and all those razor-sharp deals.’

“We kept our dreams alive by creating a manifestation board on the fridge. One of the captions we pasted was, ‘Thriving Up North.’ And that vision has come true. The financial years since making the move have been the biggest, most financially successful in my career as a mortgage expert.”

In the first year alone after swapping his pinstriped suit for shorts, Laurie helped his clients purchase in excess of $65 million dollars worth of property. In the following two years, all records have been broken.

There is a myth that people’s highest income earning years are over after fifty, but as Laurie’s experience shows changing it up can pay big dividends.

“Best of all we’re both happier as a couple,” he says. “Plus, I’ve still been able to pursue my passions.”

Laurie’s passion is researching exotic butterflies. He is renown by many as the Indiana Jones of the butterfly world, due to his exploits and intrepid exploring in jungles, inaccessible mountains, and dangerous landscapes. He’s discovered many species new to science and co-authored several important scientific articles.

His passion sustains him, but he accepts it’s not something he can do to make the kind of living he aspires too. While he’s also passionate about negotiating the best outcomes for his home-buying clients, his day-job funds his lifestyle and passion. And now that he’s taken control back and re-engineered where, when and how he does his work he has better balance.

“Some of the negotiations I’ve concluded while up a tree, butterfly net in one hand, iPhone in the other, while in Papua New Guinea. I’ve also helped people buy homes while I’ve been high in the mountains of war-torn Bougainville.

“Then there were the mortgage negotiations made all the sweeter while I was swinging in a hammock in Fiji. But most of my help has been given while enjoying my own slice of paradise back home. I really do think the warmer climate has given me superpowers when it comes to getting the best outcomes for my clients.”

Yip, there’s a myth in the mortgage industry which Laurie has happily proved wrong, that you have to don a tie, work relentless nights and weekends, and invade peoples’ privacy by going to their homes.

By making positive changes in his life that better reflect how he wants to live and work he’s proved recent research conducted by the University of Cologne right—happier people earn more money and that makes life even sweeter.

In the next chapter, we’ll summarize the key themes and help you find your sweet spot.

This is an edited extract from The Passion-Driven Business Planning Journal: The Effortless Path to Manifesting Your Business and Career Goals by Cassandra Gaisford. To purchase your copy and learn how to stress less and love life more, click here—https://www.amazon.com/dp/B077SQWDQD

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