5 Ways To Enjoy Your Life On A Deeper Level, Today

Photo by raymondtan85

Photo by raymondtan85

Savor The Experience

When I use the word “savor,” what comes to your mind? For me, I think of delicious food. Allowing a tasty piece of steak to roll around inside my mouth. Enjoying all the rich flavor experiences that the chef has infused into the food. Lingering over my meal in order to enjoy it as long as possible.

Here’s an appropriate definition of what I’m talking about:

to give oneself to the enjoyment of: to savor the best in life (source: Dictionary.com).

I’m struck by the first few words of this definition – “to give oneself.” Sometimes, we just need to give ourselves permission to enjoy life and not be in such a huge rush in everything we do. Forget the time management principles and techniques. Just live life!

In this post, let’s look at some ways we can enjoy living our lives at a deeper, richer, more satisfying experience.

5 Ways To Savor Life Right Now

  1. Embrace what is before you right now, whatever it may be. Today could be a “bad” day for you. At the time that I’m writing this, I’ve been in the process of fighting through a bad cold. I’ve tried not to let it slow me down, though. I’ve tried to fulfill my obligations and enjoy the process along the way. Whether times are good or difficult, savor your life, today!
  2. Eliminate the distractions. It’s difficult to enjoy anything if you are tweeting, texting, Facebook-ing, and documenting your entire experience. Or, perhaps you go old school and always have your TV running in the background? Try turning all that stuff off and focus on the actual activity your engaged in. Enjoy the activity for what it is.
  3. Live in the moment. To be completely honest with you, I’ve never been a big “live in the moment” type of guy. I’ve always been the type who is looking into the future – tomorrow, next week, next year. The only way you can truly savor the experience, though, is to enjoy this very moment in time. Let tomorrow worry about itself.
  4. Linger a little longer. It’s so easy to just rush through an activity in order to move onto the next thing. Hey, why not slow down and take a little more time on what you’re doing right now? Your next activity can wait while you enjoy this one.
  5. Live with an attitude of gratitude. Appreciate what you have right now. I’m guessing you have a pretty incredible life, and that there are people around you who envy who you are and everything you have! Unfortunately, many times we all lose perspective on how great we have it. When we live with an attitude of thanksgiving for all that God has allowed into our life to enjoy, it’s a whole lot easier to fully enjoy our life. Is it time for a check-up on your attitude of gratitude?

Are You Savoring Your Life?

How about you? Have you been savoring your life or have you been simply existing? Are you trying to just rush through where you’re at right now in order to get on to the bigger, better deal?

If you are, I would just encourage you to slow down and reassess where you are, today. Don’t constantly chase the rainbow. If you do, you’re going to end up at the end of your life with a bunch of regrets.

Savor today. Suck all the delicious flavors out of each experience that you can!

Question: what’s going on in your life today that you could spend more time savoring the experience instead of just rushing through it?

Embracing The Discomforts Of Life To Live Your Best Life

wall-e-lounge chairsBut I Just Want To Be Comfortable

Have you ever seen the movie Wall-e? You may recall in the movie when Eva and Wall-e end up in the Space Luxuryliner, we discover all the humans on board have become lazy. They cruise around inside the spacecraft on these moving, floating lounge chair thingies with creature comforts like virtual video screens and drink holders.

While the second half of the movie is somewhat humorous with all these lazy humans zipping around in their floating lounge chairs, I believe there is an element of prophetic truth in this film. I can see this as a possible direction we’re heading as a society. Early evidence shows us that worldwide obesity has doubled since 1980.

Through modernization and technology, the world we live in is getting easier. And, as a result, no one wants to be uncomfortable. No one wants to put themselves out there. No one wants to commit to anything anymore. No one wants to really bust it and accomplish some amazing stuff.

The Discomforts Of Life Shape Us

How does a bodybuilder get definition and shape to their muscles? They lift really heavy weights, break down their muscle tissue and then take time to recover. The muscle will build up a little in recovery, and then they start the whole process again. Fitness freaks understand that the process of daily discomfort in the physical arena will lead to amazing results long-term.

And, it’s like this for any area in which we want to grow.

  • Spiritual: the discomfort of waking up early and being disciplined enough to spend time in the Word and in prayer in order to grow in our relationship with Christ.
  • Mental: the discomfort of being disciplined enough to grow intellectually through consistent reading, writing, and studying.
  • Social: the discomfort of carving out our personal free time to spend with family, friends, and business connections.

The only way we will “get into shape” in these areas of our lives is through experiencing the discomfort of the process. So, instead of avoiding the discomfort, we need to embrace it. We need to welcome any and all discomfort that comes into our lives, because this discomfort is our avenue of personal growth.

Are You In The Lounge Chair?

Where are you at today? Do you feel like you’ve been hanging out in the metaphorical floating lounge chair just a bit too much lately? Are you coasting by in life, avoiding pain and embracing pleasure?

Let me make a prediction here at the end of this post. The people who succeed today and into the future are those who are able to embrace the discomforts of life. The people who produce amazing results will be the ones who are disciplined enough to allow the daily discomforts of life to shape them.

Will you be one of these people?

Don’t allow the modern comforts and distractions of today’s society to make you fat, bloated, and lazy in the various areas of your life. Decide today to embrace your pain and rise above.

How To Use The 80/20 Rule Effectively In Everyday Living

Photo by stargardener

Photo by stargardener

What Is The 80/20 Rule?

The 80/20 Rule (also known as the Pareto Principle) can be defined as:

A rule of thumb that states that 80% of outcomes can be attributed to 20% of the causes for a given event. In business, the 80-20 rule is used to help managers identify problems and determine which operating factors are most important and should receive the most attention based on an efficient use of resources. Resources should be allocated to addressing the input factors have the most effect on a company’s final results. [Source: investopedia.com]

The rule states that 20% of inputs results in 80% of the outputs. Let’s state the principle in everyday scenarios in which you can relate.

  • 20% of your work activity produces 80% of your productive results that are valued by your employer.
  • 20% of your employees at work produce 80% of your company’s overall output, including financial gains.
  • 20% of your daily rituals produce 80% of your quality of life.
  • 20% of specific time you spend with your family results in 80% of your quality family relationships.

In his book The 80/20 Individual, author Richard Koch states it this way:

” … most of what exists in the universe – our actions, and all other forces, resources, and ideas – has little value and yields little result; on the other hand, a few things work fantastically well and have tremendous impact. There is no magic in the 80 and the 20, which are merely approximations. The point is that the world is not 50/50; effort and reward are not linearly related.” [Kindle version, p. 12]

Employing the 80/20 Rule For Maximum Effectiveness

So, if this Pareto Principle thing really is at work all around us, how can we effectively leverage the principle to improve our lives?

The short answer: Do more of the 20% activities that produce 80% of the desired results. Then, eliminate (or delegate) the 80% of activities that only produce a measly 20% of your desired results.

Let me try to put all these percentages into perspective with husband and wife relationships.

Think about your relationship with your spouse and all the things you do for them or with them on a regular basis. Out of all these activities with your spouse, which ones seem to make the biggest impact and get the best response? Cooking a great dinner five nights a week? Spending quality time on the sofa right after work? Saving money and not spending it on frivolous junk? Not letting the trash pile up around the house? Helping out with the kids at home? Going on a date night once a week?

If you know your spouse really well, then you will know what “rings their bell” in your marriage relationship. I guarantee based on the 80/20 Rule that only around 20% of your activity together brings about 80% of the happiness in your marriage. So, you need to figure out that specific 20% of activity and do more of it! And, the other 80% of stuff you do, do less of it. You’ll gain a better marriage and a happier spouse as a result.

Now, let’s talk work. Have you ever truly determined the 20% of your work activity that produces the 80% of the results that your employer is wanting out of you? You know, the results they are actually paying you for? The results that your boss determines whether to keep you around or not?

Whatever that 20% of work activity is, figure it out. Write it down. Schedule more time on it. Do more of those activities and increase your most valued results.

Learn It. Love It. Live It.

Once I finally comprehended the significance behind the 80/20 Rule, I have rigorously attempted to employ it in all that I do. I can’t go back to the old inefficient models of doing things. Wasting time on insignificant activities holds no interest for me.

I think too many times we have a tendency to believe that hard work will accomplish everything that we need it to. While hard work has its place in our lives, we can truly accomplish everything we need to in a more efficient, intelligent way by employing the 80/20 Rule. This is truly working smarter and not harder for your desired results.

How about you? Do you employ the 80/20 Rule in your life? In what areas do you utilize the rule? How are your results after employing the rule?

6 Areas To Be A Better Money Manager This New Year

Photo by 401(k) 2013

Photo by 401(k) 2013

It’s A Great Time To Make Some Needed Changes

We’re at the beginning of a new year, and it’s a great time to make some needed changes in our lives. Personal finance is always one of those areas that needs regular attention and maintenance.

With a few tweaks, a few small occasional changes from time to time, we can all be better managers with the finances and resources God has blessed us with.

Here are six areas in which we can be better money managers this new year.

6 Areas To Be A Better Money Manager

  1. Always be working on two budget spreadsheets each month. Now, I know what you’re thinking. You’re probably having enough trouble just producing one cash flow spending plan a month. I’m always tweaking my current month’s budget based on any unusual changes in income or outgo. Plus, I’m usually doing some initial financial planning for the month that’s about to follow.
  2. Give at least 10% of your money away. Related to the first point, be sure to plan to give at least 10% of your money away. The tithe (10%) has always been a useful giving tool for the Jews as well as the Christian Church. So, if you’re Jewish, then you can give your tithe to your local synagogue. If you’re Christian, then you can give back to your local church. If you’re not a believer, though, then I would encourage you to give back to a charity or cause you believe in. The Law of the Harvest works whether you are a believer or not.
  3. Avoid debt at all costs. One of the ways rich people get rich is by avoiding debt like the plague. If you currently have some debt, then do rich people stuff this year and get your family out of debt as fast as possible.
  4. Be sure you have the proper insurances in place in order to protect your family. Did you know that the #1 cause for personal bankruptcies in the United States is due to medical expenses? The role of good insurance is to protect your family’s assets from a major financial life event, such as medical emergency, automobile accident, death, house fire, and so on. Make sure your “financial house” is in good order with quality insurance in all areas. You don’t want to become part of these statistics.
  5. Focus on both production and wise management. The people who make money and have money stashed away for a rainy day are focused on two main aspects of personal finance. The first is production. They understand the importance of having a number of personal income streams. They have 2-3 sources of financial income, which could include a full-time job or business, a part-time job, a side business, passive income streams, and so on. Second, wealthy people also do an excellent job of wisely managing all of their streams of income. They leave nothing to chance.
  6. Don’t leave “money on the table” that you can put to good use. My wife is really good at this. Here’s what I mean. Be sure to get the very best price on every good or service that you purchase. If there’s a rebate involved, then make sure you mail those in so you can get your money. If an item you just purchased goes on sale suddenly, then go back to the store and get a price adjustment. Be a firm negotiator in all your spending.

What Areas Do You Need To Focus On?

So, how are you doing in these six areas? Are you doing a good job in a few of these, but not so hot in some of the others? Are there some other important financial areas that I may have missed in this post that you are planning to improve upon this year?

Let’s all avoid any personal “financial cliffs” in this new year. Focusing time and energy in these six key areas will be a great way to do so.

How To Organize Your LinkedIn Connections On A Free Account

LinkedIn-InBug-2CRev500+ Connections And Counting

Over the last several months, I’ve become a big fan of the business/social network LinkedIn. I’ve had an account for a few years but didn’t really understand how to use it properly.

While I wouldn’t say that I’ve completely arrived, I believe I currently have a much better grasp of the importance of this business networking application. I really appreciate the great tools LinkedIn has provided its users to create killer profiles. I have also enjoyed making over 500 professional connections over the last few years.

Since I continue to make a number of unique connections each day, I’ve been curious as to how I can organize this massive group of people into various categories based on where they live, how close of a connection they are, what industry they work in, etc. I also like employing the Pareto Principle in my networking efforts and spending the most time and energy on my top 20% of connections.

I initially considered upgrading my LinkedIn account from Basic to at least a Business account so that I could organize my contacts into a maximum of five separate folders. At $19.95/month billed annually though, this was too expensive for my usage.

So, I did some more research on the free account. I discovered there is a way to organize all your connections through the use of tags at no cost!

Using Tags To Organize Your Connections For Free

LinkedIn provides a wonderful little tags tool to organize your contacts for free. Here’s the step-by-step process to organize them:

  1. From your profile page, look at the top menu bar. Here you will see the follow categories: Home, Profile, Contacts, Groups, Jobs, Inbox, Companies, News, More.Screen Shot menu
  2. Place your cursor (arrow/pointer) over the Contacts category. You should have at least two links underneath: Connections and Add Connections. Click on Connections.Screen Shot pre
  3. Now you should see the following screen shot. In the center of your screen, you will see an alphabetical listing of all your connections. Select a specific connection you would like to organize.Screen Shot 1
  4. Now, in your connection’s info to the right, you will notice a link that says “edit tags.” Click that link.Screen Shot 2
  5. Here, a small dialog box will appear where you can create new tags or select tags already created. In my screenshot, you can see that I have tagged my connection to Phil Holmes as “friends” as well as “Worship Ministry.” You can be creative as you want in tagging and organizing your personal connections!Screen Shot 3
  6. Once you have completed tagging your connections, you can go to each tagged section over in the left side of your screen in order to view a particular grouping of your contacts.Screen Shot 4

That’s it. It’s that simple and it’s completely available in your Basic free LinkedIn account.

How Do You Organize Your Networking Connections?

Most likely, there are some additional ways you could work around the organizational aspects of LinkedIn connections without having to pay for a premium account. I’m aware that you can export your connections completely out of LinkedIn into a separate software application such as Microsoft Outlook.

So, how do you organize your LinkedIn connections? Do you have additional information to share with the community based on your own unique experience? I’d love to hear your thoughts and processes.

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