How To Have a Productive Meeting

There are two kinds of people in the world: those who lead meetings, and those who dread them. 

Maybe that’s a stretch, but the truth is that most of us have sat through our fair share of meetings, wondering how we’re going to snag another cookie off the refreshment table (if we’re lucky) and how soon happy hour is starting (if we’re not).

The problem with most meetings is that they aren’t productive. They’re often waste our time and fail to accomplish anything efficiently. 

But having a productive meeting is actually easier than our experience would seem to let on.

Whether it’s an office meeting for work, a board meeting of a charity, or a family meeting about future plans and challenges, these simple tips can help you have the most productive meeting possible.

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7 Signs That You’ve Found (or Are) a Good Listener

When is the last time you felt listened to? Truly heard – confident that the other person wanted to understand what you were trying to communicate?

Good communication takes time and skill: not just on the part of the talker, to express themselves clearly. It also depends upon the hearer, who can listen well or poorly.

Sometimes, we communicate to convey information, while other times we communicate to build up a relationship, to reveal an aspect of ourselves to another person.

Good listening, unlike speech, isn’t a skill that is really taught in schools or even in the home. Parents want children to listen, but that often just means “obey.” In adult life, listening isn’t often related to obedience, though. Adult relationships (and relationships with our children) require us to be truly present to another person: a difficult thing in our culture of constant technological distraction and perpetual multi-tasking.

So how do you know if someone has the skill set of listening? How do you know if you’re a good listener? Here are 7 signs to look for.

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7 Simple Ways to Have More Peace

In our world of constant political tweets and nagging notifications, peace can feel elusive. The low-grade static of social comparison and personal dissatisfaction hums irritatingly throughout our days. It can scratch at our souls, leaving us uncomfortable without knowing exactly why.

It’s difficult to stop hurrying and embrace silence and its many benefits – one of which is greater peace: not just in our schedules, but in our souls.

Here are seven practical tips to help you have more peace.

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If You Want A Better Life, Start By Taking A Nap

Do you know anyone who isn’t tired? I can’t think of one person I know who is really happy with the amount of sleep they get. And yet, most of us find it really difficult to prioritize sleep.

The benefits of sleep are too important to ignore: it’s an opportunity for our brains and bodies to rest, heal, and actually regenerate. Sleep deprivation comes at the cost of memory and other neurological impairment, difficulty with emotional regulation, and physical decline. Without enough sleep, we have trouble making good decisions and even completing basic tasks.

Yet how many of us secretly relegate sleep to the “waste of time” category? We have so much to do, we can’t be bothered to just stop and sleep.

We’ve read all about sleep hygiene: turn off screens at least an hour before bed; don’t use your bed for other activities; establish a going-to-bed routine that you follow every night. Maybe we even try to do some of those things. But most of us don’t get enough sleep and end up relying on some combination of caffeine and willpower to get us through the day.

Enter: the nap.

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Want To Be More Creative? Do the Same Thing Every Day

Steve Jobs may be most famous for his creative endeavours in founding and growing Apple, but he’s become slightly iconic in the fashion world, too – for wearing the same thing every day.

Each morning, Steve Jobs donned a black mock turtleneck, blue jeans, and new balance sneakers. He didn’t change colors based on the seasons or branch out into business suits and trendy ties. His wardrobe was what many people would consider the essence of not creative.

But Jobs knew the importance of saying no:

“People think focus means saying yes to the thing you’ve got to focus on. But that’s not what it means at all. It means saying no to the hundred other good ideas that there are. You have to pick carefully. I’m actually as proud of the things we haven’t done as the things I have done. Innovation is saying no to 1,000 things.”

The average adult makes 35,000 decisions per day, but our ability to be creative actually diminishes the more decisions we have to make. (That’s why so many people do their best work early in the morning, before they’ve waded through a full day of decisions.)

By wearing the same thing every day, Jobs completely eliminated an entire set of decisions from his life. He said no to choosing what to wear every morning, and all the consequences that follow from it: where to shop, when to shop, price and brand comparison, various laundry choices – all the things that are tied to having a varied closet.

He refused to spend his creative energy on his wardrobe, so that he could spend it on what mattered to him. Jobs put getting dressed on “automate” so he never had to think about it.

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