How to Stop Procrastinating and Actually Get Stuff Done

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How to stop procrastinating

I can be a pretty bad procrastinator.

In school, I put off writing essays until the day before they were due. At home, the dishes pile up and out of the sink more often than I’d like. Putting things off can be a real problem in my life and I know I’m not alone.

I’ve talked to other procrastinators of all types—from slacker students to fearful entrepreneurs to creatives who religiously refuse to start a project until there’s a deadline staring them in the face. And the one thing I’ve learned is that procrastinators never learn.

For entrepreneurs, especially, procrastination can become a regular hurdle, making it necessary to take certain steps to ensure it doesn’t stand in the way of you getting your idea off the ground.

But the first step on the road to recovery is to understand why it is we put things off.

Why do we procrastinate?

Contrary to popular belief, it’s not necessarily because we’re lazy.

According to Joseph Ferrari, a professor of psychology at DePaul University, there are three main breeds among procrastinators:

  • The Thrill Seeker procrastinates to experience the last minute rush, like they’ve just defused a bomb with only seconds to spare.
  • The Avoider procrastinates because they’re afraid of being judged, of the consequences of failure or, believe it or not, success.
  • The Indecisive procrastinates as a byproduct of perfectionism, feeling it necessary to seize every second they have to do the best job they can.

Most of us probably fall into certain categories for different things.

And every now and then we resolve to get organized, to do things in advance, but it’s only a matter of time until we relapse. The only way to beat procrastination is to be conscious of it in our lives and to develop ways to work around it.

So, if you have the tendency to put things off and are looking for a way to change, here are some proven strategies you can adopt.

Create last-minute panic in the present

One of the reasons we procrastinate is to experience the thrill of racing against the clock. Somehow we’ve conditioned ourselves to think we do our best work during those final moments leading up to a deadline.

These “near deadline experiences” force us to make decisions that we would otherwise put off and to work at peak efficiency. Because, well, we have no other choice.

One way to induce last minute panic months in advance is to set due dates well before your actual deadline to deceive yourself into completing tasks earlier.

If false deadlines don’t work, break your workload down into smaller tasks and set a timer as you attempt to finish each one. Racing against the clock is a good way to create pressure when there is none.

1-Click Timer is a simple chrome extension that pits you against a timer to get things done.

1-click timer

Any timer will work, but the point here is to help yourself stay focused on the task at hand and simulate the pressure of cutting it close. If something “should only take an hour”, this is one way to ensure it does.

Write down your plans (preferably in pencil)

Many procrastinators put things off because they like to keep their options open and let life (or a lack of time) force them into making decisions and finishing what they started.

For procrastinators, calendars are poorly maintained and To Do lists become To-Morrow lists. It’s important for chronic procrastinators to organize themselves in a way that accommodates flexibility, improvisation and the inevitable chaos of life.

This is why I recommend Trello— it gives you full control over the way you manage tasks, your team, a project or an entire business venture. And it’s free.

Try this Trello board template, based on the system I currently use to keep my life together, if you need a place to start.

trello board template for procrastinators

Simply create your board, add tasks as cards to different lists, assign due dates if necessary, or even make your cards slowly fade into nothingness if you ignore a task for too long. Trello even comes with a calendar view to give you an outline of what’s ahead that lets you move due dates around with a simple drag-and-drop.

Tip: Start every item on your To Do list with a verb to paint a specific picture of each task. We do actions (“Write product description”), not nouns (“Product description”).

Choose productive ways to procrastinate

Procrastinators typically favor instant gratification. Everything else is a problem for another day.

Naturally, one way to battle procrastination—especially when it comes to mundane tasks like scheduling social media posts—is to find a way to pair what you need to do with something you’d rather be doing.

Listen to music or a podcast, watch your favorite movie on Netflix, do something else that doesn’t require your full attention. Find some way to whistle while you work.

Another strategy is to practice structured procrastination: embracing procrastination and opting for a productive alternative to whatever it is you’re putting off.

Just because it’s not “what you’re supposed to be doing”, doesn’t mean it’s not productive—like reading a blog post to learn a new skill instead of doing the dishes, or building your ecommerce business instead of finishing that report for your boss. But, whenever possible, limit yourself to tasks that contribute to the same goal as the thing you’re putting off.

Instead of staring at a blank screen trying to come up with a name or tagline for your business idea, why not use that time to do something else that’ll bring you closer to your goal? Like shopping around for the perfect theme for your online store?

Ride out the momentum of “starting”

“Starting” is oftentimes a procrastinator’s kryptonite: The mere thought of it makes us weak. But once we climb that mountain and get in our zone, stopping is just as hard as starting.

Everyone’s got a different ritual for getting into their zone, whether it means relocating to a specific spot in your house or waking up at 5 am to get some work done.

A useful trick that works for a lot of people (including myself) is to listen to the same song on repeat to encourage a state of intense focus. Just try to keep it light on the lyrics.

Ryan Holiday, along with other successful entrepreneurs, is an advocate of this strategy:

Melodic music, played on repeat, puts you in a heightened emotional state—while simultaneously dulling your awareness to most of your surroundings.

Adopt a ship-it mentality

Procrastination is often attributed to laziness. But even obsessive workaholics put things off too, though for a different reason.

Many an entrepreneur has been paralyzed by the pursuit of “perfect”. And it can be a real time-waster trying to get everything exactly right.

Get used to going live without all the kinks worked out, especially if it’s something you can easily revisit later after soliciting feedback or leveraging data to make more informed improvements.

Prioritize tasks and make a plan of attack based on what should get out the door ASAP, what you have to wait on, and what you need to do before you can move on.

Sending emails is an example of a low effort, often essential task that’s easy to put off. Waiting on a reply has the potential to become a bottleneck. Keep these things in mind and fight through the desire to put it off.

Conquer procrastination (now rather than later)

Procrastinators are typically flexible people, good under pressure, and know how to improvise in the face of chaos. After all, they put themselves in tight situations on a daily basis.

But there’s an ugly side to it too. The quality of your work might suffer and the compounding effect of unnecessary stress can negatively impact your health. So it’s an important problem to address while you can.

The desire to put things off will inevitably rear its ugly head throughout your life. But the next time it does, stare it down and tell it, “Not today”. Because the best way to invest in your future is always in the present.

If you’ve got other tips for kicking procrastination to the curb, I’d love to hear them in the comments.

It’s Never Too Late To Succeed—And Here’s The Secret

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Everett Collection
Julia Child was 50 when she hosted her first TV show.

This article is reprinted by permission from NextAvenue.org.

In his new book, “The Formula: The Universal Laws of Success,” Northeastern University professor of network science Albert-László Barabási offers lessons we can learn from men and women who’ve achieved success after 50 based on his research. The following is an excerpt from this book.

When, at the age of 50, John Fenn joined the faculty at Yale, he was old by academic standards. He was 35 when he got his first academic appointment, at Princeton, where he started working with atomic and molecular beams, research that he continued to pursue at Yale. Though Fenn was hardworking and diligent, he was largely a low-impact scientist. His department chair must have felt some relief when Fenn turned 70 and they could force him to take mandatory retirement.

Yet Fenn had no interest in stopping. Three years earlier, at 67, he was already semiretired at Yale, stripped of lab space and technicians, when he published a paper on a new technique he called “electrospray ionization.” He turned droplets into a high-speed beam, allowing him to measure the masses of large molecules and proteins quickly and accurately. He saw it as a breakthrough and he was right.

A late-in-life Nobel Prize

After idling at Yale, he relocated to Virginia Commonwealth University and opened a lab. What he did in these later years was revolutionary. Improving upon his initial idea, he offered scientists a robust way to measure ribosomes and viruses with previously unbelievable accuracy, transforming our understanding of how cells work. In 2002, in his mid-80s, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry.

Fenn’s story embodies a simple message: Your chance of success has little to do with your age. It’s shaped by your willingness to try repeatedly for a breakthrough. Realizing this was transformative for me — I started seeing Fenns everywhere.

There’s Ray Kroc, who joined the McDonald’s MCD, +1.02%   franchise at 53; Nelson Mandela, who emerged after 27 years in jail and became his country’s president at 76. There’s Julia Child, who was 50 when she hosted her first TV show.

Key to success: the Q-factor

But these late-in-life successes had something else in common besides tenacity. Their pathways to success were guided by a hidden factor that unveiled itself throughout their careers. My team and I named it the Q-factor, and it helped us answer the question: Where do highly successful ideas and products come from?

Your ability to turn an idea into a discovery is equally important, and that varies dramatically from person to person. A person’s Q-factor translates the process of innovation into an equation. Each of us takes a random idea, with value r, and using our skill, we turn it into a discovery or “success” S, which captures its impact on the world. Multiply your Q-factor by the value of your next idea, r, and you get a formula to predict its success. Written as a formula, it is: S = Qr

In other words, the success of a product or a deal, or the impact of a discovery, will be the product of a creator’s Q-factor and the value of idea r.

Give your work qualities a chance to shine

Once my team and I figured out how to measure a scientist’s Q-factor, we learned it remained unchanged throughout her career. That’s right. The data was clear: We all start our careers with a given Q, high or low, and that Q-factor stays with us until retirement.

Well, I had a hard time believing that I was as good a scientist when I wrote my first research paper at 22 (the one with absolutely zero impact) as I am now. And you probably feel you weren’t anywhere near as good a teacher, writer, doctor or salesperson in your 20s as you are now. However, we spent six months rechecking our findings, and we came to the same conclusion.

The key to long-term success from a creator’s perspective is straightforward: let the qualities that give you your Q-factor do their job by giving them a chance to deliver success over and over.

In other words, successful people engage in project after project after project. They don’t just count their winnings; they buy more lottery tickets. They keep producing.

Prime example: J.K. Rowling

Take writer J.K. Rowling, who followed “Harry Potter” by creating a successful mystery series (under the name Robert Galbraith). Each time she publishes a new book, her new fans go back and read the older volumes as well. Each new book, then, breathes life into her career, keeping her whole body of work present and relevant.

A high Q-factor, combined with Fenn-like persistence, is what drives the engine for career-long success. People like Shakespeare, Austen, Edison, Curie and Einstein are not remembered for a single work that changed everything. They tower over their fields thanks to their exceptional Q-factors — and their willingness to test their luck repeatedly.

Stubborn creativity, combined with a John Fenn—like tenacity, not only gives our lives their essential meaning, it also provides the true secret to career-long success.

Stubborn creativity + tenacity = career-long success

The Japanese artist Katsushika Hokusai is one perfect, parting exemplar of that. “All I have produced before the age of 70 is not worth taking into account. At 73 I have learned a little about the real structure of nature,” he wrote at 75. What followed made my day. “When I am 80 I shall have made still more progress. At 90, I shall penetrate the mystery of things. At 100 I shall have reached a marvelous stage, and when I am 110, everything I do, whether it be a dot or a line, will be alive.”

Hokusai lived to be 89, and he created his most memorable works in the final decades of his life, including the iconic woodblock print “The Great Wave off Kanagawa.” The image is of an enormous white-capped wave that slowly unfurls over a half-drowned skiff, dwarfing Mount Fuji in the background. It’s an apt depiction of how success ebbs and flows over a lifetime, building sudden momentum and crashing over us, only to start all over again.

Albert-László Barabási is a Northeastern University professor of science and author of “The Formula: The Universal Laws of Success.”

Excerpted from the new book “The Formula: The Universal Laws of Success by Albert-László Barabási.” Reprinted with permission from Little, Brown, a division of Hachette Book Group, Inc. Copyright © 2018 by Albert-László Barabási. This article is reprinted by permission from NextAvenue.org, © 2019 Twin Cities Public Television, Inc. All rights reserved.

4 Compelling Reasons You Need To Be More Self-Aware

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In the FBI Academy, we trained how to run down and tackle individuals who resisted arrest. I was a lousy runner and came up at the rear of every race. The idea that I could run down or even catch up with a suspect produced snarky comments and rolled eyes from my classmates.

My ego took a big hit, but I also knew my competence as an FBI agent must be grounded in reality. I needed to be self-aware so I could make an honest assessment of my skills and strengths. Only at that point could I plan for ways to grow my strengths so I could manage my weaknesses.


How important is self-awareness? A study by Green Peak Partners and Cornell University examined the performance of 72 executives from a variety of companies. It found that “a high self-awareness score was the strongest predictor of overall success.”

As entrepreneurs, business owners and leaders, self-awareness is essential to your success. It’s stupid to pretend that you don’t have flaws or weaknesses. Instead, be smart and get ahead of them so they don’t sabotage you when you’re confronted with a stressful situation.

Here are four compelling reasons you need to be more self-aware:

1. Understand how you come across to others

The way we perceive ourselves is distorted, but most of us are not self-aware enough to recognize it! If we don’t want to be known as stingy, arrogant or self-righteous, we don’t look for those qualities in ourselves. Of course, we readily identify those qualities in other people! If we want to be perceived as competent, polite and generous, guess what? Those are the qualities we find in ourselves.

There is enough ego in all of us to produce a flattering self-image that might not be congruent with how others see us. The way we see ourselves is often an illusion, and it can be a dangerous one if we misjudge how we come across to our colleagues and supervisors.

Conversely, if you suffer from a lack of self-esteem, you could be undermining your position and chances for advancement as you navigate the quagmire of office politics.

How to make it work for you: Be mentally tough enough to keep your ego in check. Ask trusted friends or colleagues to give an honest evaluation of how you come across to others in a variety of situations. Don’t take the easy route and ask for feedback on your best behavior. Let the good, the bad and the ugly hang out, and be brave enough to push for honest answers.

2. Become aware of your deepest needs

Since we all possess a somewhat muddled and inaccurate image of how we come across to others, it shouldn’t be a shock to learn that we tend to justify our motives through rose-colored glasses as well. In fact, psychologists believe it’s important that our brain sees a clear connection between our thoughts, emotions and behavior. This strong connection leads to good mental health. However, thinking or feeling one way and then behaving in a different manner causes cognitive dissonance, and we experience anxiety and stress as we try to justify the behavior.

Behavioral science has proven that human beings are motivated by several needs. At a basic level is the biological drive to eat, drink and sleep. Another motivator is reward and punishment, such as when we work for a salary and are rewarded with a paycheck. It is the third motivator that requires self-awareness — the things we pursue because they bring us joy and contentment. Shelley E. Taylor, UCLA psychology professor, has argued that we are wired to nurture others and care for their needs.

These are the hidden needs that ennoble the human spirit, but they also take effort and time to process because they are complicated and complex drivers of our behavior. Too often we settle for a fleeting emotion such as happiness because it’s both instant and a popular meme. But, at the end of the day, our deepest need is to make a contribution to society that is meaningful to us.

How to make It work for you: You can move toward a deeper and enduring sense of what motivates you if you are self-aware. Ask yourself, “What do I really want?” Another great question to ask yourself at the end of each day is this: “Was I better today than yesterday?” Again, ask trusted colleagues or friends for feedback, but make sure it is honest and constructive.

3. Create a mindset that wins

If you think of yourself as flexible and resilient, you will do much better in both business and life. Your image of who you are influences how you behave and thus becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Carol Dweck’s research at Stanford University has determined that if we view a trait as mutable, we are inclined to work on it more. On the other hand, if we view a trait such as IQ or willpower as unchangeable, we’ll make little effort to improve it.

Dweck is well-known for her work on “fixed vs. growth mindset.” People with a fixed mindset believe their basic abilities, intelligence and talents are fixed traits. They have a certain amount of talent and nothing will change it. People with a growth mindset, however, believe that their talents and abilities can be developed through effort and persistence.

If you create a growth mindset, you have the mental toughness to learn from criticism rather than ignore it; to overcome challenges rather than avoid them; and find inspiration in the success of others rather than feel threatened.

Self-aware people can create a growth mindset that’s focused on personal growth because they believe they can improve and develop their skills.

How to make It work for you: The best way to change the type of person that you believe you are is through small, repeated actions. Focus on the process, not the outcome. Don’t worry about how to write a best-seller; instead, commit to publishing your ideas on a consistent basis. It’s not about the result. It’s about how to create a mindset that enjoys the results.

4. Prevent self-deception

According to psychologists, our tendency for self-deception stems from our desire to impress others. We convince ourselves of our capabilities in the process.

Human beings are masters of self-deception. We lie to ourselves about why we like to wear designer clothes, drive fast cars and climb the corporate ladder. Most of the time, we’re completely unaware of the deception going on in our minds.

Companies lose serious money every year due to their employee’s lack of self-awareness. Inaccurate self-assessment leads to sales targets that can’t be met, deadlines that can’t be carried out and performances that are promised but not delivered.

Interestingly, most of us have no trouble seeing through the delusions of our colleagues! We recognize the bumbling idiot who postures for a promotion or the incompetent supervisor who mumbles in meetings.

If we are self-aware and see ourselves with greater clarity, we are more likely to land on our feet when confronted with the unexpected

How to make It work for you: Honesty is the best tool to combat self-deception. It means we will need to look in the mirror and take responsibility for who we are. Honesty requires a deliberate effort on a daily basis. We must learn to observe our emotions, thoughts and behavior without judgment or evaluation. If we are self-aware, it is easier for us to focus our mind, concentrate and direct our attention toward activities that will give us the opportunity to change.

This article originally appeared on LaRae Quy.

The 10 Best Apartment Dogs Might Surprise You

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Today, let’s talk about the best apartment dogs. First off, many dog owners will tell you that dogs and apartment living don’t go together. But you don’t need a huge yard in suburbia for your dog to be happy. If you live in an apartment and you want a dog, there’s a wide variety of breeds that make good apartment dogs. If you haven’t already acquired a dog, check out our list of breeds (or mix of breeds; we LOVE mutts) below that make the best apartment dogs.

First, Size Doesn’t Always Matter When it Comes to Choosing the Best Apartment Dogs

A Greyhound dog.

Just because a dog is small doesn’t mean he’ll make the cut for good apartment dogs. Some small-breed dogs are far too vocal to meet the requirements of the best apartment dogs. Others are too antsy and have too much energy to be cooped up, even if their smaller size makes the space seem bigger. For example, though he is among the smallest dog breeds, the Chihuahua doesn’t make our list of top apartment dogs because of the breed’s tendency to bark, as well as his energetic, nervous demeanor. However, many Terriers, though they are high energy, tend to make the best apartment dogs as long as they get enough exercise.

Some large breeds also make excellent dogs for apartments. For example, the Greyhoundis often thought to need room to run because he was bred to do just that. But many rescued Greyhounds are retired racers and are much more inclined to lie around with that sexy, languid look than to chase bunnies on sticks. And, again, as long as exercise requirements are met, many large dogs can live comfortably in an apartment or a small house.

10 Best Apartment Dogs (Small to Large)

Yorkshire Terrier.

1. Yorkshire Terrier:

At around 7 pounds, this extra-small wonder makes the list of best apartment dogs not only because he takes up little space but also because he is not a barker. He is also friendly with people and other pets and very adaptable to new experiences.

2. Maltese:

The slightly larger Maltese (around 9 pounds) has a silky coat with no undercoat that sheds very little, making cleaning in a small space easier. He is also a quiet dog who mostly wants to be where his owner is, earning him a solid spot on this roundup of good apartment dogs.

3. Boston Terrier:

At 12 to 18 pounds, this breed is also very attached to his owner, which means he doesn’t mind being indoors in a small space as long as his owner is attentive. He is also an easily trainable dog.

4. French Bulldog:

A smallish dog (around 20 pounds) with the traits of a larger dog. He is calm and quiet, often relaxing on the most comfortable seat in the place. His practical demeanor makes him suitable for any living space, including an apartment.

5. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel:

This is one of the friendliest breeds, making it easy to deal with other tenants and their dogs. At 13 to 18 pounds, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is also calm and very adaptable.

6. English Bulldog:

This is the larger cousin of the French Bulldog who weighs 49 to 55 pounds, a stable dog who is comfortable in small spaces. Indeed, most seem to prefer the couch to the dog park.

7. Basset Hound:

This breed might not seem likely to land on the list of best apartment dogs with his bulky stature (around 60 pounds), but like the Bulldog, he is a very calm dog who is easily kept busy with treat toys and lots of petting.

8. American Staffordshire Terrier:

The show dog version of the American Pit Bull Terrier is more dog-friendly than his cousin. He is easily trained and forms a tight bond with his owner. As long as he gets adequate exercise, he is a good apartment dog. He weighs 55 to 65 pounds.

9. Greyhound:

This racing dog (60 to 80 pounds) might seem an odd choice for a list of best apartment dogs, but retired Greyhounds are some of the biggest canine couch potatoes. They are very trainable and adaptable. They seem to appreciate a more sedentary lifestyle.

10. Great Dane:

“Huge dogs” don’t seem to be good candidates for “great apartment dogs,” but the Great Dane (at a majestic 100 to 130 pounds) is such a natural loafer that, though your couch will probably be fully occupied, he’ll take up far less space than you might think. Add to that his calm demeanor, friendliness, trainability and quiet nature, and the Great Dane makes an excellent choice among best apartment dogs.

If you live in or are moving to an apartment or small house and already have a dog, don’t worry. The following tips can help you all live happily in a small space.

10 Tips for Having the Best Apartment Dogs — No Matter What Breed(s) Your Dogs Is

French Bulldog lying down by Shutterstock.

1. Acclimate:

If you’ve adopted a new puppy or adult dog, or if you’re moving your current dog into a small space, try to acclimate him slowly by visiting for shorter and then longer periods.

2. Be present:

Again, if an apartment or small house is a new environment for your dog, try to stay with him as much as possible. Go out for short periods alone at first, and then lengthen them.

3. Create space:

Think storage, storage, storage when it comes to furniture. Anything that takes up space should serve as storage as well. Try to keep as much floor space open as possible.

4. Darken and lighten:

Apartments can be very dark because of the surrounding buildings. They can also get too much light if they’re high up. Drapes and special bulbs can help keep the lighting natural.

5. Establish a routine:

This is vital for dogs who have to wait to go outside. Feeding and walking times should be consistent.

6. Find a good trainer:

One trait that all good apartment dogs have — they’re not prone to be excessively vocal. If you’re having behavioral issues such as a dog who won’t stop barking, find a trainer in your area who specializes in that issue.

7. Get a bench:

A small or large bench against a windowsill gives your dog a place to jump up and observe the world — and also makes the space seem larger.

8. Hire a dog walker:

The best apartment dogs are the dogs who get adequate exercise and enrichment. For the times when you can’t get your dog out for extra exercise, a trusted dog walker is a necessity.

9. Invest in a gate:

If you have a studio or open floor plan, make sure you can put a gate up to keep your dog separated from others. Using the kitchen or bathroom often works. Also, make that space your dog’s haven with his bed and toys.

10. Juggle those balls:

It’s perfectly fine to play fetch in your apartment, as long as it’s not too early or too late. Installing rugs helps absorb the noise of dog nails. You don’t have to be at the dog park to have fun with your dog.

Get more tips for living with your dog in a city here >>

A few final thoughts on the best apartment dogs

It’s easy to find a dog who will live well in an apartment or small-house setting. Size isn’t everything — quiet, lower-energy, non-working dogs are really what make the best apartment dogs. And if you already have a dog who needs to adapt to a small space, remember: If our dogs are with us and we’re happy, they’re happy, too. Rather than fretting over sharing a small space, look at it as a bonding experience. After all, tripping over each other is just a game of tag, if you look at it that way.

Tell us: Do you live in an apartment with a dog? What do you think of our tips? What other breeds — or mixes — should be on the best apartment dogs list? Let us know in the comments!

For Childfree Women, the Personal is Political

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In our book A Womb of Her Own (Routledge, 2017) author Adi Avivi writes as follows:
The fourth and last construct presented in this discussion addresses the political aspects of child freedom. The construct’s title is drawn from the feminist mantra “the personal is political,” a phrase attributed to different writers of the second feminist wave. Although its exact origin might not be clear, its meaning is important. The phrase indicates that people’s personal decisions and private conduct have profound political implications. When a woman makes a decision regarding work, family, dress code, or choice of language, she is choosing to express her acceptance or rejection of social norms. This is, of course, a simplistic view, as the choice to perform similar acts can have different meanings for different people. For example, choosing to get married could be a defiant act if family or society disapprove of the pairing; marriage could also be an act of submission to the most rigid and oppressive social norms.

Intersubjective Theory: Social and Political Implications
Benjamin (1988) discusses the social and political implications of her intersubjective theory. She claims that in U.S. society, the narcissistic fear of surrendering one’s power over other humans is the source of political, social, and personal cruelty and oppression. Our society idealizes the father-image, which includes aspects of individualism, separation, and domination and devalues the mother-image of connectedness, closeness, and dependency. However, both needs exist in every human, regardless of their sex and gender. The masculine image requires men to maintain rigid separation from others, and in doing so, reject their need for connectedness and closeness. If they address these “feminine” needs, they will have to acknowledge their identification with the maternal. They, therefore, can only tolerate rigid definitions that will simplify their relationships with others. Such definitions help maintain hierarchy by engendering a sense of omnipotence among those who believe they are fitting the only permissible role in the absence of choices. Other options can be classified as deviant or in some cases rejected altogether or even declared illegal. Allowing others to be different but similar, close but separate, independent but needed is impossible when one depends on narcissism and a fantasy of omnipotence in order to maintain a coherent sense of self.
However, the other continues to exist. The participants expressed a desire to contribute to the growing knowledge about CF women, adding that they wanted their voices to be heard. They hoped to dispel misconceptions and misunderstanding, helping non-childfree individuals, policymakers, religious leaders, and mental health professionals to see childfreedom for what it really is: a diverse and rich community with culture and values, made up of individuals who cannot be fully understood or explained by their childfreedom alone.

Comments by Participants
They hoped that social acceptance would reduce the resentment and bitterness some childfree individuals felt while inviting people who might benefit from CF life to entertain it as an option:
S8: “On a less realistic note, I’d like to think that research like this is a big step in changing the way people talk to and about the childfree and the choice to reproduce. It would be nice if people asked ‘are you going to have kids?’ instead of ‘when are you going to have kids?’ and say ‘If you have kids’ instead of ‘when you have kids’. If the dreaded ‘bingo’ went away tomorrow, it would make life so much easier.”
S13: “I’m hoping to bring attention to the cruel and dismissive remarks (‘bingos’ and otherwise) we childfree experience on the Web and real life, and to dispel the myths behind the most common bingos. I hope research shows that we are just as human as the next woman, that there is nothing missing or wrong with us, and that parenthood is not for everyone nor should it be.”
S15: “I am eager to see more exposure of the experiences of those living childfree. My hope is that as information about CF living grows, that more young people will take the time to consider the choice to have children rather than just having kids without thought. So many people are brainwashed into thinking it’s a rite of passage…”
Most participants talked about being discriminated against or misunderstood, and those who did not feel this way still mentioned incidents in which they were met with bewilderment and disbelief. All participants reported that other childfree individuals they met online constantly talked about the discrimination, insults, and rejection they felt. This was especially true when the women were in their mid-twenties to mid-thirties, if they had recently married, or if they lived in smaller, more rural locations.

Tolerating the “Other”
Allowing others to be different requires a capacity to tolerate pain, because seeing other options puts a spotlight on one’s limitations. This, according to Benjamin (1988), is true on the individual level, the community level, and the state and country level. Throughout history, the inability to tolerate the “other” and the need to make “me” the only option have pushed nations to wipe out other groups, to deny human rights, and to demand conformity explicitly and implicitly. Benjamin states that both patriarchal hegemony and some feminist worldviews demand that women be mothers and color the maternal role as the source of feminine power. If a woman is not a mother, the patriarchal social order is in danger. Also, the unique power of reproduction as a defining symbol of female supremacy is threatened when capable individuals live fulfilling lives without reproducing. However, the participants of this study conveyed that having childfreedom as an equal option will not ruin humanity or take away feminine power. In fact, it will allow for the definition of what is human to be expanded and offer greater choice for women.
For example, some participants expressed moral and political concerns, saying that while the pronatalist culture ostensibly focuses on children, it actually centers on the concept of future children rather than already living children who are in need. When thinking of the consumption of resources created by every Western child in comparison to children in Third World countries, the moral implications of pronatalism in industrial countries is disconcerting. Promoting motherhood as the preferred choice for everyone is actually a failure to recognize the needs of millions of other, less visible children, in communities whose resources are often abused by Western countries.
Indeed, public and political forces are involved in reproduction. That involvement manifests in campaigns around abortion rights and access, controversy over economic entitlements, workplace policies and employment benefits, and religious freedoms. Because the CF choice is not valued or even accepted in many cases, CF women suffer discrimination both socially and legally. For example, sterilization laws in many places do not support women’s desire to cement their childfreedom (Richie, 2013).

Feed Your Creativity

Author Article

The new year is a time for self-reflection and making adjustments. For many, the ultimate goal is a better quality of life. Health resolutions often top the list of ways to achieve this.

A resolution to feed your creativity should also be on your list. While exercise and healthy eating will improve your physical health, your overall well-being can improve through involvement with the arts.

Art, music, theatre, literature — whether you’re actively creating or participating — involvement with the arts provides measurable benefits. Increased academic performance and memory-enhancement are two notable ways that the arts can affect you.

But creativity can affect all aspects of our lives, including our ability to problem-solve. Creativity helps us approach problems from different angles rather than from a linear perspective. This flexibility in thinking makes us more adaptable and able to handle uncertainty.

Many employers seek thinkers with the ability to think on their feet. The arts can help you achieve this. More importantly, creativity has been linked to longer lifespans. A study published in the Journal of Aging and Health found that creativity decreases the risk of mortality, in part because it uses a variety of neural networks within the brain, helping to keep our brains healthier even into old age.

Socially, art and music bridges gaps and allows us to connect with others, even those from very different backgrounds from our own. On a more personal level, art increases our self-awareness. We live in a fast-paced society and are inundated with programming. Taking the time to create art gives us an opportunity to be mindful. Art allows us to express our emotions and ideas. The creation process itself can be therapeutic and helps reduce stress.

But how do you make the arts a larger part of your life? Start with what you enjoy. If music or theatre makes you happy, consider attending more performances, both locally and out-of-town. Learn an instrument. Go dancing. Get involved with community theatre.

If creating visual art sounds appealing, consider taking a class to try something new and inspire yourself. Start an art journal. Explore photography. Try an adult coloring book. Throw out those notions of what is and what isn’t art — the point is to express yourself. Curb the self-criticism.

There are plenty of opportunities to experience art, music and theatre in the Norfolk area. The Norfolk Community Theatre puts on performances throughout most of the year. Musicians can be found playing at local venues. Community-wide events such as ‘Fork Fest bring in musicians from around Nebraska.

First Friday at the Norfolk Arts Center offers open-mic and open-art opportunities to the public. Visual art classes can be taken at Northeast Community College and the Norfolk Arts Center, which also offers a free monthly art experience during Second Saturday. The Norfolk Public Library holds group events from adult coloring to book clubs. Whatever your fancy, you are likely to find an event nearby. The arts are alive and well in northeast Nebraska. Resolve to get involved and feed your creativity.

Can You Eat Your Way To Better Mental Health?

CNN Article

It is well known that eating lots of fruit and vegetables is good for your physical health, but our latest research suggests that it might be good for your mental health too.

A study from Australia in 2016 found improvements in psychological well-being after increases in fruit and vegetable consumption. We wanted to know if this finding held true using a larger sample (more than 40,000 participants) from the UK Household Longitudinal Study.

Our analysis showed that increases in the consumption of fruit and vegetables are linked to increases in self-reported mental well-being and life satisfaction in data that spans a five-year period, even after accounting for other determinants of mental well-being such as physical health, income and consumption of other foods.

A New Year, new food resolution: More fruits and veggies

The benefits of physical activity for mental health are well established. The estimates from our work suggest that adding one portion to your diet per day could be as beneficial to mental well-being as going for a walk on an extra seven to eight days a month. One portion is equal to one cup of raw vegetables (the size of a fist), half a cup of cooked vegetables or chopped fruit, or one piece of whole fruit. This result is encouraging as it means that one possible way to improve your mental health could be something as simple as eating an extra piece of fruit every day or having a salad with a meal.

It is important to stress that our findings alone cannot reveal a causal link from fruit and vegetable consumption to increased psychological well-being. And we can’t rule out so-called “substitution effects”. People can only eat so much in a day, so someone who eats more fruits and vegetables might just have less room in their diet for unhealthy foods. Although we accounted for bread and dairy in our study, ideally, future research should track all other foods consumed to rule out alternative explanations.
But when taken in combination with other studies in this area, the evidence is encouraging. For example, a randomised trial conducted in New Zealand found that various measures of mental well-being, such as motivation and vitality, improved in a treatment group where young adults were asked to eat two extra portions of fruit and vegetables a day for two weeks, although no changes were found for depressive symptoms, anxiety or mood.
Though our own study cannot rule out that people with higher levels of mental well-being might be eating more fruits and vegetables as a result, a recent commentaryon our work by the authors of the 2016 Australian study sheds further light on this. The authors show that the number of fruit and vegetable portions eaten in a day can predict whether someone is diagnosed with depression or anxiety two years later. But the reverse does not seem to be true. Being diagnosed with depression does not appear to be a strong predictor of fruit and vegetable consumption two years later. This suggests that it is perhaps more likely that eating fruits and vegetables is influencing mood and not the other way around.

Looking for causes

Although several studies, including our own, have found a link between fruit and vegetable consumption and mental well-being, we need large trials to provide robust evidence that the link is causal. However, randomised controlled trials are expensive, so another way to identify causation is to focus on the biological mechanisms that link the chemicals commonly found in fruit and vegetables to physical changes in the body. For example, vitamins C and E have been shown to lower inflammatory markers linked to depressive mood.

 

Although more research is needed, our work adds weight to a growing body of evidence that eating fruits and vegetables and having higher levels of mental well-being are positively related, and the signs of a causal link from other recent studies are encouraging. We are not suggesting eating fruits and vegetables is a substitute for medical treatment, but a simple way to improve your mental health could be to add a little more fruit and veg to your daily diet.

Modern Relationships Scare Me

Author Article

Modern dating scares me because it’s impossible to distance yourself from someone you once loved. You struggle to move on, to tell yourself you can live without them, because they are always staring back at you from laptop, phone, and tablet screens. Even if you try to erase all traces of their existence, if you smash block and delete, there’s always a friend of a friend posting a picture with them or a Facebook memory that will make your heartache come rushing back. Closure is hard to achieve — and it seems like no one wants to achieve it. Exes will text you out of the blue when you feel like you are doing fine without them. They will ruin all the progress you made getting over them with a drunken miss you text. They will make sure you keep coming back to them, even when they have already made it clear they are the wrong one for you.

Modern dating scares me because there are a million different types of relationships. Serious relationships. Open relationships. Almost relationships. Casual relationships. Texting relationships. Situationships. Even though it seems like there are more relationships than ever before, no one actually wants to define the relationship. They want to see where things go. They want to avoid labels, even though without labels, it’s easier to get hurt. One conversation could solve everything, it could clear up all the mixed signals, but those conversations rarely happen.

Modern relationships scare me because cheating is easier than ever. You can download a dating app and swipe through options on your couch, at your desk, beside your own partner in your own bedroom. You can send snaps that will delete automatically, erasing any evidence of infidelity. You can harmlessly flirt with someone you would have never seen again, but with the help of social media, you can continue contact, you can build an inappropriate connection without realizing it’s happening. You can lose the person you love without ever seeing it coming, without catching onto any of the signs they are ready to stray.

Modern relationships scare me because everyone watches your love unfold. They see the pictures you post and either aww or roll their eyes. They make uneducated guesses on how long the relationship is going to last. And when you break up, it’s not private. Everyone notices when your profile picture changes to a headshot. They catch on quickly. It’s intimidating to know everyone on your friend list knows whether you are single or whether you are in a serious relationship or whether you have been jumping from person to person.  Everyone has an opinion on your love, even if they have never seen you two together in person. Your relationship is none of their business, but social media makes them feel like it is.

Modern relationships scare me because they are a breeding ground for abandonment issues. They can end without warning. They can end with a text — or with an unanswered text. Without a face-to-face conversation, most questions are left unanswered. Most wounds are left wide open. It’s hard to accept losing someone when you have no idea what you did to chase them away, when you aren’t sure whether it was your fault or bad timing or poor chemistry.

Modern relationships scare me, because no matter how much effort you put in, it’s useless unless the other person puts in effort too

The 10 Morning Rituals Of Successful Entrepreneurs

Forbes Article

What morning habits hyper-successful entrepreneurs use to set themselves up for productive days?

How you start your day can have an incredible impact on how the rest of it goes. How much energy you have, how efficient and productive you are, if you achieve the right things, and how much you enjoy the journey. There are millions of others out there trying to beat you. There are only so many days to make progress. So, while many workers see morning routines as a luxury, top performers are very mindful of what they do.

I have the pleasure of interviewing some of the most successful entrepreneurs on the DealMakers Podcast where they share how they did it. Routines are always a big component. With that been said, here are just some of the morning rituals of successful entrepreneurs that you may like to try.

1) Review Goals & To-Do Lists

Get in the game and get focused on what you want to accomplish for the day. If you don’t there are plenty of other people in line waiting to take up your time and have you working to their priorities. Take control. Be honing in on your top VIP items and what you want to be doing. Gary Keller uses a one thing to-do list to make sure there are no other distractions.

2) Read

Leaders read. Period. YouTube is great, audio books and podcasts can be hyper valuable and offer efficiency, but real reading carries many benefits, aside from just inputting more noise and knowledge. Mark Cuban and Warren Buffett are famous for reading for hours a day. Elon Musk and Bill Gates are heavy readers too. It is one of the top traits of the world’s most successful.

3) Exercise

Exercise is one of the most common elements in the morning routines of successful entrepreneurs. Many hit the gym, ride bikes, run or walk. Navy SEAL and author of Extreme Ownership, Jocko Willink likes to hit the weights hard before running. Though the new peloton craze could be for you if you live in the cold weather like NYC.

4) Cold & Hot Therapy

Tony Robbins is famous for using cold therapy to wake up. If it’s not a cryo chamber, it’s a dipping pool at his Florida estate. In his new book Passion For Real Estate Investing, fund manager Fuquan Bilal swears by Korean heat therapy for boosting thinking and productivity.

5) Meditation

Practicing mindfulness, breathing exercises, meditation and even morning journaling are common practices among high achievers. This includes both Arianna Huffington and Oprah. Some may find this a little slow paced for their lifestyles. Others swear by it for staying focused.

6) Yoga

Entrepreneurs who are known for practicing yoga include Russell Simmons, Sergey Brin (Google), Justin Rosenstein and multi-billion dollar selling real estate entrepreneur Kaya Wittenburg. If you are looking for something a little more fast paced try power yoga or Day Breaker’s morning dance and yoga parties.

7) Sports

If lifting weights isn’t your thing, why not dive into your favorite sport in the morning. Tim Draper says he begins his day with basketball. Richard Branson says he enjoys tennis, kite surfing or swimming around his private island. This can be a great way to ensure your passion for a sport isn’t left in the dust as you pursue your startup and grow a business. It’s one thing you shouldn’t sacrifice.

8) Check in Online

Other entrepreneurs just thrive on jumping right into it. It seems to work quite well for them. Entrepreneurs like Gary Vaynerchuk hit the bathroom with their phones as they leap out of bed to check news, respond to social media messages, or even keep in the routine of making time to call family members. This seems counterproductive advice compared to most of what is suggested in books and blogs today, but if that’s what you live for, don’t deny yourself.

9) Make the Bed

Just like the military, Tim Ferris of the Four Hour Work Week has said making the bed is a priority in the morning. You may not really care about what the bed looks like, nor feel you need it to be made before you knock out again at night. Yet, there may be benefits in the routine and preparing your mind. If you are working from home or are sleeping in your office, the cleanliness and organization might be better for your focus too.

The great thing about this morning ritual is that you’ve always at least accomplished something each day. Even if that is followed by spilling coffee on your new shirt, getting stuck in traffic, forgetting to let the dog out, and missing an important investor meeting At least you accomplished something today.

10) Have Breakfast with People You Love

If you are a real hustler it can be hard to slow down enough to make breakfast with your family. Well, it can be even harder to make it home for dinner on time or make all the quality time you promise. At least you can be consistent with breakfast. You can also start out their day on a positive note, and ensure you are still getting the most important things done.

Summary

Morning routines appear to be a clear differentiator in top performers and the rest. Invest time in them. These clues from other successful leaders appear to make a big difference in how high you can go. However, Tai Lopez also points out the importance of finding the right combination of morning rituals for you and your personality.

You don’t have to get up at 4 am, bench press, or be a Facebook user to be successful. It’s more important that you morning system works for you. Experiment and find a good process. Though don’t be shy about disrupting it every now and again to try something new.

Alejandro Cremades is a serial entrepreneur and author of best-seller The Art of Startup Fundraising, a book that offers a step-by-step guide to today‘s way of raising money for entrepreneurs.

If You’re Not Interested In Having Kids Ever, You’ll Notice These 3 Things About Yourself

Author Article
Sarah Ellis

Hello, my name is Sarah and I really don’t want kids. I’m getting to the age where a lot of my friends have baby fever, and even if they aren’t considering children just yet, they’re excited about the prospect of being a parent down the road. But as for me, I’m not interested in having kids ever, and I’ve always felt this way. Does this make me totally unusual or abnormal? Sometimes, I wonder. But I just don’t feel like parenthood is part of my calling in this world.

Thankfully, I’m not alone, according to the therapists I spoke to for this story. It’s completely OK not to want children, despite the pressures society sometimes puts on us to feel otherwise. Listen to your instincts! “If your gut is screaming ‘no’ even when everything around you (your partner, your parents, society) are saying yes, do yourself a favor and listen,” says Rachel Zar, AMFT, relationship and sex therapist. “Being honest with yourself and with your partner … is the best way to make an authentic and intentional decision.” There are several signs to pay attention to that might signal you’re not interested in having kids. Here are three of the major ones.

YOU WANT TO KEEP YOUR LIFE EXACTLY AS IT IS.

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“If having your life turned upside down for another person does not feel worth it, it [parenthood] may not be for you,” says Nicole Richardson, LPC. Having kids is a huge change in so many ways, and if you don’t see that happening, you may not want to take that step. If your career is thriving, your relationships are thriving, and you really don’t want to shift things around, it might not make sense to bring kids into the equation.

YOU FEEL A STRONGER PULL TOWARD OTHER PASSIONS.

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Got other things in your life that feel like a priority? You do you! “If you experience a pull to focus your life energy in other ways, such as career path, social relationships, traveling the world, or life with your partner, and don’t see children as a piece of that picture, you must give yourself permission to want that life and know that it’s OK,” says Liz Higgins, MS, LMFT. Higgins notes that sometimes people feel judgment from others about their decision not to have kids, simply because other people may not understand it. But you have to trust yourself and do what feels right for you.

YOU ONLY WANT KIDS BECAUSE YOU FEEL PRESSURE FROM OTHERS.

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I could say this a million times, but your life is up to you! There’s nothing worse than feeling like you have to do something to live up to other people’s expectations. “If you know in your heart of hearts that you don’t need children in order to feel fulfilled in life, or if you believe that you contribute to the world and gain satisfaction in other ways, then don’t rush or force yourself into parenthood because you think it’s the next step you’re supposed to take,” Higgins advises. “Don’t succumb to pressure from friends or family if you know there’s a voice inside leading you to another path.” No one know you better than yourself, so do what feels best for you and your life.

Whether or not you choose to have kids, there are so many ways to feel fulfilled and contribute positively to the world around you. For me, I know that writing is what I love more than anything, and I want to keep space open to help others through my words. For you, maybe it’s travel, or career, or even prioritizing a relationship with your partner! You don’t have a make a decision right now, and that’s totally okay, but just know that you are whole and complete no matter what you decide. Trust your gut!