Don’t Let Decision-Making Steal Your Time

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You know the scenario. You have to weigh up the pros and cons before making a decision. There may be uncertainties, worries, time factors and safety issues. Decisions have to be made in the office, the bedroom, the kitchen, and in the classroom, all day and every day. All these weigh on our minds as we try to decide if we should let our children play in a park, get the bus or walk, or ask the boss for some time off. If you are like, you spend far too much time in making decisions. Here are 6 practical ways to speed up the process. They also provide a fascinating insight into the whole decision-making process.

1. Try not to get analysis paralysis

You know the situation when you start to over-think the decision. You spend far too much time weighing up the ifs, buts, and what-ifs. One practical way to speed up all this is to set a deadline. You tell yourself that you have to make a decision in half-an-hour’s time, or slightly longer, if you prefer. This forces you to make a decision and you avoid unnecessary procrastination.

2. Try to narrow down the issues

Write down what is making the decision so difficult. It may be that things like lack of motivation, peer pressure, and parental interference, are complicating the whole issue. Then spend some time thinking about your goals. Finally, think about all the consequences of whatever decision you will make. shoesdecisions

3. Try to build in failure

We all make bad decisions. I can think back over my life and shudder at all the wrong turns I took and some pretty bad decisions I made. But, I was also able to learn from these. We should expect failure and learn from it. Once you know that a bad decision is a real possibility, it will help you speed up the decision-making process.

4. Try to recognize your cognitive bias and allow yourself to process and accept other points of view

“Our brain accepts what the eyes see and our eye looks for whatever our brain wants.”- Daniel Gilbert

The way we see the world subjectively is known in psychology as a cognitive bias. It affects our judgment and our decisions. This is very well explained in Daniel Gilbert’s book, Stumbling on Happiness. This type of cognitive bias can take many forms. One example is known as the confirmation bias. You may not be aware of it, but you are attracted to people who have similar views to yours. You visit websites and news sources which confirm your world view. The problem is that while this is comforting, you often ignore and dismiss views which are just as valid, but do not happen to fit in with your own tunnel vision of the world. The Internet has made this problem even worse because it is much easier to find larger quantities of people sharing our view, which in turn, reinforces it. When we have to decide on something, we are unaware of how much this confirmation bias is affecting our decision making. Being aware of our limited world view and seeking other opinions and experiences will help us to make more rational and less subjective decisions.

5. Try to save time by allowing the experiences of others to be a guideline as opposed to having to make your own mistakes repetitively

Before you buy a certain make of car, you may want to ask about someone who has bought the same model. The person’s opinion and experience can save you time in coming to a decision. If you have to make a decision about which treatment option to take when you are ill, it is often helpful to seek out personal experiences from those who have had the same treatment. Researchers have shown how useful this is in helping to make a decision although they warn that it has to be balanced with factual information as well.

6. Try to match your decision with your core values

 “Your beliefs become your thoughts. Your thoughts become your words. Your words become your actions. Your actions become your habits. Your habits become your values. Your values become your destiny.”- Mahatma Gandhi

In the corporate world, many companies are committed to their core values such as being accountable, responsible, and ready for innovation. But how are these reflected in their business decisions? They will make sure that they are socially and environmentally responsible. On a personal level, this can help speed up your decision making, just as effectively. You are committed to honesty, punctuality, openness, and loyalty when selecting friends, partners, and business partners. Loyalty may be at the top of your list. You will have to make decisions about helping friends in need. You may have to defend them when they are criticized unfairly. You would never repeat gossip about them. Making decisions like these are easier because they match your core values. If you keep these 6 steps in mind, you will be able to spend less time on decision making and also be more relaxed about it.

Featured photo credit: Decisions/ Martin Fisch via flickr.com

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No One Will Tell You Exactly How to Get Over an Ex, So I Will

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It’s that time of year: turkeys are being deep-fried, Christmas party invites are going out… and you can’t stop thinking about your ex. Who is he bringing to Thanksgiving instead of you? What douchebag will be putting some cheesy trinket under the tree for her this year? Your heart breaks just imagining it, even though you haven’t been together in weeks. If only you could wave a wand and stop the pain.

We’ve all been there, but thanks to John Gottman’s pioneering work at the University of Washington Love Lab, you don’t have to be a character in a Wham! video anymore. I’m about to teach you a reverse lifehack that will systematically destroy all longing for the person who broke up with you. Note: this isn’t for the faint of heart; like all those spells from Once Upon a Time, it’s not easily reversed and comes with a hefty price. So, if you think there’s even the remotest chance of you getting back together, don’t try this.

One of the pillars of Gottman’s work, highlighted in Malcom Gladwell’s book Blink, are what he calls the Four Horsmen of a relationship “apocalypse”: Criticism, Defensiveness, Contempt, and Stonewalling. These are the things that take down relationships, by eroding the attraction and affection that drew you together in the first place. One of the hardest things to do when a relationship ends, especially if you are the “dumpee” or if there was a betrayal that came out of nowhere, is to stop seeing the person through rose-colored glasses. If you want to erase all those warm and loving feelings for someone you’re really better off without, you can deliberately engage Gottman’s Four Horsemen in a session of “mental calisthenics” to turn your heart in another direction (do not try this exercise in person; use a journal, meditate, or just turn it over in your mind while you’re going about your day). As you practice these four steps, your tenderness toward The One That Got Away will magically become apathy for Somebody That You Used To Know. Again, do not try this if you are “taking a break” – engaging the Four Horsemen is not something to be done lightly, as it will plant a seed of discord in your heart for your ex that will likely be irreversible!

Horseman One: Criticism

Think about all the things that bothered you about your ex. Be as critical as you can possibly be, to the point of ridiculousness. Go to your darkest place and think about all the things that bothered you at first, but that you let slide because you were “in love.” Was his comb-over a little too Donald Trump? Did he wear New Balance sneakers with acid wash jeans before you took him shopping? Did he have any style or taste before you? How about her muffin top? Wasn’t it annoying how she never found time to get on a treadmill, but always had time to binge on Netflix with a bowl of potato chips? Didn’t you hate it when she laughed about your aviator sunglasses, while rocking those ridiculous Mary-Kate Olsen knockoffs? Be as critical as you can possibly be. Make a list if you need to (but burn it – trust me, you don’t want that list being seen by anyone but you).

Horseman Two: Defensiveness

Now, put yourself on the witness stand. Get all up in your self-righteousness, and defend whatever things your ex might have been critical of. Maybe he broke up with you because he claimed you stopped taking care of yourself. Wasn’t it because you were so busy picking up his socks or hello, taking care of his children? How can he say that?! Did she complain that you didn’t have a good enough job? I guess we can’t all prostitute ourselves for a raise or have Daddy’s friends give us internships at Ivy League start ups, right? She didn’t understand you at all – some people have to work for a living! Again – go there, be hyperbolic. Get up on your high horse and defend yourself like your ex is trying to make a federal case out of why you deserved to be dumped.

Horseman Three: Contempt

Gottman often refers to Contempt as the best predictor of divorce, because it puts another person in a position that is lower than you, and you cannot be a partner with someone you cannot see as your equal. Cultivating contempt for an ex is a very powerful kind of brainwashing, because it disables you from ever seeing them as someone you could be on the same level with. To cultivate contempt for your ex, you have to be more than critical – you have to be downright insulting. Contempt is a personal attack that tears down another person. It’s not, “She always left these gross piles of hair in the shower;” it’s “She was a disgusting slob who didn’t even value basic cleanliness.” He’s not “a guy who always flirts with other women;” he’s “a philandering misogynist who only sees women as objects.” Contempt takes criticism a step further by reducing a person to a stereotype or object. It removes their humanity and allows you to reject them as a lesser being who isn’t on your level.

Horseman Four: Stonewalling

Stonewalling is the final step in the end of a relationship: complete and total disengagement. It’s when you put up a figurative “stone wall” between you and another person, completely shutting them out. When you’re trying to get over an ex, this means complete and total disengagement. If you’re in the same social circle, it doesn’t mean being a jerk; on the contrary, it means just not having anymore meaningful conversations with them, not sending them a Christmas card (do you really want to see a picture of him and his new wife in ugly sweaters anyway?). It means disconnecting – cutting off all the unnecessary “casual” ties you’ve maintained up until now. This person no longer has a reason to be an integral part of your life. For your own mental health, keep them at a deliberate distance. And yes, you should de-friend her on Instagram and Facebook. Scanning her selfies isn’t going to get you over her any faster, dude.

In the beginning, this process may feel like “Sour Grapes,” and yes, using the Four Horsemen to get over an ex might seem extreme. If you’re still wasting your life and your energy mourning the past, you’re closing off any chance of future happiness with someone who is right for you. So move on!

One caveat: now that you’re familiar with the Four Horsemen, do your best to keep them out of your next relationship. If you find yourself being critical of the future Mr. or Mrs. You, getting defensive about your life choices, personally attacking who they are, or shutting them out when you don’t want to hear them out, you’ll quickly find yourself on the road to another breakup!

Nobody wants to go through that again, right?

Featured photo credit: showmeholly via flickr.com

The post No One Will Tell You Exactly How to Get Over an Ex, So I Will appeared first on Lifehack.

10 Things You Will Learn from Dating an Independent Woman

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A lot of people imagine that independent women are some sort of mystical creature, or maybe a goddess or ven a myth. However, independent women are very real, very successful, and loads of fun to get to know. They have weaknesses and strengths just like everybody else but they are beautifully determined and unarguably have power to better the world. So, what is it like to date an independent woman?

1. She will inspire you

Independent women have the capacity to face life’s challenges with a courageous heart. They have fears of failure like everyone else, but more than anything they are afraid of going through life without fulfilling their potential. Their “I-can-do-anything” personality will sure shake your perceptions about how you may be living your own life, and inspire you to achieve your dreams.

2. She does not believe in clinginess

Want a woman that is totally obsessed with your looks and cannot help but be all over you in private and in public? Then an independent woman is not for you. Independent women know how to show their love, and the appropriate times to do so. They understand that a ‘significant other’ is a part of their lives and not their entire life. In short, they have a life outside of you.

3. She may be help-deprived

The most amazing characteristic about the independent woman is also her biggest enemy. Her independence may get in the way of asking for help. She may see asking for help as a sign of weakness or an interposition. Step in and offer to help but be sure not to overstep your boundaries. If she says “no” to your offer for help, leave it at that and wait until she changes her mind.

4. She needs a strong significant other

Independent women need someone that understands them and gives them their space. Only a significant other that has a life of their own and who values independence will be able to meet the independent woman’s needs.

5. She loves to travel alone

Independent women are not afraid to take an adventure on their own. Whether they go down to the beach or halfway around the world, they see traveling alone as the freedom they need to make the most of their traveling experience.

6. She may have few friends

Independent women can be very intimidating! For this reason, independent women tend to have a lot of acquaintances but very few close friends. Because of their I-can-do-it-on-my-own attitude, sometimes they may not be approachable. However, when you embrace their attitude of independence you will sure gain a close and loyal companion.

7. She is not afraid to be alone

No friends available Tuesday night to try out that new Thai place around the corner or to watch the latest Matthew McConaughey movie? Not a problem for the independent woman. The independent woman is not afraid of sitting alone and having a “romantic” evening where she gets to clear their thoughts and ponder new ideas. She is also not the least bit intimidated of sitting alone in a movie theater and enjoying the show.

8. She thrives on her independence

Everyone at work slacking on the latest assignment? While super frustrating, that is quite alright for the independent woman. She knows what she is capable of accomplishing and isn’t afraid to take on whatever career challenges come her way. She thrives on working alone and because she controls the outcome.

9. She loves to love

While she may seem distant at times, the independent woman loves to love. She may not be the most affectionate partner but she is stunningly thoughtful in how she displays her love.

10. She follows Shakespeare’s advice

Finally, the independent woman loves to follow Shakespeare’s advice—”To thine own self be true”—and she takes it to heart. She knows who she is and what she wants. Don’t mistake her firmness for rudeness, she just knows when to say “no” and when to move on. Don’t be afraid to embrace her self-worth and appreciate her candid take on how she should be treated.

Featured photo credit: saritaking.com

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This Is How You Can Become The Stronger Version Of Yourself

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How To Become A Better, Stronger Version Of Yourself

At the end of every year, once the festivities have passed and preparations are underway to move past the last 12 months, it is natural to start thinking about new beginnings. Resolutions are made that you intend to keep throughout the year but almost always disappear by March or April. Promises are made to stop smoking, lose weight, argue less, spend less, save more and the list goes on. However, if you make one promise, whatever the time of year, make it ‘to be a better version of myself’.

Changing your outlook, your perceptions and your goals can have a huge impact on your life. Not only on your life, but the lives of those around you too. If you want to stop snapping at people, enjoy more time to do the things you enjoy and box off numerous other resolutions like losing weight and spending less money, then ultimately the changes have to be within yourself.

So where to begin? Below are some hints of where you can start the process but the list is not exhaustive, it is only the beginning – feel free to add your own ideas for becoming the person you know you can be.

Eat Healthier

Okay, you knew it would be on the list so we may as well begin with it. If you’re shoving stodge into your digestive system every day then you’re going to feel sluggish, lethargic and shattered. How easy do you think it is to be the best you can be when your body is trying to process loads of junk food?

It’s time to admit to yourself that if you’re going to be better on the outside, you need to be better on the inside.

Our bodies are not designed to cope with man-made substances and chemicals that are used to process and store food. Although convenient, tinned food and ready-made things have been through so much processing to keep them fresher for longer. Our bodies struggle to digest it all and the food gets trapped in our systems for longer than it should, causing bloating, gas, nausea, headaches and mood swings. Do you really want to put that stuff in your body?

You can have a very fulfilling diet and do your body a huge favor too. Choose from whole foods such as nuts and seeds, fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables, whole wheat and whole grain bread and pasta, seafood, organic meat and natural sweeteners such as honey or stevia.

Your water intake is also incredibly important. Make sure you’re flushing your toxins out daily by drinking at least 8 glasses (or two liters) of water each day. This will keep your head clear, your skin blemish free and your kidneys healthy too.

Simplify Your Life

You know that when there’s a million and one things that you need to get done and you’re surrounded by clutter, you’re unable to focus on what actually needs doing. In the end nothing at all gets done and you face the same problem the following day, and then the day after that. You’ve probably been meaning to sort things out for ages, right? Well, well stop procrastinating! Write down everything you need to get done and then highlight your top ten tasks. Write these items on a separate list and do the same again but this time highlight your top five. Write these on a separate sheet of paper – these are the only tasks you need to focus on today.

Also, get a big bag and choose one corner of one room. Put things in it that you don’t use, don’t like or don’t want. Next, put things that do not belong in that corner in a box to sort later. Do this every day until every corner in every room has been cleared of clutter. At the end sort through the box of items that don’t belong and find new, tidy homes for them.

When you come home each day, your whole house will be free of clutter and you won’t have a to-do list as long as your arm.

The key is to break it down into manageable chunks. Make sure you stick to this rule as it will mean you will have more time to do the things you enjoy rather than feeling frazzled all the time.

Be Grateful

It’s surprising how much of our time is being flooded with adverts for all kinds of stuff, forcing us to believe we need to have it in our lives. How many times do you think “If only I could just win the lottery” or “If I buy that then my life will be better.” Instead of always waiting for the future, appreciate what you have in the here and now. Don’t just focus on possessions. When you go to bed each night, choose something or someone to speak to in your head. It could be God or the Universe, a loved one that has passed or your inner self. Once you have someone or something in mind, think of things that your are thankful for.

Examples could be:

“Thank you for this warm bed that I am in whilst it is blowing a gale outside. Others are not so fortunate.”

“I am grateful for my health: that I have been able to get up and leave the house today while others are bedridden with pain or ill health.”

“Thank you for keeping me safe whilst driving today. Many people are involved in accidents every day and I was lucky to get home in one piece.”

If you have family, hug them a little tighter and be grateful that they are healthy. So many are suffering the loss of a loved or are going through the heartache of seeing someone suffer day after day, so put things into perspective and stop moaning about how the traffic was bad on the way home. Save that energy for positive things and positive thoughts.

You will find that as you start thinking of all of the things you appreciate, you will feel calmer and  less likely to take your loved ones for granted, which will result in more quality time with them.

Be In Contact With Your Family

There are many quotes about being able to choose your friends yet your family is a set of people that you’re stuck with for life. Some people find they have absolutely nothing in common once they mature and form their own path in the journey of life. However, if you have a family you like, there’s nothing better than spending a nostalgic afternoon with a sibling, parent or any member of the family. You will both have the same shared experiences whether it be family holidays or gatherings, so make the most of taking a trip down memory lane and remind yourself how important family are.

It is incredibly easy to get caught up in a busy life but if you genuinely want to become a better version of yourself, then it is time to do some selfless acts of kindness.

If you have a grandparent who is alone and stuck in the same four walls every day, go and visit them as often as you can. When you’re older, you will be grateful to people who care enough to come and visit you and relieve the boredom of living at home by yourself.

If calling home is the last thing on your mind, make sure you bring it to the top of your priority list because nothing says you care more than taking some time out of your day to call someone to see how they are.

There are vast numbers of people brimming with regret following the funeral of a family member. They know they could have made more of an effort to see them more frequently. Don’t be one of those people.

Challenge Yourself – Leave Your Comfort Zone

In order to become a better version of yourself, it is necessary to come out of your comfort zone and challenge yourself. When the mind is stretched a little, you will feel a buzz of excitement. There’s nothing like a little fear to wake up your senses.

There are so many skills to be learned in the world. Why not learn a new one? Perhaps learn a new language or start playing an instrument. It will be difficult at first but it will keep your mind focused.

Exercising your brain by learning new things will also improve your concentration skills and help you to sleep better, so choose something to sink your teeth into and leave your comfort zone behind for a while.

Set Clear Goals

Hectic lives mean things get overlooked or purposefully ignored, leading you to feeling useless and angry. It is very important that you have clear goals that you can see every day, so write them down and hang them in a room in your house that you go into often – maybe the kitchen or the bathroom.

Your goals could be anything from “Purchase a sports car” to “Clean out the cupboard under the stairs.”

If you like you can set a time limit by which you want to achieve your goal by. It could be within a matter of days or it could be a particular age that you want to be, e.g. “Buy a sports car, age 50”

Next, write down the steps you need to take in order to reach that goal. So if it is purchasing a sports car when you’re 50 years old, work out how many months away that is and how much money you would need to save each month. Make a chart with a picture of the sports car at the top and boxes to represent each month you need to save money. When you save, tick a box and you will see your goal is getting nearer.

If your goal is more short term, like cleaning the cupboard out under the stairs, give yourself a little reward when you have accomplished your goal. Promise yourself little treats and you will be motivated to reach all of your goals sooner than you think.

Be Assertive

If you’re used to never voicing your opinion or saying what you are thinking, it’s time to make some changes. Studies have shown that assertive people are happier, healthier and have better relationships.

Make sure your body posture is helps you feel confident. Sit upright and raise your chin off your chest. Don’t mumble; say whatever you want politely and respectfully but loud enough to sound sure of yourself. Believe that you have a voice which should be heard. Don’t be afraid to say “No”. If you are up to your eyes in work and your boss asks you to to take on more, confidently say, “If I take any more work on, the quality of what I produce will be compromised, so it is best that the extra work is delegated to someone else at this moment.” In most cases your boss will appreciate your honesty and do as you suggest.

Thanks for reading and good luck for your journey ahead of becoming a better version of yourself.

The post This Is How You Can Become The Stronger Version Of Yourself appeared first on Lifehack.

31 Delicious And Creative Recipes You Need To Try Before Winter

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When the leaves start changing colours and the temperatures drop (more like plummet in my part of the world!), there is nothing more comforting than indulging in what nature does best at this time of the year: sweet, brightly-coloured fruits and vegetables that lend themselves beautifully to intoxicating autumn spices, to warm the cockles of our hearts!

The best thing about fall produce is that not only is it utterly delicious when combined with the right ingredients, as you’ll see in the recipes below (just wait); it’s also really good for you. That vividly orange pumpkin we enjoy so much in the chilly autumn months? It’s chock full of vitamin A and beta-carotene. Those apples that taste so incredible in crumbles and crisps? Filled to the brim with fibre that keeps you fuller for longer and brilliant for your teeth. As if anyone needed an excuse to gorge on these awesome dishes, am I right?!

Here are 30 delicious recipes for fall, that’ll have you using your favourite traditional ingredients in some fun and creative ways. Good for the body and good for the soul! Let’s get cooking!

Gorgeous appetizers and nibbles

Beta-carotene and vitamin A-rich pumpkin and butternut squash, and crunchy, delicious apples, these tasty dishes will be the perfect start to any autumn meal.

Pumpkin Pickles

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Caramel Apple Nachos

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Mini Caramilized Pecan Brie Bites

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Pumpkin Hummus with Cinnamon “Sugar” Tortilla Chips

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Pumpkin Shaped Dinner Rolls

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Moroccan Butternut Squash and Goat Cheese Soup with Coconut Ginger Cream + Pistachios

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Delicious main dishes

Everyone loves a hearty plate of comforting autumn food when the temperatures drop. These delicious fall offerings – a tempting mix of healthy and not-so-healthy (but oh-so-tasty) – will tempt you right into the kitchen!

Sweet Potato Oatmeal Breakfast Casserole

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Crockpot Chipotle Pulled Pork and Pumpkin Chili with Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

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Turkey Wellington

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Fall Detox Salad

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Stuffed Turkey Cutlets with Pumpkin Brie Sauce and Cranberry Chutney

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Pumpkin-Chipotle Pizza with Kale and Burrata

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Brie and Cheddar Apple Beer Soup with Pecan and Maple Crumble

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Simple Caramelized Butternut Squash and Kale Florentine Lasagna

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Glorious side dishes

While I could certainly spend all day digging into the above stars of the show (don’t judge, so could you!), a little side dish does wonders to lift a whole meal to higher levels. These beautifully fragrant plates offer all the best that autumn has to offer: delicious sprouts (which fight cancer, by the way!), tasty pumpkins and energy-giving sweet potatoes all come out to play here.

Brussels Sprouts with Balsamic and Cranberries

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Roasted Pumpkin Fries

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Brussel Sprout, Bacon, and Apple Naan Stuffing

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Roasted Sweet Potato Quinoa Salad with Maple Orange Dressing

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Twice-Baked Sweet Potato (Yam) with Chipotle Pecan Streusel

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Mouthwatering desserts

These incredibly delicious desserts will be the perfect swan song to your autumn feast. Let’s not kid ourselves… These recipes are not healthy but man, will they do wonders for your soul! Dig in!

Pumpkin Pie Ice Cream (with Pie Crust!)

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Salted Caramel Apple Snickers Cake

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Slow Cooker Sticky Caramel Pumpkin Cake

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Sweet Potato Cinnamon Roll Cake

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Caramel Apple Blondie Cheesecake

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Slow Cooker Apple Butter

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Cheesecake-Stuffed Baked Apples

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And if you’re a little thirsty…

…Because there can never be too much autumny goodness:

Pumpkin Pie Protein Smoothie

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Pumpkin Spice Martini

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Apple Pie Punch

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Pumpkin Chai Latte

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Salted Caramel Apple Cider

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The post 31 Delicious And Creative Recipes You Need To Try Before Winter appeared first on Lifehack.

Use This Effective Routine to Wrap Up Work for the Weekend

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Routines help us move efficiently from one area of life to another. The end of a workweek is a transition that can leave us stressed and overwhelmed, and handling it poorly can make for a really unpleasant start to the next workweek.

Here’s an effective routine you can customize and use to wrap up work for a relaxing weekend and a great start to the next week.

1. Start the routine at lunch time on Friday with one very important question.

Here’s the question: What will I feel GREAT about getting done before the weekend?

Your answer should be only one or two items, not a whole bucket list full. You only have an afternoon left, but if you focus, you can get through some good work before it’s quitting time.

To help yourself do so, though, limit your work socializing on Friday. Everybody wants to move into weekend-mode, and that’s understandable; but it’s much better to stay focused at work for a few hours than to fritter the afternoon away on unproductive shuffling. You’ll still be at work, anyway; you might as well get some stuff done and enter the weekend feeling great about what you’ve accomplished.

2. Work hard on the answer to that question for the next few hours.

Stay as focused as you can and avoid distractions as much as possible. Remind yourself that you are prepping for a great weekend, and you’re going to enjoy it. You’ll enjoy it even more by focusing and using your hours at work well.

3. About an hour before quitting time, wrap up the task you’ve been working on.

Wherever you are on that task, find a stopping point, even if the task or project you’re working to accomplish is not yet complete.

Many, many tasks and projects are going to span multiple days and even weeks of work. What you should do right now is note the progress you’ve made on this particular task and any ideas or bits of info you’ll want when it’s time to start working on it again.

If you have finished up the task you assigned yourself for the afternoon, great! Wrap up the bits and pieces: papers, open files, and other related items. Don’t leave evidence strewn about or a mess to pick up on Monday.

4. Once you’ve wrapped up your task, update your task list.

Clear or mark off all the tasks you’ve accomplished in the workweek.

Delete any tasks that are no longer relevant; no point in allowing them to take up space on your list.

Delegate any tasks that don’t belong to you, or make a note to do so on Monday.

Move, migrate, or re-assign tasks that still need to be done, depending on how your task management system works.

5. Take a look at your calendar.

Once you’ve update your task list, you need to take five minutes to look at your calendar for the weekend and upcoming workweek.

The first purpose is just to get a quick overview of what’s coming up for you.

The second purpose is to notice anything big looming on Monday or Tuesday that you want to be prepared to handle. There’s nothing more unpleasant than coming in Monday morning only to be surprised by that report that’s due by Monday afternoon, or the big meeting you forgot about.

If you must, assign yourself one or two tasks to do over the weekend to prepare for your Monday events and workload. Clarify exactly what you need to do, and think about what weekend time you can use for those tasks; put it on your weekend calendar, and don’t worry about it until you get to the assigned time. Then focus, get through the tasks, and then get back to enjoying your weekend.

6. Give yourself notes and reminders for starting the next week.

When you’re in the middle of a project, everything is present and fresh. It doesn’t seem like you could forget the ideas and information coursing through your brain when you’re in the midst of the work.

But weekends come and new information and ideas take up that brain space. Part of why Monday is so difficult is that our brains are working to rewire themselves back to the “work-related” bits of information that are still hanging out in there but not as accessible because they’re buried by all the “weekend-related” stuff.

Do yourself a favor and leave yourself a breadcrumb trail to follow when you get back to work.

  • For open projects: leave notes of some kind (physical or digital, whichever works best for the project) regarding the task you were doing, your thoughts on it, where you want to pick up, what you were thinking.
  • For calendar items and events: leave information, ideas, reminders, and event details entered into the calendar item so you don’t have to go hunting for them. Set reminders before the calendar event to give yourself a heads up with enough time to do any preparation needed.

7. Wrap up any open communication.

Check your inbox for emails that need to be answered, and answer them quickly. If you need to take time to form your reply, start a response with your initial thoughts, save it as a draft, and mark it in your inbox as a priority so you don’t forget it next week.

Respond to other modes of communication – phone calls, texts, social media messages, and the like – as appropriate.

8. Back up your files and computer.

Run an back-up program to make sure your week’s work is saved and will be waiting for you when you come back on Monday.

9. Straighten up your physical space.

Throw away waste paper. Put your supplies and pens back in the drawer. Stack up books. File away papers.

Don’t leave yourself a mess. You don’t have to create a haven of perfection, but you can create order.

Your brain will thank you later.

10. Decompress as you move to the weekend.

Transitions are difficult, and routines help with that. Make a decompressing activity the last part of your routine. Exercise is probably the best method; even something as simple as a walk around the block or a set of jumping jacks can help you shake off the work and get energized for the weekend.

Other ideas?

  • Listen to music on your commute home.
  • Spend 10 minutes meditating.
  • Go for a quick bicycle or car ride (if you work from home, you might need to give yourself a “commute” so you have some transition time).
  • Turn the music up and dance!
  • Lay down for a 15-minute power nap.

Now you’re ready for the weekend. You can relax and enjoy your time, knowing that you’ve left things in order and set yourself up for a great week when you get back to work.

Featured photo credit: Jackal1 via flickr.com

The post Use This Effective Routine to Wrap Up Work for the Weekend appeared first on Lifehack.