Category Archives: Lifestyles

Want to Change Your Life in 2021? START with Your Environment

Chances are you’ve come up with some pretty elaborate plans to trick yourself into being more productive.

Have you considered the role your surroundings play in your everyday life? It turns out that one of the easiest ways to bring about change in our lives is actually to change our environments. This is one of the first areas I thought of when I first started E-Class Ventures all those years ago. As a youth I often tried to change my room (as much as I was allowed) to improve my mood with varying levels of success. It ranged from constantly rearranging (pre feng shui craze) to try the make the most of very limited space to painting in perhaps not the best color palette for an already cramped room. All of that to say environment impacts your mood, productivity and this overall wellness.

What if the layout of your bedroom or the distance from your desk to the kitchen was impacting your productivity and decision making? There’s plenty of room for each of us to improve. Here’s how and why making some changes to your environment works.

Your brain is efficient
Making decisions is draining. (Heard of “decision fatigue”? It’s real!) We can only make so many choices per day before we start to run out of steam and need a rest. But we’re faced with countless choices every time we wake up! Should I go back to sleep? Should I shower or brush my teeth first? What will I wear to work? Should I try out that new shortcut to the office? It can become stressful for your brain to struggle with a choice every time one of these little prompts presents itself. That’s why we rely on decision shortcuts called habits.

A habit is just a routine that you regularly perform. Most of the time we don’t even notice that we’re engaging in a habit because it’s second nature to us. And there’s a reason for that. It’s your brain saving energy by going on autopilot to perform an action without having to make a decision. That way you can use the bulk of your mental power on unique and important problems that might pop up during the day, not on thinking about when you should brush your teeth!

Trick yourself into making wise decisions
What does your brain’s love of shortcuts have to do with your environment? Let’s look at an example.

Your alarm clock is right next to your bed. It goes off every morning at 7:30am. It doesn’t take you long to figure out that you can smack the snooze button and go straight back to sleep with hardly any effort. Before long you’re hitting the snooze button every time the alarm goes off without even thinking about it. You’ve trained yourself to sleep in later by making your alarm easier to turn off. But what if your alarm was on the other side of your room? What if to silence it you had to stand up, walk over, and hit a button? That simple change could give you the jolt that you need to wake up and get your day started on time!

Take a look at your surroundings and ask yourself what kind of behavior it encourages. Is it more convenient for you to grab a soda from the fridge or fill up your water bottle? When you work at home, are you in the middle of distractions like the kids playing or too close to the TV? At work (aka as home for a lot of us since the pandemic), does your office layout lend itself to productivity or socializing with your co-workers?

It might take some legwork to get started, but try to arrange your life in a way that makes wise decisions easier. You might be surprised by the results!

What’s one thing you’ve done to change your environment this year that has had a positive effect on your life? How are you going to continue our improve upon that charge for 2021? Share it below.

Opportunity Cost and Your Career

“Opportunity cost” refers to what you can potentially lose by choosing one option over another – even when you aren’t thinking about it.

Nearly every choice you make precludes something else that might have been.

Opportunity cost exists in everything from relationships to finances to career choices, but here we’ll focus on that last one. Over a lifetime, the cost of career decisions can be massive.

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The math
For opportunity costs that can be measured, usually in dollars, there’s even a math equation. (FYI, Ms. ME spent a few years as a Mathematics instructor.)

What I sacrifice / What I gain = Opportunity cost[i]

Let’s say you have two career choices. One is to work as a mechanic at $50 per hour and the other is to work as a karate instructor at $20 per hour.

Opportunity A / Opportunity B = Opportunity cost

Here it is with numbers: $50 / $20 = $2.50

To translate that, for every $1 you earn as a karate instructor, you could have earned $2.50 as a mechanic. The ratio remains the same whether it’s for one hour worked or 1,000 hours worked because it’s based on earnings per hour.

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Adding a time element
We can only work a certain number of hours in a week and we can only work for a certain number of years in a lifetime. Adding time into the discussion doesn’t change the math relationship between the opportunities but it does recognize real-world constraints. Sometimes these limits are by choice. You could be both a full-time mechanic and a full-time karate instructor, but most people don’t want to work 80 hours per week. Something has to give, and that’s where considering opportunity cost comes in.

If you only want to work 40 hours in a week, you’ll have to choose one career over the other or split your time between the two. But even in splitting your time, there is an opportunity cost. Think about it like this: Every hour spent in a lower paying job costs money if you had an opportunity to earn more doing something else.

The bigger picture
In our example using the mechanic vs. the karate instructor, the difference in annual income is over $60,000 per year ($104,000 minus $41,600). Over a 40-year working career, the difference in earnings is nearly $2.5 million, and it all happened one hour at a time.

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Life balance
Your career choice shouldn’t just be about money – you should do something you enjoy and that gives you satisfaction. There may be several other considerations as well – like opportunity to travel, the kind of people you work with, and the greater contribution you can make to the world. However, if there are two choices that meet all your criteria but one pays a bit more, just do the math!

Strange as it may sound thanks to Covid-19 and everything else that happened in 2020 many people are doing the math and reevaluating what they want to do with their lives. For some, reconnecting with a long lost passion as a side gig or even a full leap into entrepreneurship is the direction that they are considering to achieve their desired level of wellness. If you’re in this category, tell us in the comments below. 🔻

[i] https://blog.udemy.com/opportunity-cost-formula/

Morning Habits You Can Start Tomorrow

As we end one year and start another, people often look for ways to change their lives for the better. That’s a reason I personally try to have four new years every calendar year. (More on that in a later post.) But for everyone else, here are some morning habits you might want to consider starting next year. Why?

Well, most of our mornings aren’t very fun. We roll out of bed, maybe hit snooze a few times, and then crawl into work feeling groggy at best. But it doesn’t have to be like this. The morning hours can be times of relaxation, focus, and self-improvement. Here are a few practical habits that can take your mornings from pointless to productive!

Photo by Valeria Ushakova on Pexels.com

Exercise first thing

One of the best habits to fill your morning hours with is exercise. Now first a disclaimer: I’m typing this but I haven’t been doing it lately myself. Every morning at 6:30 AM 🥱 my phone alarms with a reminder to exercise but since 2020 kicked us all in the gut I honestly started allowing myself to sleep in. Can’t you tell by how late this post is going up today?

At any rate exercise is a great way to get your blood flowing and boost your energy. Plus, the feeling that you’ve accomplished something can help carry you through the day and boost your confidence. And as pictured above, if you have children why not help them kickstart this habit early in life. It will help them be alert for those virtual classes and possibly make it a little easier for younger ones to sit still for a little longer. I for one intend to bring this habit back in 2021. But maybe not tomorrow…check in again with me on January 16th. (There’s a GOOD reason for the delay)

Prioritize your tasks

Have you ever thought of everything you have to do in a day and get overwhelmed? Has that never-ending list led to analysis paralysis or worse yet the tendency to bounce from one thing to another without seemingly getting any of it done? (I’m literally speaking from experience here 😳)

One great habit is to combat this is to start planning out your day and prioritizing your tasks. Write down what specifically you want to accomplish and when. You might be amazed by how empowering it is to make a plan and to see your goals on a piece of paper. Start off with your biggest task. The morning is when you’re at your peak brain power, so commit your best efforts to the hardest work. The feeling of accomplishment from knocking out the task will carry you through the smaller things!

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Go to bed early

Ok, so I don’t expect anyone to do this tonight. But Sunday night don’t stay up too late watching just one more episode of your favorite show (Bridgerton or The Queen’s Gambit?) and expect to wake up feeling motivated Monday morning. A productive morning starts the night before. Try to stay away from screens before going to bed (at least one hour) and make sure you turn in at a reasonable time. You may also want to dial back when you wake up. Having a quiet hour or two before everyone else wakes up is a great way of freeing up time to invest in things you care about. Just remember that your new sleep schedule will take some time to adjust to!

Mornings don’t have to be rough. Incorporating these tips and habits into your daily routine can help make the first hours of the day a time you look forward to. Start inching your alarm closer towards sunrise and use that extra time to absolutely crush your day!

Which habits are you going to start in 2021? Tell us below! 👇

Entrepreneurship Master Class

So this post should have been scheduled earlier today…but it wasn’t typed. I (Ms. ME) should have done far more marketing for the entrepreneurship master class I just held. To be honest, I kind of phoned it in, right down to the replay of one of my earlier classes from this year (see e2E launch below).

But enough of what I did wrong…here’s what I did right.

I didn’t press play and walk away. I actually put myself back through my own class. If you haven’t seen it, I won’t spoil anything here so you’ll be incentivized to sign up for the next free class happening on February 13th. What I will say is that it reminded me of the things that I need to be doing, even when I don’t feel like it to keep this and my other businesses going & growing. It reminded me why I took so many years to come back to this entrepreneur lifestyle and how rewarding and freeing it has already been this year.

Is that to say it hasn’t been nerve-racking at times? No, but it also depends on how I choose to look at it. The tedium of employment had driven me to a low point that I don’t want to revisit. So I have to accept the occasional thrill of “will she or won’t she” until my motivation returns to its past level when I juggled parenthood, college, and entrepreneurship. Or I can take my own advice from the master class…

Photo by Katerina Holmes on Pexels.com

At any rate here are a few tips on starting your own business (some are similar to my master class) that I’ll share from an ABC story back in 2011 that still has relevance:

  • Know why you want to start a business
  • Create a simple business plan
  • Nail your target customer
  • Go out and get customers

There are more tips in the article, seven to be exact. But as I and so many others are proof of, tips and knowledge are necessarily always enough without sufficient motivation or support. That’s part of the reason I created my course. So often while teaching teens and young adults how to start businesses, I’d hear from their adult guardians that they wish they not only had the knowledge but the support I provided my students.

So the key difference of this course in what I see as a series of at least three courses is the support group, for now located on Facebook, Entrepreneurs Creating Value. In my over a decade of working in education, I’ve truly come to appreciate that while the educator may direct the class, all of the instruction does not come from that educator. Goes back to that concept of ‘each one, teach one’ that I first heard in one of my college classes.

Of course at the end of the day everyone who enrolls in an online course is looking for the instructor’s feedback, which I provide on the schedule we’ve agreed upon based on our consultation prior to enrollment. However when it comes to tips 3 and 4 from above, I find the more people you have available to pick their brains the quicker you travel the path to identifying and reaching your target customer for your new business. Instead of bugging family and friends who may not fit that profile or worse yet may not want to support you in your escape for the employee lifestyle that they are too afraid to leave behind, crowd-sourcing the information you need in addition to individual research is a better path.

But what do you think? If you’re thinking about starting a business do you prefer one-on-one, having a group to bounce ideas off of, or both? Share below.

How to Make French Toast – Two French Toast Recipes That You Will Love

Many people are looking for information on how to make French toast. There are lots of recipes available to choose from. The great thing about making it is that you can serve it in a variety of ways. You can serve it with different syrups, apple sauce, fruits, berries and lots of other toppings. This way, even if you make the same toast, it will taste differently because of the different toppings you can use with it. And the good news is that it is very simple to make it, and this article will share with you exactly how to do that.

The basic idea of French toast is that it is simple white bread, dipped in the egg custard and either friend or baked. The custard is usually made with eggs and milk and other things, such as sugar, vanilla, cheese or many others. In this recipe we will talk specifically about fried French toast.

Quite a few recipes discuss making the toast sweet – with sugar, syrups, apple sauce, berries, fruits, etc. One of the recipes in this article is for sweet toast, while the other one is for the savory kind.

Here are two recipes for you to help you prepare it:

French Toast Recipe 1: Sweet

This is the recipe that a lot of people know and like, with a sweet twist. So for this recipe, you will need to first find good white bread. You can use white sandwich bread, or any other white bread that you have available.

Next, you will need to make the custard. A custard is nothing more, but the combination of milk and eggs. You can also use heavy cream or half-n-half to make the custard even creamier.

Now, you can add some additional things to the custard. These can be vanilla and a bit of sugar. Now your custard is ready. Dip both sides of each bread slice into the custard and then fry the bread on a skillet in some butter and oil, a few minutes on each side.

Once your toast is ready, you can top it with fruits, berries, apple sauce or syrup.

French Toast Recipe 2: Savory

You can also make the toast with a savory twist. The only difference between the above recipe that makes it sweet, and a savory one, is how you flavor your egg custard.

Now, to make it savory, use salt, pepper and herbs (such as dill or parsley) to flavor your custard. Then, make the toast. You won’t want to top it with fruit, as it is not sweet, but it tastes great on its own.

And now check out the step-by-step sweet and savory French toast recipes! Sweet French Toast Recipe and Savory French Toast Recipe

Article Source: https://EzineArticles.com/expert/Biana_Babinsky/4828

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