Self Hack: How to be happier at home (or at work)

The greatest discovery of any generation is that a human can alter his life by altering his attitude. ~ William James

Of this be sure: You do not find a happy life, you make it. ~ Thomas Monson


Happiness is a feeling of enjoyment and satisfaction that people like to experience. But not many people actually experience this feeling.

A study of more than 300,000 adults revealed that adults were generally unsatisfied with their life, had less free time and a lot more worries.

So it means a lot of adults are not really happy.

Situations at home or at work were some of the reasons given in this study.

Even though the results of this study has shown that adults are more unhappy, the reasons for this unhappiness may not be peculiar to adults alone.

However, psychologists have found that happiness is something we have control over. One of the principles supporting this fact is Aristotle’s two keys to happiness: enjoyment and a good life. A psychologist has restated this as: life circumstances and intentional behaviours.

This principle suggests that happiness is caused by these two main factors, and while we cannot control life circumstances, we can control our behaviours.

So, we can be happier by consciously choosing how we behave.

Here are some advice for you on how to be happier – at home or at work:

#1 Attitude control

People who think happy can become happy. This is one of my most powerful tricks for staying happy.

How we react to events, our attitude towards the things we are experiencing, can determine our level of happiness.

At some point of my life, I was often sad. Most of the things that made me sad were outside my control. Later on, I realised that I may remain sad for a long time if I kept letting those things outside my control make me unhappy. I found out that I could easily stay happy by focusing first on those things completely within my control.

In the book ‘The 9 Choices of Happy People’, Rick Foster and Greg Hicks explained that people who are happy started the process by making a conscious effort to change their attitudes and behaviours.

#2 Do not indulge in negative feelings

Expressing anger at every minor annoyance can amplify bad feeling. Allowing yourself to have negative feelings too often can also do the same.

Explaining this in his book ‘You Can Choose to Be Happy’, Tom Stevens says by altering your perspective and thoughts, you can permanently increase your happiness set-point and achieve true happiness.

Realise you are responsible for how you feel, take responsibility for it.

A good way to deal with this is to identify your negative emotions and replace them w

#3 Lifestyle management

Activities like sleep, nutrition and fitness have a link to happiness. Sleep, nutrition and fitness are related to health as well, so good health is essential to happiness.

Science has also found that any amount of physical activity increases level of happiness. Physical activity stimulates a certain chemical in the human brain called endorphins. This chemical impacts our mood and emotions, science explains.

It means changes in lifestyle routines like sleep, can result in overall happiness. You cannot ignore the effect of your daily routine on your happiness. LP

#4 Relationship building

Maintaining good relationships with people around you can also foster happiness. The people around us can offer a great source of love and support that in turn increases our feeling of fulfillment and happiness.

Biology has described humans as social creatures. Social relationships and behaviours are part of our genes.

Making time to connect with friends and family or colleagues at work is a good way to build good relationships with them. Take a walk, discuss about each other’s feelings and share how you think you can improve the things you are not happy about.

Happiness is not something you wait for.

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Why everyone needs tech for work

I have met a few people who think tech is only useful for a small group of workers. Maybe only for elite business people and employees of giant corporations. I observe that these people’s thought of tech is often based on blind assumptions, lack of technical knowhow and uninformed opinions from other people.

Everyone needs tech for work of course. There should be no argument about this.

Why?

Because the technological change going on around the world and the increasing adoption of technology everywhere, especially at workplaces, are creating increasing demand for some tech skills from people, young or old, poor or rich.

A team of economists and technologist facilitated by the World Bank explained in their article titled ‘Everyone needs tech skills, not just youth‘ that, ‘We need to make sure that older workers and those already in the work force have the skills to take advantage of technological change.’

Based on two studies centered on Poland and India, the team suggested that, ‘In Poland, the changes in the task content of jobs have been substantial. But they have also created jobs. In India, the capital-augmenting technological progress has reduced labor share in gross value added, but also increased incomes of highly skilled, non-production workers. However, in both Poland and India, low skilled, production workers, and older workers have been disadvantaged as employers and economies adopt technology.’

The rise of the digital economy is gradually rendering non-tech savvy workers obsolete as you can see. As it is, the skill gap among workers is also resulting to income gap in the new economy. And except everyone is skilled in tech to some extent, there may be more inequality in the distribution of jobs and income.

Apart from this, tech makes work easier and saves a lot of cost. It allows more work to be done at a particular time without using up much money or resources. Currently, the growing concept of internet of things is fuelling tons of tech applications for day to day tasks which were usually handled by humans. One good example is drone technology. Drones are remote-controlled flying tech objects and they are already in use in agriculture, transportation, security and warfare, and many other areas of life in some parts of the world.

Drop that idea that not everyone needs tech work if you have always believed that was true. Do not be left behind, the change is fast happening already. Get skilled in tech.



Remote as it gets, we love it

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Our team members have to work from wherever they are. Because of the nature of what we do and the tools available to us, we figured that remote work is the best we can get and we do not ever regret this. But there are also challenges tied around this style of work.

First – and mightiest of all the challenges that come with remote work is communication. Our entire team has to collaborate on work from a distance, anyhow that is going to be possible. We even have to hire from a distance, we interview candidates applying to join our team and take them in to work with us without any physical meeting.
The only way we could do this was to run a workable communication strategy. Our options were internet and telephone communication, of which, among these, the internet was the most effective and efficient in terms of performance and cost. We could spend lots of money and time trying to talk to a team member at a time on phone and still not get the message across clearly or successfully. Or we could spend lesser money and time talking to several team members at a time on the internet and have the message clearly and successfully passed. We have settled primarily for the internet and set the telephone aside for occasions where it becomes really necessary. With an email and instant message combination we get on with team discussions and editorial productions. Our content writer in Lagos and our reporter in Anambra are on our instant message group, with our content editor. When they have works to bring in, they send them in email to the editor. They can keep in touch and discuss more about the works on instant message, especially when a response is urgently needed.

The second – is supervision. You cannot watch team members from a distance, you can only rely on what they report to you and the results they produce. This almost makes supervision only a myth in a remote work setting. But supervision still needs to be done anyway. What is really true is that we cannot supervise in real life, we end up doing it with all we can get to do that is as best as supervision – which is control. Controls are always in place to help regulate how things happen wherever they are fixed. We put control strategies and policies in place to help us do what we will want to do during supervision. Our team members are made to keep to a written set of work instructions, output level and delivery timeline. With this, we can follow up and analyse their work by seeing how much they kept to the instruction, the output level and the delivery timeline.

Another one – is cohesion, bonding. That common bonding we find in real life relationships does not exist between members of a remote work team who have never had a real life meeting and even several more meetups and hangouts. Real life rules still apply to remote work settings. I had a real life meeting with a few members of our team in Lagos and I saw the difference. It made me understand why our team members need to have some real life meeting, at least whenever possible. It has helped me understand what is responsible for certain behaviours of team members who I have never met in real life. Nothing we can do to stop the need for bonding in our team. The rules will not change for us. Teams require that bonding to unlock harmony, cooperation and understanding within it. We want to unlock ours too, we will find and take every opportunity to do so.

Skill and imagination are all we require to solve many of the problems we find in life and work. Remote work can be challenging, but we can overcome and get the best out of it with skill and imagination. Just so you know it, it is working fine for us so far. Remote as it gets, we love it.