Sunday, 27 July 2014

How To Handle Unexpected Circumstances

We've all been through times where we've been faced with challenges that we weren't prepared for, whether that be personally, professionally or financially.


Unfortunately, life doesn't come with a warranty- we can't hand it over and ask for an exchange when it goes wrong- but we can come up with ways of managing the problem and working towards a solution using a certain set of steps. So, following on from that, here is a method for tackling whatever challenge comes your way:

Image from Google

  1. Write the situation itself down in a factual concise way.
    Let me guess, "Wait, what? How is that going to solve anything?" If you write down the problem as unemotionally as possible you can see it at face value and look at it more objectively without the chaos of emotions and other people influencing you. Here's an example: you are concerned that you won't have enough money to pay the rent and you're worried that the landlord won't be understanding. You are making yourself sick with worry and other things that wouldn't faze you before are building up on top of the problem. I recommend that you list it like this:


    -May not have enough money for rent


    -Don't know how to deal with landlord if I can't pay

    You would then tackle each point separately. Firstly, deal with ways to find money for the rent (budgeting, cutting down on areas, asking for help) and then how you would deal with the landlord (speaking to them, trying to come to some sort of compromise).
  2. Flowcharts
    If you are unsure of what to do as a next step, break it down into separate questions. Say that you are unsure if you want to move in with a partner, break it down into more manageable chunks.

    Eg. Am I ready to move out of my parent's house/ where I am now? (Yes/No)
    Am I ready in this relationship to take this step? (Yes/No)
    Am I alright with the thought of living with this person? (Yes/No)
    This should help to put your thoughts into more manageable chunks so that you can properly process them.
  3. Come up with a planThis one is the biggie. When faced with a curveball, take the time to plan your next step. Use the two steps mentioned above and then come up with, whether you write them down or keep them in your mind, a clear path to a solution. The best way to handle a situation is to use the following route.
    Identify the problem- Whether that is being told the situation, realising that something is wrong or knowing that you have to do something about it.
    Accept the problem- Accept that action needs to be taken and that a plan of action needs to be made.
    Come up with a solution- This doesn't have to be an immediate fix but it does have to have a realistic set of actions that can be taken.
    Act out the plan- This may take a long time but by acting it out you are on the right path to sorting things out.
    Reach the solution and resolve the problem- Enough said.
    Learn where you can- Take in the lessons that you've learnt along the way, they've made you a better person.
  4. And, most importantly, don't forget that it's OK to ask for help.None of us are invincible, we all need some help every now and then and that's OK, just remember to make sure to let the person know that you're thankful and that you're there when they will inevitably need help.
How do you cope with unexpected circumstances? Let me know!

Sunday, 20 July 2014

How To Feel Good About Yourself When Others Put You Down

It isn't always easy to keep our chin up. Pressure from society, other people and even ourselves can make us question our confidence and can make us feel inferior.

So what is it that causes us to feel 'less than'? What is it that causes us to feel as though we are not as good as others? There may be various reasons, and while each person will have their own feelings of insecurities, we are constantly looking for validation from society. It's a natural response to want to be accepted by others and this desire to be a part of society can make us agonise over comparisons and feel shame when we 'do not come up to par'.

So, keeping this in mind, how do we continue to feel good about ourselves and be secure in who we are?
  1. Set your own standardsInstead of striving to meet invisible targets that you feel are there- make them tangible to you. Say you and your friend are each writing a book and you find out that your friend has nearly finished. Instantly you feel ashamed- you are only half way and it won't be nearly as good as theirs! Instead of going down this line of thought, set your own target of writing to the highest standard that you can and that by the end of each week to have a chapter complete.
  2. Try to identify why you feel inferiorMore often than not you may be the one creating an issue when there isn't even an one there. If you can, try to identify why you feel that way. Say that you feel insecure about your dancing at a party compared to a friend. Is it your friend that is making you feel anxious or is it your own perception of your dancing? Do you feel conscious of your dancing because you're conscious of your body or do you feel awkward being at the party itself? How can you change that?
  3. If someone is trying to make you feel inferior, try to understand whyDo they themselves feel inferior and are trying to drag you down with them? Have they had a fall out with someone and feel the need to take it out on someone? Or are they a toxic person who just wants to cause harm? If the criticism isn't constructive, imagine a wall (or a shield) protecting you from that person and their words. The words that the person is saying belong to them, it is there anger- you only allow those things to become yours if you take them in and accept them.
It isn't always easy to stop yourself from succumbing to these pressures but to allow yourself to be swept away by your insecurities is damaging to both how you see yourself and how you see others. Try to remember your strengths rather than just your weaknesses because although you may have issues with some areas, you will be amazing in others.

How do you deal with anxieties and feeling of inferiority? Let me know!

Sunday, 13 July 2014

How To Make Your Work Space Work For You

If you're anything like me, you are easily influenced by your environment. Being surrounded by chaos or noise can really bring you down and send your stress levels through the roof.

While we may not be able to completely control our working environment, we can influence our immediate area and make sure that we help ourselves as much as we can to have a happier and more productive day.

Here are my top tips for giving yourself a much more calming and more satisfying work space:

1) Buy yourself a plant.OK, what? How does introducing a garden to my desk help me? Well, by adding a bright, easy to manage plant to your working space, you add a splash of colour as well as a bit of outdoors to your cooped up area. What's more, having a plant on your desk gives you something to look after and can offer a welcome break from staring at you monitor when it requires the occasional bit of watering.
Image from Google. A yellow Kalanchoe is what I have- an easy to manage plant which I recommend highly!

2) Make sure that you have plenty of lightSitting in a dark or dimly lit environment will do your eyesight no favours and will make you feel groggy and unwilling to work. Try and make sure that any lights around your desks are working or that you are near a window. If you're struggling, try to get a lamp for your desk and go outside to get some sunshine on your break.
3) Make sure that you have a comfortable desk chairI cannot stress this enough! There is nothing worse than sitting with bad posture and giving yourself a bad back. Your feet should both be on the floor and your back should be straight with the lower part supported. If you have problems with your chair, try to speak to your manager/ boss about exchanging it, buy yourself a new one (if you are self employed or in a position to) or see if anyone else in the office is willing to do a swap- you never know, they may be having the same problem!
4) Have a clear out!
I know that when you're busy you don't have the time to keep organised. You shove documents to one side as you're trying to keep a grip on the phone. You rummage around for a pen only to find that none work and your drawers become cluttered with things that you've thrown in there for later. The problem is, these things don't sort out themselves- it's down to you to get rid of the junk.
It doesn't have to be a massive clear out- maybe just throw those pens away or put things in their proper place but, I promise you, when you have free desk space, you'll feel a lot better.
5) Make your desk work for you
If you're in an open plan office with a bunch of understanding co-workers and a nice boss, see if you can move your desk. Now, don't get me wrong- I'm not talking about relocating to an entirely new part of the office but if you are a metre away from the window then why not see if you can budge your desk over to it? Alternatively, if you have a book self or filing cabinet next to you that blocks your vision or is clogging up your space, why not see if you can have it moved to the opposite wall?
6) Bring in photos.
Photos of family, friends, pets etc can help to put a smile on your face during days that are difficult and help to remind you of who are waiting to hear from you when you finish work. Warning: Make sure to avoid photos taken of holiday destinations. This can make you feel worse and cause all of your energy to be directed to booking your next holiday and wishing that you were there rather than focussing on the work that you're meant to be doing.


7) Have a spare cardigan, or jumper/sweater, and a pair of comfortable shoes
This point is only marginally related to your work space but its important all the same. Having an extra layer can help to keep you warm and focussed when you're getting through your to do list while having a comfortable pair of shoes (or slippers!) means maximum comfort and stops aching feet!

8) If you can, change your email background and your desktop background to pictures that you likeThis can be done on Gmail, which have an array of gorgeous backgrounds. In regards to your desktop, if you can't find one you like, search for one in your break and upload it. I have a quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson and both  backgrounds really pick up my mood.

Any more suggestions? Let me know!

Sunday, 6 July 2014

Top Tips For Publishing An Ebook On Amazon

As you may or may not be aware, this week I published my first ever eBook called 'Youth Centre SOS' (the link to which can be found at the end of this post).

To be quite honest, it was terrifying! I felt as though I was diving headfirst into the unknown without any kind of parachute. While it was exhilarating and filled me with a great sense of achievement I would have loved for some guidance when starting the progress.

So here are my top tips on publishing with Amazon KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing).

Image from Google
  1. No matter where you are publishing from, you have to supply your tax information. Even if you are not a member of the USA, you have to fill out this field as otherwise, you can't publish anything. Which brings me onto the second thing...
  2. Even if you live in Europe, don't worry about being taken to the Amazon.com site of KDP- you're on the right site! This really confused me when I started! After several Google searches I found out that I was on the right site but I was still pretty unsure- especially when filling out the tax field.
  3. Amazon do not allow you to put up a free eBook. Yeah, I know, this confused me as well! You have two options for royalties, 35% and 70%, which means that you have to have some cost for the eBook so that Amazon can make some money as well as yourself. The way to get your eBook up for free is by using a site called 'Smashwords' which explains how to get your book up on their site. The only disadvantage is that you need your own cover.
  4. Proof read, proof read and proof read!! Enough said.
  5. Market your book like crazy. It is down to you completely to advertise your book so get on social media and use your mailing list to your full advantage. It is down to you and you solely to get the word out so get cracking! If people haven't got a kindle, they can download the Kindle Reading App from most devices with apps.
If you need any further advice, feel free to message me and I'll try and answer any of your questions.

You can find my eBook here: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Youth-Centre-SOS-Short-Story-ebook/dp/B00LH22AXA/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1404676374&sr=8-1&keywords=Youth+Centre+SOS

Or the first instalment of it can be read at Shout Out UK here: http://www.shoutoutuk.org/2014/07/06/youth-centre-sos-part-1-mary-lou-fletcher/