Friday Favourites: Our Favourite Links of the Week

Posted by Amy Wallace Amy Wallace on .

There are many great articles online but it’s easy to miss them in the daily flurry of digital information. Even with RSS readers and read-later services, it’s easy to overlook some great blog posts throughout the week.

So we’ve rounded up some of our favourite blog posts that we read this week. If we’ve missed your favourite post, blog or author, or you simply have a suggestion for us, please let us know in the comments below! We love to discover new and wonderful writers!

1) Is what you do who you are?

If you’re working at a job that isn’t your dream job or you’re working on a project that’s yet to find its feet, the question ‘What do you do?’ can sometimes make you feel nervous. You might be confident of the answer but it might not always succeed in giving the impression you want, especially if what you do is not what you want to be doing in the future.

Over on 99u, Sarah Kathleen Peck wrote an interesting article about just this problem. She writes that:

It is difficult to change our lives because we constantly tell ourselves stories about who we are and what we’re capable of. However, your story is often changing, so you may feel compelled not to mention anything until it is certain or has already happened; we aren’t something, until we are. Parents are familiar with this phenomenon: for all of your life you weren’t a parent, and then, holy smokes, you are. The same goes for students, new employees, and business-owners: you weren’t a graduate, until you were. It happens slowly, and then, it seems, all at once.

But there are ways to overcome this anxiety that not only help you with answering this question but also with how to work towards your goals. Peck explains that visualization can be a powerful tool to help you stay positive and explore future possibilities:

Future narratives (that is, what we want and where we are going) can be a source of motivation: they help us map where we want to go, let us visualize our potential, and allow us to make that potential real by creating safe spaces within our brains to understand and accept these new possibilities. It’s a chance to experiment while simultaneously nudging us to move in a new direction.

Head over to the post on 99u to read more about how finding the right balance of visualization can help you on your way to achieving your goals.

2) Could you manage your time at work better?

Sometimes it’s difficult to know exactly how to make changes that will positively impact your productivity, especially when it takes a while to see the benefits of those changes.

A checklist can be a handy way to make sure you are working on making those changes and able to see progress even when you can’t see the end result yet.

Well, here’s a great list by Sasha Graffagna on SuperheroYou that can give you something to work on so that you’ll soon be seeing changes in how you manage your time at work.

10 Tips to Manage Your Time Better at Work

And since you could always do with another list, Sasha wrote a second one to give you more inspiration for things to work on.

10 More Tips to Manage Your Time Better at Work

3) Building good habits doesn’t happen overnight

21 Days. That’s how long it takes to build a habit, right? This is a number that seems mythical, giving people reason to hope that if they work hard enough for just three weeks, their new habit will be set in stone.

Unfortunately, as James Clear points out, this is not truly the case when it comes to really making a new habit automatic:

On average, it takes more than 2 months before a new behavior becomes automatic — 66 days to be exact. And how long it takes a new habit to form can vary widely depending on the behavior, the person, and the circumstances. In Lally’s study, it took anywhere from 18 days to 254 days for people to form a new habit.

But this doesn’t have to be bad news. James writes that there are three reasons why this research can be turned into a basis for inspiration rather than a reason to give up:

Interestingly, the researchers also found that “missing one opportunity to perform the behavior did not materially affect the habit formation process.” In other words, it doesn’t matter if you mess up every now and then. Building better habits is not an all-or-nothing process.

Head over to James’s blog to see his three reasons why there’s reason to be inspired by the knowledge that 21 Days is just a habit myth.

4) Measuring Progress

If it does take longer than 21 days to build a habit, it’s important to be aware of how you’re progressing. It’s difficult enough to build up a new habit without the knowledge that it could take months for it to become automatic.

So to make sure that you are progressing and that you keep assessing whether or not those are the right habits and goals to be aiming for, it’s important to keep checking in with yourself.

As usual, Belle Beth Cooper has written a great post on the Buffer blog about why measuring your progress is helpful and how you can go about doing just that.

Studies have found that setting growth goals is more common in children and younger adults, and has a positive effect on well-being in these age groups, whereas avoidance goals have been found to have a negative emotional impact. Older adults, however, are more prone to setting maintenance and avoidance goals, and interestingly they don’t suffer emotionally—these type of goals seem well suited to the changes we go through as we age.
[…] Of course, each of these studies asked participants to measure and report progress made towards their goals. Measuring your progress is important if you want to get those positive emotional effects. 

Read on to find out some tips and tricks to measure your progress towards your goals. 

5) Meditation and Yoga can improve your brain function

Taking a lunch break is important to make sure you’re fresh and alert for your afternoon’s work. It can make a massive difference to your productivity and it always helps to get out of your chair and away from your computer for a while.

But what can you do to ensure you have a more creative and focused approach for the afternoon?

The benefits of yoga and meditation have been widely reported and PsyBlog has two posts about how these two calming activities have been scientifically shown to help improve your brain function.

Short Yoga Session Stimulates Brain Function 

Meditation Can Make You More Creative

So why not take a 10-minute meditation break or try out some downward dog poses for your next lunch break?

If these blog posts have helped you or you have any others to suggest that you've found particularly inspirational, let us know in the comments below or say hi by Tweeting us or sending us an email.