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SPRINGCLEANING FOR THE SOUL S pring is all about renewal. Even in southeast Texas, which Mometrix calls home, there’s a change in the air. A certain dreariness lifts, and beautiful weather sets in. During March and April, the skies are often clear, and the temperatures are perfect. It’s tempting to spend the whole day outside. For a lot of people, spring can feel like a true new start. It’s a springboard to the rest of the year, pun intended. I often feel more productive in the spring — I feel like I can get a lot more done during the day.
Over the next few weeks, I’ll be doing a lot of spring cleaning. Our family is getting ready to move into a new home, and we’ll be getting rid of a lot of stuff. It’s incredibly refreshing to give stuff away. It’s also incredibly amazing how easy it is to accumulate stuff. Ideally, I’d love to clear out stuff on a regular basis. My wife and I follow a few minimizing blogs, and it’s interesting to see how other people live with less. We read these blogs to help us get into the “minimizing mindset” — which really comes in handy as we pick and choose what to keep and what to give away during the moving process. I think, as a society, we’ve come to equate abundance with happiness. The more you have, the happier you should be. Of course, reality is a very different thing. It’s a lesson a lot of people learn long after they’ve accumulated everything they thought would make them happy. In my experience, getting rid of stuff has brought me more happiness than acquiring it. In 2017, when Hurricane Harvey blew through Texas, I listed a lot of things for sale. A lot of people in the area were recovering. One family bought a table and chairs from me to replace the dining table they had lost during the flooding.
to me. That’s really where the happiness comes from — it’s not in getting rid of something, but giving those things new meaning.
It’s very important to be a wise steward of what you have. If you’re just hanging onto stuff for the sake of simply hanging on to it, that isn’t wise stewardship. This creates clutter in our lives, both physical and mental. Once something is no longer useful to you, it’s time to pass it on to someone else who can use it. It’s not always easy, especially if an item holds sentimental value, but letting go eases a burden in your life. You make space for what is yet to come. That’s what I’m doing as we get ready to move. I’m making space for what’s yet to come. Sure, our family will accumulate more stuff, but we’re getting rid of a lot. It’s about striking a balance so you don’t become overwhelmed but aren’t left without those things that define your family and your home.
Stuff I was no longer using found a new home, and it’s being used again. It means something to these folks when it hadn’t meant as much
–Ja y Willi s
LOCK YOUR PHONE AND GIVE YOURSELF A BREAK GETTINGAWAY FROMYOURDEVICE
People seem to be on their phones more and more these days. Our cellphones have become a huge part of our lives because they give us a way to connect with thousands of people instantly. They allow us to work remotely, remain up to date on current events, and communicate with family and friends on the other side of the world with ease. Being so connected online provides us many benefits, but it can also cause us to withdraw from the people around us, especially when it comes to being face to face. Too often, a person who should be relaxing at home or spending an evening with friends will be constantly checking their phone. Taking a break from your cellular device is as important as taking a break from the hustle and bustle of daily life. Here are some apps that can help. FOREST: This app determines when you need a break. Once it’s open, you’ll set a timer for your phone that disables certain applications. In that time frame, a digital plant will grow from a sprout to a tree. If you have the urge to open your phone and start an unauthorized app, Forest will buzz you, telling you to put down the phone or your growing tree will die. FLIPD: If you’re looking to go cold turkey, this is the app for you. Once you activate a full block on Flipd, you will only be able to call, text, and
email. Everything else on your phone will be blocked until the specified amount of time has passed. STAY FOCUSED: Grabbing your phone and scrolling aimlessly while you’re trying to work or do homework can reduce your productivity. You decide which apps are most distracting to you and Stay Focused will prevent you from opening them during the set time. It also includes a feature that allows you to see how much you use a particular app daily and weekly. Taking a 20-minute or hour-long break from your phone can help you focus on being more present in social situations and completing tasks effectively. Give yourself that small break throughout the day by breaking away from your mobile!
TIME TOSAYGOODBYE IS TRANSPARENT SEPARATION RIGHT FOR YOUR COMPANY?
An employee getting fired is an unpleasant experience for both parties. Losing a job is hard on an employee, and terminating an employee can create a lot of grief for a company. In a 2018 article for Harvard Business Review, Investopedia CEO David Siegel laid out his strategy to avoid the troubles of termination by offering a more considerate approach to firing: transparent separation. In a transparent separation, when underperforming employees are informed that their tenure with the company is coming to an end, they are given a time frame to look for a new job before their last day. Employees are asked to keep the arrangement confidential and are expected to maintain job performance. Siegel states that employees who abuse the goodwill of transparent separation should be let go immediately.
• There’s reduced legal risk that the company might be sued by an angry employee. • The company has time to find a suitable replacement, resulting in a smoother transition. • Remaining employees feel more comfortable when they don’t have to worry about “disappearing” overnight. Even with all these positives, Siegel notes that transparent separation may not be the best course of action for every employee termination. For example, if the soon to be ex-employee is a manager whose toxic behavior is harming the work environment, they need to be shown the door immediately. Siegel claims that in two-thirds of cases, transparent separations offered the best outcome both for the company and the former employee. There are potential drawbacks to transparent separation. Opponents of this strategy note the potential damage a disgruntled employee can cause after being told they are losing their job. Some employees may even prefer to collect severance and leave so they can fully focus on the job search. Is transparent separation the answer to all your termination woes? The jury’s still out; there’s no one size fits all solution to any business problem. What works great for one company might not be best for another. But if you think the pros outweigh the cons, transparent separation might be worth considering the next time your company has to say goodbye.
Transparent separation is a bold departure from the traditional termination playbook, but
Siegel insists that the strategy offers some incredible benefits, such as the following:
• Departing employees avoid the struggle of trying to find a new job while unemployed. • Managers are not cast in an adversarial role for abrupt firings.
Sometimes, it seems as though note-taking has become a lost art. Practically every office is equipped with pen and paper, yet these tools aren’t always used to their full potential. We rely heavily on technological solutions or skip taking notes altogether. As a result, many people aren’t in the habit of taking good notes. But taking notes can be beneficial in many situations. There isn’t one perfect way to take notes. Every situation is unique. You deal with fast talkers or disorganized speakers. It becomes up to you to adapt. It takes practice, but the process becomes easier with time. If you are taking notes to share, you will want to take a more methodical approach. If the notes are just for yourself, you can use shorthand terms or take notes that are specifically suited to your needs. However, it is good to get in the habit of writing in a consistent style. Find what works for you. Lists, for instance, are generally the easiest to write by hand, as well as the easiest to read. They are a great way to organize the structure of a meeting or presentation and are ideal when you need to refer back to something quickly. Diagrams are best suited for those who are visually inclined. One example is the mind map, which is a variation of a spider diagram, starting in the center of the page with the topic of the meeting, surrounded by various topic and subtopic branches.
Transcripts can be the most challenging approach to note-taking. It takes more practice to master, but you’re left with full detail. When you need to ensure nothing slips by, taking notes as close to word for word as you can is the way to go. To become a note-taking master, you must practice. You can practice in the field and as situations arise, but if you really want to get the skill down, try the following: For the next month, whenever you watch or listen to TV, videos, podcasts, or audiobooks, grab a pen and paper. Write down what’s important and review your notes for accuracy. After a month of this, you’ll find yourself taking notes better than ever before.
Inspired by Saveur magazine OPENINGDAYHAMBURGERS
With no fancy sauces, no frills, and no cheese, these All-American burgers are perfect for the start of baseball season.
1 pound ground chuck, 80 percent lean 4 soft, white hamburger buns, split 4 1/4-inch-thick tomato slices
• • • • •
4 small leaves iceberg lettuce 4 1/4-inch-thick yellow onion slices 1 teaspoon vegetable oil Salt and pepper, to taste Condiments of your choice
12–16 pickle rounds
1. Lightly grease a small nonstick skillet with oil. Heat over medium-high. 2. While heating, gently shape meat into four patties 3 1/2 inches in diameter. Be careful to handle the meat as little as possible to prevent tough burgers. Season liberally with salt and pepper. 3. Sear patties on each side, about 1 minute per side. Reduce heat to medium- low and continue cooking until desired doneness, about 1 more minute per side for medium-rare, 2 more per side for medium-well. 4. Let meat rest for a minimum of 3 minutes. 5. To assemble, place patty on bottom bun and top with tomato, pickles, lettuce, and onion (in that order). Spread condiments on top half of bun and place on top of onion. Serve.
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INSIDE 1 2 Taking a Break!
Spring Cleaning for the Soul
A Better Approach to Firing?
Take Notes Like a Master
Opening Day Hamburgers
Discover The Magic of Thinking Big
REVISITINGACLASSIC THE MAGIC OF THINKING BIG
In this issue we’re diving into an old classic that helped define the modern personal development genre and has helped millions of readers improve their lives. The Magic of Thinking Big flew off shelves when it was first
ideas feel old hat to modern audiences, the essence of what he wrote in 1959 still rings true today.
published in 1959, propelling author David J. Schwartz from university professor to foremost authority on motivation. But does his seminal work still hold true 60 years later? Is there still magic in letting yourself think big in the 21st century? In a word, yes. The lessons in Thinking Big are broad, but their wide applicability is also what makes them timeless. Today, many authors and motivational coaches — from “influencer” culture to “growth hacking” — focus on whatever is new and shiny, but Schwartz focuses on the fundamentals. This can make the opening chapters in Thinking Big feel excessively familiar to those who have read other personal development books. The power of positivity and self-confidence may have been groundbreaking ideas back when Eisenhower was president, but today they’re a given. While this may make some of Schwartz’s
In fact, one could argue that several core concepts of this decades-old work are even more applicable today. A running theme in Schwartz’s book is the incomparable benefit of treating people like people. While many personal and business dealings hinge on the power of a handshake, there’s something refreshing about the common human decency of Schwartz’s outlook. So many motivational works today focus solely on personal reflection — Thinking Big reminds us that there is great power in simply being good to other people. Perhaps the most important takeaway today’s readers can find here is to take on more and think bigger. Thinking Big is replete with real-world success stories of people doing precisely that, from students collaborating to solve supposedly impossible problems to wounded paratroopers making their way across the mountains of Burma toward safety. Whether you’re dusting off an old copy or picking it up for the first time, this classic is still worth a read in 2019.
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