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How To Stop Gaming Addiction

Gaming Addiction The Short Advice

It’s 8-bit of a Problem…

According to the World Health Organisation gaming addiction, or ‘gaming disorder’, is actually a disease. Open for debate perhaps, but it’s obviously attracted the attention of a few medical professionals. Whilst it does only affect a small portion of individuals who play video games, it has raised some interesting points about gaming habits. In particular, how gaming addiction can potentially draw attention from important life experiences and responsibilities. So, whatever your game of choice, it might pay to check out some of our points below to ensure you don’t fall into the trap of gaming addiction…

… But It’s Not All Bad!

Contrary to the popular belief of an ageing population who didn’t have video games ‘back in my day…’ (- Your Grandpa), video games can have an upside. Whilst navigating your way through all of those crazy sci-fi plot lines, you can develop some valuable life skills too. One study suggests that video game players might actually make for handy unmanned aircraft operators! Provided gaming addiction is not present, could the realism of modern gaming actually be preparing gamers for real-world tasks? An interesting thought, although as it usually does, the solution often rests in the hands of our first point…

1. Aim for Balance

Gaming addiction, like any other addiction, is an imbalance. When you’re delving into a virtual reality, you’re going to be missing out on your actual reality for a period of time. But of course, one could argue the same for films, books or other leisure activities. They obviously have their benefits, but too much of anything is generally a bad idea. So enjoy your games – learn, relax, be entertained. But don’t over do it. If you serve your immediate wants too frequently, you won’t be serving anybody else’s needs, including your own. Balance is the key to achieving sustainable happiness…

2. Solo to Social

Don’t fall into the trap of becoming a binge-gamer (a level of gaming addiction). It’s easy to shut yourself off to the world and get stuck into the latest release, but try not to let it keep you from being social. So, instead of getting in front of the screen yourself, perhaps try making your gaming experiences social ones. Not just online with friends, but physically with friends. Positive relationships are a major part of being a happy and healthy individual, so perhaps gaming with real friends might be a great way to kill two birds with one stone…

3. Re-Engage

If you know you’ve been spending too much time wrapped up in an animated reality, perhaps its time to reconnect with the wonders of your own world. Challenge yourself, set goals, find something interesting and pursue it as relentlessly as you’ve pursued your animated character’s interests. It’s easy to take it all for granted and forget about some of the amazing opportunities that you’ve been gifted – the world is full of them. If you really commit to the idea, your desire to spend hours in front of a screen might start to fade as you re-engage with the real world. Gaming addiction gone.

4. Take a Break

Abstinence has been recorded as a possible effective treatment method for gaming addiction. Going cold turkey on the console for a little while might help you to realise whether or not you do have a gaming problem. This could be a good method to identify the issue, and allow you to take steps in order to combat it. Taking a break from the screen will also provide health benefits, particularly ocular ones. Eyestrain and irritation can be caused by prolonged gaming, due to a lack of blinking and harmful blue light from screens.

5. Seek Professional Advice

Gaming addiction may be a hard pill to swallow for many, but addiction is often more about the individual and their personality than the subject matter itself. Impulsivity, the need to seek the most immediate reward, has been found to be a predetermining factor of addiction in adolescents. Seeking the advice of a mental health specialist may help to shed some light on addictive patterns of behaviour in other areas of your life and help you to understand more about the decisions you make. The holistic benefits of such an experience may be invaluable to your personal development.

Final Note on Gaming Addiction

Call it what you will. Gaming addiction, laziness, impulsivity, the need for immediate reward… Whether you choose to believe it is a disorder or not, there is clearly an issue. So, if you or somebody you care about is spending too much time gaming, address it! Don’t let the virtual world develop into a real life problem. Follow some of our simple steps above, and re-engage with your fellow earthlings. Level up!

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How To Change Your Job: 5-Point Check

Change Your Job Sunset

So You Want to Change Your Job…

The sun is setting on your current job. Maybe you’ve been working in the same role, and in the same industry for ten years. Maybe you feel trapped in your role, and need to make a change. Well, there’s good and bad news for you… Change is very possible – that’s the good news. The bad? Well, change is often very difficult, too. So the most important variable to consider now, is how bad you want it, and how hard you are prepared to work in order to create sustainable change. If you really want to change your job, and make it work, there are a few important points to consider before you jump ship…

The 5-Point Check List to Change Your Job.

Leaving your job can be an incredibly difficult thought, especially when you’ve worked tirelessly to develop a good reputation for yourself within your workplace and industry. If you’ve been in your job long enough, you may even have ‘climbed the ladder’ somewhat, and be earning decent money. So, how do you give it all up and start again? This is what makes change so challenging…

1. The ‘Want/Need’ Variable

How bad do you want to change your job? Do you want it so bad that you need it? Maybe your role is actually so physically demanding that your body can only manage for so long in your current field of employment, and thus, this is change that is sorely needed. Or perhaps the mental strain is so much so that it is affecting life outside of work too. Is it time and repetition that has got you down? That can happen in any job. The point here, is that there are degrees of want and need. It can help to write down a pros and cons list of both staying in your job, and seeking out a new one. Write down your reasons for wanting to change your job. Are these reasons exclusive to your career choice, or could they arise in any future position? Understand your motives, and make an informed decision.

2. Goals and Systems

A much discussed topic on this blog, and rightly so. Now that you’ve understood the reasons for, and degree that you ‘want/need’ to change your job, it’s time to plan for the future. Goal-setting is a great way to track your progress and motivate yourself towards achieving your desired career outcome. You might have one long-term goal, preceded by a series of short term goals, or ‘stepping stones’, to keep you on track. These short-term goals will be the product of your ‘systems’, which are the things that you do regularly like studying, exercising, and learning, in order to continue achieving your goals. Sometimes, the systems you employ to be successful are even more important than the goals themselves. Goals may change as your interests do, but it doesn’t mean that you’ve given up, nor does it make your systems redundant.

3. Time Commitment

Now that you have created some goals and thought about the process, you need to think about time. How long will this change take to be in affect? Is it a matter of simply applying for a new role until you get one? Or will it take training and learning new skills in order to be competent? Consider both the duration of the entire process and the weekly time commitment. It is unaffordable for most people to quit their job and then look for another one without any source of income. So it is likely that you would have to take on a greater workload, on top of your already trying working week. You may have to sacrifice some activities that you enjoy for a period of time. Are these all things that you are willing to do? Short-term pain, long-term gain.

4. Work Ethic

An important attribute that is valued in every workplace. Job satisfaction has been known to have a positive relationship with work ethic, creating increased productivity. But does it work the other way around? Consider a scenario where a strong work ethic generates recognition for an employee amongst their superiors. This could lead to promotions, bonuses, and increased job satisfaction. Here, hard work is the independent variable, and job satisfaction the dependent. Now it’s time to reflect on your current situation… Have you become lost in the monotony of your job and dropped the ball? It might pay to become a social scientist of sorts, and test the hypothesis that an increased work ethic could increase job satisfaction. Because if this is a factor that you could improve, it may still be one after you change your job…

5. Happiness

You’ve heard it before and you’ll hear it again… Life is too short to be unhappy. Especially from something as trivial as your job (in the big scheme of things). Work can feel like it is consuming your life, when really it is supposed to be enriching it. In a perfect world, your employment should be meaningful and full of purpose. But the reality is that we don’t all get to fulfil our childhood dreams. That doesn’t mean that you can’t find a work environment with good people and prospects. Overcome the fear of failure, and make a positive change if you believe it is right for you. Go through your checklist, exhaust your options at your current job and leave no stone unturned. If you still decide that you need to change your job, then do it! Allow yourself a life of happiness now, because time is the most valuable currency – not money.

Final Note

Nothing is ever easy! But that doesn’t mean it’s not worth doing. The challenge of starting again after you change your job can seem daunting. But the rewarding feeling of overcoming your fears and inhibitions might drive you to continue growing into the person that you want to become. Keep trying, keep pushing, don’t settle until you’ve found your own piece of sustainable happiness. Invest in yourself, and create the world that you want to live in. Thanks for reading, and good luck in your new career path!

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5 Ways To Have Fun For Free

Fun For Free The Short Advice

The Simple Things in Life…

If you ask the minimalists, they’ll tell you that there is freedom in simplicity. And they’re right. You can live without the extreme excess that is being sold to us as necessity, and still achieve your own state of internal happiness and have fun for free! In fact, thats about the only way you can do it sustainably. Concepts like fun and happiness can’t always come from material items and things with monetary value, because then we’d be submitting our fun-having abilities to the dollar! Rather, it comes from experience and relationships. Relationships with people, relationships with places and relationships with the environment.

How to Have Fun For Free (Mostly).

Our ‘Fun For Free’ list consists of some activities that may require financial outlay… BUT they do not include directly paying for a ‘fun activity’, but rather rely on one’s own ability to create their own fun. In the land of technology, gadgets, and short attention spans, fun has sadly become a term that is commonly associated with staring at screens. It’s not all bad of course, but you can’t sit around reading The Short Advice all day… That’s why most of the items on our list include some degree of physical exertion too. After all, exercise has been linked to happiness and positivity. So, read on, but don’t do it all day – Get out there and have some fun for free!

1. Roadtrips

So obviously, you need to have a car and some petrol… but if you’ve already got these things it’s sort of a free activity right!? Roadtripping is a fantastic way to build relationships, and develop a fondness for your surroundings. Bring a pillow and a blanket and all of a sudden you’ve got accomodation on wheels. Its a sense of freedom that you’ll learn to appreciate, and one that you may have forgotten about. It’s too easy to get caught up with work saving for expensive holidays that you forget how easy it can be to just jump in the car and go exploring.

2. Hit the Beach

Hot, cold, freezing – who cares! Sometimes a bit of discomfort can make for a fun and memorable experience when shared with people you love. “Remember that time we swam in the middle of winter, and then we had to thaw out in the shower for 15 minutes?” Run, play ball sports, swim, lie on a towel, listen to music – the beach has it all and it’s entirely fun for free. Remember, fun is what you make it to be. If you approach the situation with a positive mindset, you will inevitably have fun. But, if you’re hesitant you might talk yourself out of a good time before you even get there! The beach is great, the beach is great, the beach is great… Go have a great time!

3. Learn an Instrument

Sure, you’ll need to purchase an instrument. That does cost money… But learning it doesn’t cost a thing! There are countless online tutorials to help you along the way. You can follow along at your own pace, and choose to dedicate as much time as you like. And if you don’t want to fork out to buy an instrument, you can sing instead using your very own built-in voice instrument (a.k.a your voice box). Music is a fantastic creative outlet that can be solely driven by your own passion and interests. As any creative outlet does, it also allows you to express yourself, and may even provide a therapeutic element to ease stress.

4. Read a Book

The age-old way to have fun for free that grandma has been trying to tell you about. If you’re not into reading books, there are too many reasons why you should start… The first being, it will make you smarter. Reading improves your vocabulary, but it also gets you thinking and using your imagination. Books require you to visualise people, places and things, which also means that your experience with a book can be quite different to the next person’s. With endless genres available, your options are vast. Take yourself to another world, and have fun for free with a good old fashioned novel.

5. Invent a Game

Exercise your imagination and get creative! It might actually be the best way to have fun for free. Wherever you are in the world, this is a fail safe way to enjoy yourself. You just need a bit of creativity. As you play, you can refine your new game with your friends. It doesn’t matter how old you are, or where you are. Use what is available to you and make something cool, just because you can! Thats part of the fun. The more you do this, the more you’ll realise that fun is a tool that you will always have at your disposal, whenever and wherever you go.

Final Note

Fun seems to have become a by-product of money, but it doesn’t need to be the case. You can have fun for free in a variety of ways, if you’re open to it. Its an important part of being happy and it shouldn’t stop when you reach a certain age. Use your imagination, get outside, get active. Do it with the people that you care about the most. You can have fun for free if you choose to, so don’t always believe what the TV is telling you…

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Effective Teamwork: 5 Teamwork Traits

Effective Teamwork

There’s No ‘I’ in Team

Teamwork describes the actions of a group of individuals who are driven by a common goal. Effective teamwork describes those actions which ultimately end in a successful outcome for the team. Whilst intentions may be genuine, not all teams practice effective teamwork skills, and their successes are often limited as a result. Throughout history however, there have been many highly functioning teams that have shown us what effective teamwork looks like. The Chicago Bulls won 6 championships in the 90’s, The Brisbane Lions won 3 consecutive premierships in the early 00’s, and Leicester City won the Premier League in 2015-16 with odds of 5000-1 at the start of the season. So, why did these teams experience such success? Keep reading…

Effective Teamwork Traits

The following list highlights our top 5 most effective teamwork traits to create a successful team environment. Teamwork of course is not exclusive to sport, but sport can provide great case studies from which to draw inspiration for other team environments, like the workplace. So, throughout the list below, we’ll be drawing some examples from the aforementioned teams as well a few others, to have a look at what drove them along the road to success.

1. Leadership

Michael Jordan is regarded by many as the greatest basketball player of all time. He was a leader in his own right, leading by example through hard work and consistency. But Phil Jackson, the coach of the Chicago Bulls throughout their 90’s success, had the job of ensuring team cohesion. His ability to create an environment that was conducive to teamwork was a major contributing factor to the Bulls’ success. Phil Jackson also happens to be a big believer in the power of teamwork… An important consideration for all leaders. Leadership skills involve conflict resolution, communication, managing personalities, and clearly outlining expectations. So much of a team’s success relies on the effectiveness of it’s leaders, and so it is a crucial part of team success. After all, “the head wags the tail”.

2. Culture

Establishing a successful team culture is a crucial effective teamwork trait that cannot be overlooked. In the early 00’s, the Sydney Swans began creating a ‘The Bloods’ culture that effectively saw them win the AFL premiership in 2005, breaking a 72-year drought. They used a player-driven model, that focused on the values that were most important to the playing group. They highlighted character traits that they found to be most important, and created guidelines and expectations that would drive their future success. One particularly interesting point about the culture they created was a sense of accountability. Former player Luke Ablett describes this principle, stating that “you were answerable to your team-mates first and foremost”. The Swans continue to be a formidable force in AFL today, with their success proof that team culture is indeed an effective teamwork trait.

3. Togetherness

Leicester City made international headlines in 2016, finishing on top of the EPL ladder. And if you do a Google search for ‘Leicester City togetherness’, you’ll see this as being one of the top reasons cited for their victory. Effective teamwork happens when team members care. When the needs of your teammate are greater than your own. When the team environment is more like a closely knit family. This also breeds a team-first mentality that is crucial to success. Every action should be performed with the intention of bettering the team’s interests, never one’s own. It sounds easy, but it’s also easily lost under emotional duress. Zinedine Zidane, a champion of the game, was unable to control his emotions at such a crucial moment in the 2006 World Cup Final. His personal grievances with his opponent were, in that moment, seemingly more important than winning the World Cup for his team.

4. Trust

Your teammates trust that you’re going to play your role effectively, so that they can concentrate on doing the same. The leader, or coach, or manager, trusts that you’re going to do as you’ve been asked. To follow their instruction however, they too must have your trust. In the early 00’s the Brisbane Lions won 3 consecutive AFL premierships, and are often regarded as being one of the greatest teams to have played the game. Of the coach Leigh Matthews, 3-time premiership player Marcus Ashcroft stated that “He puts a lot of faith in people to do a job and he makes you want to do it.” Matthews trusted his players, and his players trusted him. This on-field trust saw the Lions become one of the greatest teams in AFL history. Effective teamwork requires trust.

5. Work Ethic

A story of both leadership and work ethic takes us back to our first example – The Chicago Bulls. Michael Jordan was known for putting in hours of additional training away from compulsory team sessions and match-day. His rejection from his college team, and his reaction to that disappointment has often been a talking point to describe Jordan’s determination. But how did this determination, and supreme work ethic affect the team dynamic? Jordan led, the team followed. If arguably the best player of the current time is also working harder than the rest, how could any other player on the team accept less? Jordan inspired a work ethic amongst his teammates that grew into standard practice for the Chicago Bulls. Effective teamwork has always been a part of his recipe for success – “Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence win championships.” – Michael Jordan.

Final Note

Effective teamwork is not an easy thing to create, nor maintain. It takes a group of like minded individuals, all working together to achieve a common goal. Personalities need to be managed, leaders need to create an environment conducive to teamwork and success. Everybody needs to buy in to the mission of the team for it to work. With all of the variables at play, and the pressure to succeed, there must be a strong work ethic driving all of the aforementioned effective teamwork traits. It’s also important to remember that these traits are not exclusive to the sporting arena, and can be applied to the work and business environment as well. So, be sure to apply them to your next team setting! Good luck on the road to success.

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How To Achieve Your New Years Resolution

New Years Resolution The Short Advice

Whats Your New Years Resolution?

The new year brings hope, but simply hoping does not get things done. Without action, hopes and dreams would forever stay hopes and dreams. This new year, don’t just make empty promises to yourself. It’s too easy to let life get in the way, and repeat the cycle of previous years. So, what is the fantastic new years resolution that you’ve been working on and how will you achieve it? We’ve got a few tips below to help answer that question…

1. Be SMART-R

SMART goals are a major consideration of the planning process. They are specific in defining exactly what you want to achieve, and when you want to achieve it. They encourage you to consider the relevance that the goal has in your life, and to assess just how realistic it is for you to achieve. If your new years resolution meets each point of the ‘SMART’ acronym, being specific, measurable, achievable (attainable), relevant and time-based, you’re already giving yourself a leg up! The SMART process encourages you to plan for success, before you embark on the road to success.

2. Implement Systems

If your new years resolution is the ‘what’, then systems are the ‘how’. Author Scott Adams even argues that they can replace goals altogether. You’ve already defined and justified exactly what your new years resolution is, but what do you need to do in order to achieve it? What time will you wake up? How will you fuel your body and mind? What regular activities can you do to prepare you for the inevitable challenges that you will face? Systems are the regular daily/weekly tasks, rather than the smaller milestones or short-term goals. They’re the good habits that will steer you in the direction of success, and the achievement of your new years resolution.

3. Tell Your Friends

“But if I tell my friends then I will feel pressured to achieve my new years resolution!” Exactly. A degree of pressure can be a good motivator to keep you on track when your motivation is wavering. You might also find a few friends who are interested in achieving a similar goal. This is a great way to encourage accountability, and to share the milestones and frustrations that you’ll no doubt experience on your way to success. In addition, the challenge of achieving a goal together may even strengthen the friendship bond, and offer opportunities for you to be a good friend… Satisfying in itself!

4. Acknowledge Your Progress

Remember to stay positive. It’s easy to beat yourself up every time you make an error, or deviate from the plan. A gentle reminder to stay on track is fine of course, you do need to be disciplined. But celebrating your progress is equally as important. Give yourself a pat on the back from time to time when you’ve earned it, and recognise all of the hard work it has taken. Marvel at the changes in your life, and reflect on how you’re feeling as a result. Hopefully your new years resolution is turning into reality…

5. Have Fun

If you’re not interested in what you’re doing, then it’s going to be that much harder to realise your new years resolution. Maybe you don’t enjoy the process as much, but the feeling of joy you get after putting in the work is just reward – that’s cool too! Finding internal happiness is something that we all long for. It’s something that we have to work towards, but it’s not the gold at the end of the rainbow. It’s the entire rainbow too! That is to say (warning: cliché), the journey is just as important as the destination. 

Final Note

Your new years resolution doesn’t have to become a casualty of the festive season! You’ll probably come out of the gates pretty fast, on track to achieve your dreams, but without a plan you might not get very far. Set a goal, implement some systems that keep you focused and ready, find accountability in a friend. Don’t just do one thing to make it work, do many – as much as you can even! Give yourself every chance to stick to your new years resolution, and the hope of the new year will roll into the next one. Thanks for reading, and good luck with your new years resolution!