By Benjamin P. Hardy
The traditional 9–5 workday is poorly structured for high productivity. Perhaps when most work was physical labor, but not in the knowledge working world we now live in. Although this may be obvious based on people’s mediocre performance, addiction to stimulants, lack of engagement, and the fact that most people hate their jobs — now there’s loads of scientific evidence you can’t ignore.
The Myth of the 8 Hour Workday
The most productive countries in the world do not work 8 hours per day. Actually, the most productive countries have the shortest workdays.
People in countries like Luxembourg are working approximately 30 hours per week (approximately 6 hours per day, 5 days per week) and making more money on average than people working longer workweeks. This is the average person in those countries. But what about the super-productive? Although Gary Vaynerchuck claims to work 20 hours per day, many “highly successful” people I know work between 3–6 hours per day.
It also depends on what you’re really trying to accomplish in your life. Gary Vaynerchuck wants to own the New York Jets. He’s also fine, apparently, not spending much time with his family.
And that’s completely fine. He’s clear on his priorities.
However, you must also be clear on yours. If you’re like most people, you probably want to make a great income, doing work you love, that also provides lots of flexibility in your schedule.
If that’s your goal, this post is for you.
However, you must also be clear on yours. If you’re like most people, you probably want to make a great income, doing work you love, that also provides lots of flexibility in your schedule.
If that’s your goal, this post is for you.
Quality Vs. Quantity “Wherever you are, make sure you’re there.” — Dan Sullivan
If you’re like most people, your workday is a blend of low-velocity work mixed with continual distraction (e.g., social media and email).
Most people’s “working time” is not done at peak performance levels. When most people are working, they do so in a relaxed fashion. Makes sense, they have plenty of time to get it done.
However, when you are results-oriented, rather than “being busy,” you’re 100 percent on when you’re working and 100 percent off when you’re not. Why do anything half-way? If you’re going to work, you’re going to work.
To get the best results in your fitness, research has found that shorter but more intensive exercise is more effective than longer drawn-out exercise.
The concept is simple: Intensive activity followed by high-quality rest and recovery.
Most of the growth actually comes during the recovery process. However, the only way to truly recover is by actually pushing yourself to exhaustion during the workout. The same concept applies to work. The best work happens in short intensive spurts. By short, I’m talking 1–3 hours. But this must be “Deep Work,” with no distractions, just like an intensive workout is non-stop. Interestingly, your best work — which for most people is thinking — will actually happen while you’re away from your work, “recovering.”
For best results: Spend 20% of your energy on your work and 80% of your energy on recovery and self-improvement. When you’re getting high-quality recovery, you’re growing. When you’re continually honing your mental-model, the quality and impact of your work continually increase. This is what psychologists call, “Deliberate Practice.” It’s not about doing more, but better training. It’s about being strategic and results-focused, not busyness-focused.
In one study, only 16 percent of respondents reported getting creative insight while at work. Ideas generally came while the person was at home, in transportation, or during recreational activity. “The most creative ideas aren’t going to come while sitting in front of your monitor,” says Scott Birnbaum, a vice president of Samsung Semiconductor.
The reason for this is simple. When you’re working directly on a task, your mind is tightly focused on the problem at hand (i.e., direct reflection). Conversely, when you’re not working, your mind loosely wanders (i.e., indirect reflection).
While driving or doing some other form of recreation, the external stimuli in your environment (like the buildings or other landscapes around you) subconsciously prompt memories and other thoughts. Because your mind is wandering both contextually (on different subjects) and temporally between past, present, and future, your brain will make distant and distinct connections related to the problem you’re trying to solve (eureka!).
Creativity, after all, is making connections between different parts of the brain. Ideation and inspiration is a process you can perfect.
Case in point: when you’re working, be at work. When you’re not working, stop working. By taking your mind off work and actually recovering, you’ll get creative breakthroughs related to your work.
First Three Hours Will Make or Break You
According to psychologist Ron Friedman, the first three hours of your day are your most precious for maximized productivity.
“Typically, we have a window of about three hours where we’re really, really focused. We’re able to have some strong contributions in terms of planning, in terms of thinking, in terms of speaking well,” Friedman told Harvard Business Review.
This makes sense on several levels. Let’s start with sleep. Research confirms the brain, specifically the prefrontal cortex, is most active and readily creative immediately following sleep. Your subconscious mind has been loosely mind-wandering while you slept, making contextual and temporal connections.
So, immediately following sleep, your mind is most readily active to do thoughtful work.
So, your brain is most attuned first thing in the morning, and so are your energy levels. Consequently, the best time to do your best work is during the first three hours of your day.
I used to exercise first thing in the morning. Not anymore. I’ve found that exercising first thing in the morning actually sucks my energy, leaving me with less than I started.
Lately, I’ve been waking up at 6AM, driving to my school and walking to the library I work in. While walking from my car to the library, I drink a 250 calorie plant-based protein shake (approximately 30 grams of protein).
Donald Layman, professor emeritus of nutrition at the University of Illinois, recommends consuming at least 30 grams of protein for breakfast. Similarly, Tim Ferriss, in his book, The 4-Hour Body, also recommends 30 grams of protein 30 minutes after waking.
Protein-rich foods keep you full longer than other foods because they take longer to leave the stomach. Also, protein keeps blood-sugar levels steady, which prevent spikes in hunger.
I get to the library and all set-up by around 6:30 AM. I spend a few minutes in prayer and meditation, followed by a 5–10-minute session in my journal.
The purpose of this journal session is to get clarity and focus for my day. I write down my big picture goals and my objectives for that particular day. I then write down anything that comes to my mind. Often, it relates to people I need to contact or ideas related to a project I’m working on. I purposefully keep this journal session short and focused.
By 6:45, I’m set to work on whatever project I’m working on, whether that’s writing a book or an article, working on a research paper for my doctoral research, creating an online course, etc.
Starting work this early may seem crazy to you, but I’ve been shocked by how easy it is to work for 2–5 hours straight without distractions. My mind is laser at this time of day. And I don’t rely on any stimulants at all.
Between 11 AM-noon, my mind is ready for a break, so that’s when I do my workout. Research confirms that your workout is better with food in your system. Consequently, my workouts are now a lot more productive and powerful than they were when I was exercising immediately following sleep.
After the workout, which is a great mental break, you should be fine to work a few more hours, if needed.
If your 3–5 hours before your workout was focused, you could probably be done for the day.
Protect Your Mornings
I understand that this schedule will not work for everyone. There are single-parents with kids who simply can’t do something like this.
We all need to work within the constraints of our unique contexts. However, if you work best in the morning, you gotta find a way to make it happen. This may require waking up a few extra hours earlier than you’re used to and taking a nap during the afternoon.
Or, it may require you to simply focus hardcore the moment you get to work. A common strategy for this is known as the “90–90–1” rule, where you spend the first 90 minutes of your workday on your #1 priority. I’m certain this isn’t checking your email or social media.
Whatever your situation, protect your mornings!
I’m blown away by how many people schedule things like meetings in the mornings. Nothing could be worse for peak performance and creativity.
Schedule all of your meetings for the afternoon, after lunch.
Don’t check your social media or email until after your 3 hours of deep work. Your morning time should be spent on output, not input.
If you don’t protect your mornings, a million different things will take up your time. Other people will only respect you as much as you respect yourself.
Protecting your mornings means you are literally unreachable during certain hours. Only in case of serious emergency can you be summoned from your focus-cave.
What you do outside of work is just as significant for your work-productivity as what you do while you’re working.
A March 2016 study in the online issue of Neurology found that regular exercise can slow brain aging by as much as 10 years. Loads of other research has found that people who regularly exercise are more productive at work. Your brain is, after all, part of your body. If your body is healthier, it makes sense that your brain would operate better.
If you want to operate at your highest level, you need to take a holistic approach to life. You are a system. When you change a part of any system, you simultaneously change the whole. Improve one area of your life, all other areas improve in a virtuous cycle. This is the butterfly effect in action and the basis of the book, Start with Habit, which shows that by integrating one “keystone habit,” like exercise or reading, that the positivity of that one habits ripples into all other areas of your life, eventually transforming your whole life.
Consequently, the types of foods you eat, and when you eat them, determine your ability to focus at work. Your ability to sleep well (by the way, it’s easy to sleep well when you get up early and work hard) is also essential to peak performance. Rather than managing your time, then, you should really be focused on managing your energy. Your work schedule should be scheduled around when you work best, not around social norms and expectations A Very Simple Technique For Building Keystone Habits
You only need one keystone habit to start. If you create one, then you’ll have built the confidence to build several more. The reason is simple: how you do anything is often how you do everything. If you can lock in one keystone habit — particularly something that is fundamental and important like food or money or time — then you’ll have gained sufficient confidence and control in your life.
This is actually what most people don’t understand about willpower. They think willpower is about self-control when willpower is actually a matter of confidence. If you have low willpower, it’s because you have low confidence.
You create confidence by getting small wins, which ripple into bigger wins. The more confident you are, the less willpower you need to make good choices. So how do you build a keystone habit quick? One answer that psychologists have hit upon is called “implementation intentions” It’s extremely simple and easy to apply. Basically, you create a planned response every time you’re either triggered or tempted to do something you don’t want to do. For example, every time you get triggered to smoke a cigarette, you immediately call a friend. You can also have back-up plans if the friend doesn’t answer. But the principle is simple: have an immediate response to a trigger so you don’t unconsciously react. Your planned and immediate response takes willpower out of the equation because it takes the choice out of the equation. Willpower is all about choice, or in reality, the lack of having made a choice. Willpower is the byproduct of not knowing exactly what the outcome will be. For instance, when you get triggered to smoke or do any other negative behavior — if willpower is part of the equation, it is because you haven’t decided beforehand what you will do. You’re still undecided. Hence, 98% commitment is much harder than 100% commitment.
True decisions mean you have cut-off alternative options. The decision is the opposite of decision fatigue, and decision fatigue is the same thing as willpower. Thus, willpower is the absence of a decision, and leads to an emotional tug-of-war within yourself which generally ends in failure. Part of the genius of implementation intentions is simply their ability to distract you from your trigger for long enough for the trigger to subside. In the brief 10–60 second window where you’re going through your pre-planned and healthy response to a trigger, your re-reminded of the decision you made and the goals you’re pursuing. The trigger and desire go away as you engage in healthy behavior and re-ignite your confidence.
I applied an implementation intention while at Disney World the other day. Instead of caving into the junk food all around me, I did a bunch of push-ups. Every time I wanted to eat snacks, I just did 10 pushups. By the end of the day, I’d done over 100.
Habit formation is about replacement more than simply removal. You can’t just create a void in your life. You need to fill it with something more congruent. Therefore, in order to build a successful implementation intention or pre-planned response— you need to establish an “if-then” response to whatever you’re trying to accomplish. Pick the goal.
Whenever an obstacle appears, use your if-then response. Example:
Goal: Be as healthy as possible.
Obstacle: eating bad food.
If-then: if I’m tempted to eat unhealthy foods in an impulsive and non-planned manner, then I will immediately drink a big glass of water and do 20 jumping-jacks.
It doesn’t really matter what your pre-planned response is, so long as you consistently do it. By consistently following through, you’ll create small wins. Small wins build self-respect and confidence, thus lowering your need for willpower. Small wins and confidence solidify the decisions you’ve made, giving you increased inner-knowing that you absolutely will achieve your goal.
Another key reason that confidence lowers the need for willpower is that the more confident you get, the more you genuinely DESIRE better results. At the heart of willpower is not actually knowing what you want. Indeed, you may actually still desire eating bad food, for example. Thus, you’re at continually battling within yourself. This is a horrible yet common way to live.
Most people do not know what they truly want. They don’t know how to make decisions. They haven’t learned how to build genuine confidence. Most people’s lives are a constant back-and-forth of indecision and lack of clarity. Yet, decision and clarity go hand-in-hand are not actually hard to build. They are skills. You start with one simple one. And watch the ripples grow and success compound.
As you become more confident and mature as a person, your desires fundamentally change. You stop wanting stuff you used to want. You start wanting to succeed. You start loving yourself enough to win at life. You start seeing a much bigger picture for yourself. You realize increasingly more that you are the one painting the picture and actually have been the entire time.
Rather than being disappointed by your previous choices, you’re increasingly grateful for what your life is. You see increased vision and potential in everything around you.
Don’t Forget to Psychologically Detach and Play
Research in several fields has found that recovery from work is a necessity for staying energetic, engaged, and healthy when facing job demands. “Recovery” is the process of reducing or eliminating physical and psychological strain/stress caused by work.
One particular recovery strategy that is getting lots of attention in recent research is called “psychological detachment from work.” True psychological detachment occurs when you completely refrain from work-related activities and thoughts during non-work time.
Proper detachment/recovery from work is essential for physical and psychological health, in addition to engaged and productive work. Yet, few people do it. Most people are always “available” to their email and work. Millennials are the worst, often wearing the openness to work “whenever” as a badge of honor. It’s not a badge of honor.
Research has found that people who psychologically detach from work experience:
Not only that, but lots of science has found play to be extremely important for productivity and creativity. Just like your body needs a reset, which you can get through fasting, you also need to reset from work in order to do your best work. Thus, you need to step away from work and dive into other beautiful areas of your life. For me, that’s goofing off with my kids.
Stuart Brown, the founder of the National Institute for Play, has studied the “Play Histories” of over six thousand people and concludes playing can radically improve everything — from personal well-being to relationships to learning to an organization’s potential to innovate. As Greg McKeown explains, “Very successful people see play as essential for creativity.”
In his TED talk, Brown said, “Play leads to brain plasticity, adaptability, and creativity… Nothing fires up the brain like play.” There is a burgeoning body of literature highlighting the extensive cognitive and social benefits of play, including:
WordPress founder, Matt Mullenweg, listens to one single song on repeat to get into flow. So do authors Ryan Holiday and Tim Ferriss, and many others.
Give it a try.
You can use this website to listen to YouTube videos on repeat.
I generally listen to classical music or electronic music (like video game type music). Here are a few that have worked for me:
One Moment by Michael Nyman
Make Love by Daft Punk
Tearin’ it up by Gramatik
Terra’s theme from Final Fantasy 3
Duel of Fates from Star Wars
Stop crying your heart out by Oasis
Ready to Upgrade?
I’ve created a cheat sheet for putting yourself into a PEAK-STATE, immediately. You follow this daily, your life will change very quickly.
Get the cheat sheet here!
This article first appeared on Medium.
You only have 20 minutes so you don't have time to mess around! This workout gets right into it, and within the first few minutes, you'll feel your blood flowing and your breath heavy. Since you only need a pair of dumbbells, it's the perfect workout to do at home or the gym when you want to get in an intense workout that targets every part of your body and leaves you sore tomorrow.
This 20-minute CrossFit workout is an AMRAP, which means "as many rounds as possible." So set the timer for 20 minutes and don't stop until the time is up! Jade Jenny, head CrossFit coach and owner of Champlain Valley CrossFit, says AMRAP workouts are meant to push your pace, to be competitive with yourself, and to see how many rounds you can get. Complete this workout, write down how many rounds you get through in your fitness journal, and the next time you do it, see if you can get in more reps!
20-Minute Home CrossFit Workout
Equipment needed: Pair of medium-weight dumbbells (six to 20 pounds). Have two sets on hand so you can use the heavier pair for the exercises that are easier.
Directions: After a five-minute dynamic warmup, complete the below AMRAP workout until 20 minutes are up, with no rest in between exercises. Aim to get at least eight rounds. If you need more details on each exercise, see the instructions ahead.
After the workout, be sure to do a cooldown, such as these leg stretches or grab a foam roller for your legs and butt.
Lower into a crouching squat with your hands on the floor. Do a squat thrust by jumping your feet back into a plank position. Do one basic push-up, bending the elbows and then straightening back to a plank. Jump the feet forward to the hands, and come into a squat.
Do an explosive jump straight up, getting as much height as you can.
Do five burpees.
Jessie Van Amburg for Bergen Review
The Mediterranean diet garnered heaps of praise in 2019, thanks to its recent recognition as the healthiest eating plan in the world. The fact that it promotes longevity is backed by plenty of studies and it’s a relatively easy diet to follow. But a lesser-known eating plan may be coming for the Med diet’s crown. Meet the Okinawa diet.
The Mediterranean diet, of course, emphasizes healthy fats like omega-3s, protein from primarily seafood and plant sources, and lots of fruits and vegetables. The Okinawa diet, on the other hand, is plant-driven, with most nutrients (including carbs) coming from vegetables and legumes locally available on the island.
Okinawa is a Japanese island (and is the nation’s southernmost prefecture). The island is one of the original “Blue Zones,” or areas with populations known for their longevity. “The Okinawa diet gets a lot of attention because the people who live on the island have a higher than average life expectancy at 100 years old, compared to the US at 78.8 years and the rest of Japan at 84 years old,” says Nora Minno, RD. (Sounds an awful lot like the other aforementioned eating plan that might help you live longer.)
Want a more in-depth look at the Mediterranean diet? Here’s everything you need to know in one video:
Which begs the question: How do the Okinawa and Mediterranean diets, both inspired by Blue Zones populations, compare? The short version: John Day, MD, a cardiologist and co-author of the book The Longevity Plan, says both eating plans can be good for longterm health. “You really can’t say one is better than the other as they have never been compared in a head-to-head clinical study,” he notes. “However, if you look at the populations of people adhering to these ancestral diets you will see a long-lived population mostly free of the modern diseases that plague those following the ‘standard American diet.'”
I asked Dr. Day and Minno, as well as Brigitte Zeitlin, MPH, RD, the owner of BZ Nutrition in New York City, to break down the differences between the two healthy eating plans.
1. Their protein sources are a bit different
Don’t get it twisted: “It is not a vegetarian diet, just eats less [meat] than the Mediterranean diet,” says Zeitlin. In the Mediterranean diet, omega-3-rich protein sources like fish, shellfish, and other types of seafood reign supreme, followed by vegetables and legumes (with small, occasional amounts of red meat thrown in for good measure). The Okinawa diet, on the other hand, is extremely vegetable-forward, especially with protein. “Protein comes from small amounts of fish, occasional pork, and mostly from plant-based sources such as vegetables, legumes, and tubers,” says Dr. Day. Soy is also a big component of this eating plan, adds Zeitlin.
2. Both are pro-carbs, particularly the Okinawa diet
Sorry, keto—both the Mediterranean diet and the Okinawa diet allow for pretty decent amounts of healthy carbohydrates. “Carbs have a bad rap,” says Dr. Day. “Certainly, sugar and processed carbs are going to get you in trouble. And most people consuming large amounts of sugar and processed carbs ultimately gain excessive weight and may suffer from diabetes. However, the unprocessed carbs that come from vegetables, fruit, and legumes can optimize for health and longevity.”
Specifically, the Okinawa diet involves a 10:1 ratio of carbs to protein (let THAT sink in), which researchers have consistently found is nearly identical to the optimum ratio of carbs and protein for longevity in rats and other animals. The Mediterranean diet also endorses healthy carbs from whole foods (although not as intense as that 10:1 ratio), and encourages whole grains as well as fruits, vegetables, and other plant-based carbohydrates.
3. …except only one is big on grains
If you love rice and pasta…the Okinawa diet is not for you. “This diet is very low in refined carbohydrates like white rice, bread, pasta, sweets, and baked goods,” says Zeitlin. However, it packs in lots of complex carbohydrates (remember that whole 10:1 ratio?) in the form of potatoes, squash, soybeans, and lentils, she says. The Med diet does have those complex carbs, but still allows for some simple carbs like grains, breads, and pasta.
“If people are mostly grain-free already, the Okinawa diet could be a better option for them to try,” Zeitlin says. However, the limited grains could be a tough shift for others, she says. “You will have to cut back on your oatmeal, quinoa, brown rice, and whole wheat bread,” she says, to one to two times per week. Compare that to the Mediterranean diet, which she says promotes one to two servings of grains per day.
4. Vegetables are the stars of the show for both
Unlike, say, paleo or Keto, no vegetable or fruit is off-limits on either the Mediterranean diet or the Okinawa diet. And their inclusion is central to both plans’ longevity-promising benefits. “The vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants in these varying fruits and veggies is what will promote a longer (and healthier) life,” Zeitlin says.
Minno adds that the Okinawa diet focuses on veggies that are local and easily available to the population, like purple sweet potatoes, seaweed, Goya (bitter melon), and soy beans. “The diet is also known for being rich in yellow and orange vegetables with are common sources of carotenoids, nutrients that can help reduce inflammation, support eye health, and support a healthy immune system,” she says. But again, all veggies are on the table so to speak.
5. Neither plan requires calorie-counting or restriction
Yet another point in both diets’ favor. “The beautiful thing about the Okinawa diet is the Confucian practice of hara hachi bu—meaning you eat until you’re satisfied, not full,” says Minno. “This practice brings a sense of mindfulness to eating and allows people to connect with and enjoy their food rather than rushing through a meal or overeating.” She adds that it’s hard to overeat on a diet like the Okinawa diet, which is packed with vegetables and fiber (the latter of which is super filling). “Studies do show, however, that Okinawans tend to consume fewer overall calories, approximately 20 percent less than the rest of the Japanese population.”
Similarly, the Mediterranean diet does not emphasize tracking calories or macros. It’s widely considered by experts to be permissive, unlike other eating plans.
6. Benefits-wise, both plans are pretty comparable
Both the Mediterranean and Okinawa diets come from Blue Zone areas that promote longevity. “Because of their emphasis on that plant-based life, both diets are high in fiber and antioxidants that help to fight chronic illnesses life diabetes, inflammation, heart disease, and certain cancers, and promote healthy skin, hair, and nails,” says Zeitlin. However, Zeitlin adds that the Okinawa diet is lower in dairy, which may help promote clearer skin if you’re acne-prone.
At the end of the day, both of these diets are pretty damn good for anyone. “Any eating plan that excludes sugar, processed carbs, and fast or fried foods can optimize for health and longevity,” says Dr. Day. “Likewise, any eating plan that maximizes vegetable intake may also optimize for health and longevity.”
Zeitlin agrees. “The key take away from both lifestyles is that they want you eating fruits and veggies, and that is the foundation of any healthy lifestyle,” she says. So whether you’re more into the specifics of the Okinawa or the Mediterranean way, you’re still on the way to a potentially longer life (with lots of health benefits to boot).
Additional reporting by Emily Laurence.
Speaking of healthy eating plans, here’s why the keto diet was freaking everywhere last year. And if you want to try the Mediterranean diet for yourself, check out these cookbooks for inspira
Since you don't see them when you glance in the mirror, it's easy to forget about the back of your arms. But you need to work your triceps to tone that area. Running from your shoulder to your elbow, the main job of this muscle is to straighten your elbow, which is a really common motion, so you can actually work this area in many exercises. From controlling a dumbbell back to the starting position in a bicep curl to straightening your arms at the top of a push-up, focus on what the triceps are doing to squeeze the most out of your reps. Working this muscle doesn't mean you will lose fat on the back of your arms, but you will be building strength and muscle. For your toned triceps to pop, you need to lose weight all over, because you cannot spot-reduce fat by building muscle. We suggest a well-rounded workout plan with full-body strength training and cardio workouts. Here's a collection of 8 triceps exercises for you to rotate into your sweat sessions to start strengthening them; pick two to three of these exercises for each workout. It's a mix of body weight moves and dumbbell and band exercises, and one of our favorites even uses the cable pulley machine.
Any physical activity is better for your longevity than none, so just do something.
In order to get the benefit of exercise, you’re supposed to do it regularly. But what if you just don’t have time? “Well then, you should make time,” the fitness freaks will tell you, as they return from their five-mile 5 a.m. runs and throw a handful of chia seeds into their “delicious” kale smoothie.
They’re not wrong–though they are about leaving the house before breakfast–but they’re not as right as they think: Researchers in the U.K. and Australia have discovered that you can cram a whole week’s worth of exercise into one or two weekend sessions and still get significant health benefits.
The research, from Loughborough University and the University of Sydney, shows that even just being moderately active can cut your risk of an early death by one-third. The study looked at 64,000 people, using data from the Health Survey for England, and Scottish Health Survey, with data from 1994 to 2012. Researchers compared the levels of physical activity of the respondents–sports and exercise, but also things like gardening, heavy housework, and walking–with the likelihood of heart disease and other mortality risks. The results showed that the risk of all-cause mortality was 30% lower in adults who did at least some regular activity. This includes “weekend warriors,” the people who squeeze the WHO-recommended 150 minutes of moderate activity, or 75 minutes of vigorous activity, into one or two weekend sessions. In other words, a good long bike ride, or some kind of sport, at the weekend is enough to stop you from dying early. This is great news. Of course, exercising daily is the best way to get the maximum health benefits from your activity, as well as keeping your mind in tip-top condition. But a little is a lot better than nothing, says this study. Great is the enemy of good, the saying goes, and many people might skip all exercise on the grounds that if it’s not done properly, it’s not worth doing at all. And guess what? Staying in bed instead of rising before the sun comes up to go running on cold streets has its own health benefits. Next time your smug friend rags you about your lack of regular exercise, ask them how much sleep they get each night
BY CHAUNIE BRUSIE for Bergen Review
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but there are many little things that could be causing people to perceive you as less attractive. Girl meets boy, boy meets boy, girl meets girl, soul meets soul—it’s that simple, right? Well, not exactly. Dozens of factors affect attraction, and while we’d love to believe that we choose our romantic partners discerningly, research shows that certain superficial factors play a much bigger role than others.
If you’re finding yourself having trouble meeting people or you’re striking out over and over on your dates, you may be unintentionally sending out a vibe that’s actually making you appear less attractive. That’s the bad news; the good news is that by understanding how attraction works, you can improve your chances of impressing that special someone.
Here are a few of the surprising things that make you less attractive to others, according to the experts. Remember, take this advice with a grain of salt—these statistics don’t apply to absolutely everyone (that’s why they’re, uh, statistics), but they’re still fascinating.
1. Bad Grammar
Yup, that’s right. A bad grasp of the English language—or maybe whatever language you’re using to woo a potential mate—can be a turn-off to a romantic interest, especially if you’re active in the online dating arena.
One study found that the majority of men and women admitted that they reject online suitors solely because of bad grammar and misspellings in their dating profiles. Seventy-five percent of a whopping 9,000 online daters polled in the study also said that they would most definitely reject a suitor who failed to pass a fifth-grade spelling bee.
(For the record, my oldest is in fourth grade, and I’m willing to testify that some of those spelling words are harder than you would think…)
So what exactly is it about bad grammar that turns people off? Apparently, aside from the fact that it shows a lack of education, bad grammar and things like lazy spelling and a lack of punctuation (yes, for real, periods are a big deal) signify a lack of interest.
After all, if you’re not committed enough to close out the sentences in your dating profile or Tinder text with periods, are you really committed enough to have an adult relationship? You don’t have to write like Shakespeare, but if you’re trying to impress, brush up on basic grammar before you start swiping right.
2. Your Youthful Looks
While you may think that appearing youthful is an advantage in the dating world, it turns out that isn’t always the case.One study found that when individuals are born to parents who are over the age of 30, they are less likely to be attracted to people with “young faces” and tend to be more attracted to potential partners whose faces show signs of aging.
To put that another way, a distinguished look trumps youth (at least in this case). The preference for older faces may win out as the population becomes more saturated with people born to so-called older parents. For the first time ever, more women in their thirties are having babies than their 20-something counterparts are. You do the math.
3. The Shirt on Your Back
That’s right, folks. If you’re a man looking to attract a woman, you may want to consider donning a red shirt. This study shows that women perceive men in red as more powerful and attractive, and those are two important characteristics when choosing a mate. This apparently only applies to heterosexual couples, but it seems effective across cultures. As the studies’ authors write, “people … link red to love and passion, and red often appears as a symbol of eros, lust, and fertility in ancient mythology, folklore, and ritual.”In the experiment, researchers showed participants a photo of a “moderately attractive man” (we’re guessing Vince Vaughn) for a period of five seconds. The color of the man’s shirt was digitally manipulated; some participants saw the man in a red shirt, while others saw a white or blue shirt. The red-shirted man consistently scored higher than his other-shirted counterpart—but his shirt color was the only thing that changed.
Interestingly, the effect didn’t work when the genders were flipped; men slightly preferred the female models in white shirts over any of the other colors.
It seems everyone wants a natural look, but is that backed up by any sort of science? The video below explains the findings of two studies regarding the makeup looks men find attractive. Spoiler alert: Less is more.
5. Your Appetite
One study found that hungry men perceived women with higher body weights as being more attractive. Once those men had something to eat and no longer reported being hungry, they no longer reported finding those same women quite as attractive.
I’m not sure what lesson to take away from this fact, however, as I’m a big advocate for 1) looking however you want to look and 2) not being hungry. But go ahead and book that dinner date—if you don’t feel a spark after you’ve cleaned your plate, maybe it’s this effect at work.
6. Your Table Manners
Speaking of hunger, watch what you do when you’re scarfing down food in front of a potential romantic interest. Sujeiry Gonzalez, 39, founder of Love Sujeiry and on-air reVolver Podcasts host, recounts a story of being completely grossed out by the man she was on a date with. “I was instantly turned off by a man I briefly dated (and was secretly in love with) after a revealing lunch date,” she confesses. “And by revealing, I mean he exposed the food in his mouth. The man I thought was ‘the one’ chewed like a horse, mouth all open and teeth exposed. Eek!”
And we really, really, really shouldn’t have to say this, but phone etiquette is an important component of modern table manners. If you’re out to eat with someone, go ahead and put your phone away; if you keep glancing at the screen and typing messages, you’re sending the clear signal that you don’t find your date interesting. It’s important to look up every once in a while.
7. A Smidge of Stubble Versus a Boast-Worthy Beard
While both gay men and straight women prefer men whose faces appear more masculine, guys don’t have much control over whether they’re blessed with prominent brows and strong jawlines or not. What they do have control over: the type of facial hair they choose to sport.
Studies have shown that heterosexual women prefer men with one very specific type of facial hair. Unfortunately, it’s not the mountain-man megabeard—and it’s not the clean-shaven look, either. One study of Australian women found that they all considered men with heavy stubble more attractive than men without facial hair or those with heavy facial hair. There’s a silver lining: If you’ve got a full beard, you’re more likely to be seen as more masculine and as a good parent.
That’s not to say that you should rush to the bathroom and trim your powerful beard back to its patchy roots. The key, of course, is to maintain a nice, even amount of facial hair. If you prefer a full beard, go ahead and grow one; eventually, you’ll find someone who can appreciate the time and effort that goes into a truly massive beard.
8. Flashing a Smile (or Not)
In what winds up being a rather confusing study, men rated smiling women as more attractive, while women rated smiling men as less attractive. Women reported finding men more attractive when they displayed signs of “pride,” like a slight smile and a raised fist, instead of flashing their pearly whites. Regardless of these findings, keeping your teeth bright and white is never a bad idea.
9. Your Attitude
When it comes to dating, there is no such thing as “fake it ’til you make it,” says Gonzalez. “Whether you’re online dating or meet someone through a friend or at a bar, people can smell fakeness,” she explains.
Studies have shown that heterosexual women prefer men with one very specific type of facial hair. Unfortunately, it’s not the mountain-man megabeard—and it’s not the clean-shaven look, either.
One study of Australian women found that they all considered men with heavy stubblemore attractive than men without facial hair or those with heavy facial hair. There’s a silver lining: If you’ve got a full beard, you’re more likely to be seen as more masculine and as a good parent.
Studies have shown that heterosexual women prefer men with one very specific type of facial hair. Unfortunately, it’s not the mountain-man megabeard—and it’s not the clean-shaven look, either.
One study of Australian women found that they all considered men with heavy stubblemore attractive than men without facial hair or those with heavy facial hair. There’s a silver lining: If you’ve got a full beard, you’re more likely to be seen as more masculine and as a good parent.
“The more you try, the more you’ll pretend to be someone you’re not and the more people will see right through your bluff. And, of course, when I advise others to be confident, I don’t mean to be arrogant and aloof. You must be open to finding love. You must be open to attracting a mate. Be confident in your skin and honest about who you are while smiling a dazzling smile and remaining positive and hopeful [about] the possibilities.”
10. Too Much Personality
Although it may seem like dating means putting your best foot (or face?) forward and showing off your assets, don’t discount the importance of humility. “The most attractive thing to me is humility, so when a guy I went on a first date years ago bragged about his six-figure salary and BMW, I threw up a little in my mouth,” admits Gonzalez.
Rachel Needle, a licensed psychologist at the Center for Marital and Sexual Health of South Florida, also believes in the power of humility. “Confidence is a trait that is often attractive [but] so is being humble,” she explains. “Appear confident but humble.”
11. Your Undiscovered Hobby
While physical features and even things that we aren’t really aware of—like our bodies’ pheromones—have a direct impact on how attractive we are to people, true attraction to another human is much more complex than grooming habits or skeletal structure. In fact, one study found that the single most attractive trait about an individual is actually their creativity. Test subjects were more likely to rate people portrayed as having creative pursuits and passions as attractive. The study also showed that was more true for women seeking men, meaning women found men depicted as creative significantly more attractive, whereas men did not necessarily rate creative women as more attractive. Either way, creativity and a passion for something other than yourself—or even your mate—is definitely sexy.
“Oftentimes people are more attracted to those who are passionate about something,” Needle explains. “When people are excited and passionate about their interests, it can be attractive.”
Here’s what you need to know about yourself in order to share your true appeal with others.
Fortunately, there are ways that you can make yourself more attractive—and in some instances, they have nothing to do with your appearance. According to Gonzalez, two non-physical traits that instantly make someone more attractive are also two of the most surprising: humor and grammar (which we already touched on). That’s right, the ability to make your partner laugh will go a long way when the good looks fade. However, even humor is very individualized.
“Some studies have found that women are more attracted to those who make them laugh,” Needle says. “But remember that sense of humor is also based on an individual. So what one person finds funny, another may not.”
And when those inevitable fights happen down the line, your partner may be angry with you, but he or she might still find you irresistible if you use your semicolons properly or crack a perfectly timed joke. It’s the little things that count in a relationship, right?
Perhaps most importantly, you should put your best self forward and have confidence when seeking a partner or romantic match, no matter what the scientific studies may tell you. “Be confident, says Gonzalez. “Whatever your momma gave you, be proud of it and work on it. We can all get plastic surgery to have the ‘perfect’ face and body, but then we’d be clones and seek out what’s different. Just because a study discovered that a woman with long hair or a man with great abs is most attractive, it doesn’t mean that there isn’t someone who isn’t going to love your bob or dad bod.” “If you’re confident in who you are inside and out, and what you contribute to a relationship, plus know you’re worthy of all that is good and loving, suitors will flock to you like bees to honey.”
By Maurie Backman for Bergen Review
It's not the best situation to land in -- but it is fixable. There's a reason we're supposed to save independently for retirement: Most seniors need 70% to 80% of their previous income to live comfortably, and Social Security will only provide about half of that for average earners. Without savings, it's pretty tough to fill that gap. How much savings should you be aiming for? Retirement costs the average American $46,000 a year, but you might need more or less money depending on your expenses and the lifestyle you want to uphold. Social Security, meanwhile, only pays the average senior today about $17,500 a year, so if that's the sort of benefit you're looking at and you have no savings at present, you're facing quite the gap. Now if you're in your 20s, 30s, or even 40s, you have a decent window of time to start setting aside some cash for retirement. But if you're already in your 50s, that window is much narrower. Here's what to do if you're facing the latter scenario and want to salvage your golden years.
1. Don't panic
I'm not going to lie -- being in your 50s with no money set aside for the future isn't a great spot to be in, but it's also not totally dire. So rather than panic or resign yourself to an impoverished retirement, make immediate changes that free up cash in your budget. You might downsize your living space, go from a two-car family to a single vehicle, or cut back on luxuries like restaurant meals and non-work clothing. If you're able to free up $500 a month over the next 15 years to save, and your investments generate an average annual 7% return, you'll accumulate about $150,000.
Is that a huge amount of savings to enter retirement with? Honestly, no. But it's better than nothing, and it's a good starting point to aim for.
2. Get a side hustle
You can only cut back on so many living expenses before making yourself miserable. You might make a few meaningful changes that free up several hundred dollars a month, but if you're in your 50s with no savings to show for, you'll need to do better than that.
Enter the side hustle. The beauty of getting a second gig on top of your primary job is that the money you earn from it won't be earmarked for existing expenses, thereby giving you the option to save all of it. In fact, of the millions of Americans who have a side hustle, 14% do so for the express purpose of building retirement savings.
Imagine you're able to bring home $500 a month on top of the $500 you free up by cutting expenses. If you save $1,000 a month for 15 years at an average annual 7% return, you'll have just over $300,000 for retirement. Suddenly, things are looking a lot more promising, aren't they?
3. Make plans to work a bit longer
It's hard to push yourself to stay in the workforce when you've been banking on retiring at a certain age. But extending your career can work wonders for your retirement in several ways. First, if you're able to delay your Social Security benefits past your full retirement age (67 for anyone born in 1960 or later), you'll boost them by 8% a year up until age 70. And that's a good way to compensate for a low savings balance. Working longer will also afford you an added opportunity to contribute to your retirement plan. Let's imagine that you're saving $1,000 a month, only instead of doing so for 15 years, you do so for 20 years. Suddenly, you're looking at a nest egg of nearly $500,000, assuming the 7% return we've been looking at all along. Now that's a nice chunk of cash. Remember, Americans are living longer these days, with one in four 65-year-olds expected to live past 90. Extending your career, therefore, won't necessarily leave you without a retirement, but it will give you more money with which to enjoy your golden years once you kick them off. The last thing you want to do is retire short on cash and struggle as a senior. If you're in your 50s with no retirement savings, pledge to do better effective immediately. The longer you wait, the more you ultimately put your golden years at risk.
This article was first published at the The Motley Fool. Disclosure policy.
You’ve heard about plenty of privacy risks. Here’s what to do next.That little privacy people don’t give away, companies tend to take. Given this unfortunate reality, to get complete privacy you’d need to install a labyrinthine series of software tools that make the internet slow and unusable — think specialty Web browsers, encrypted email and chat; virtual private networks; and security-focused incognito operating systems. Or you’d need to stay off the internet altogether.But don’t lose hope. Although total privacy is all but unattainable, you can protect yourself in two ways: Lock down your devices and accounts so they don’t give away your data, and practice cautious behavior online. Getting started is easy. By making a few simple changes to your devices and accounts, you can maintain security against outside parties’ unwanted attempts to gain access to your data as well as protect your privacy from those you don’t consent to sharing your information with. You really can take back some control over who has access to your data. Here’s how, according to the experts at Wirecutter, a product recommendation site owned by The New York Times Company. Start with these tools, but keep in mind that behavior matters just as much.
Password manager: LastPass or 1Password
Browser extensions: uBlock Origin (Chrome, Firefox, Microsoft Edge, Safari), HTTPS Everywhere, Privacy Badger Antivirus: Windows Defender and Malwarebytes Premium
1. Secure your accounts
Why: In the past decade, data breaches and password leaks have struck companies such as Equifax, Facebook, Home Depot, Marriott, Target, Yahoo and countless others. If you have online accounts, hackers are likely to have leaked data from at least one of them. Want to know which of your accounts have been compromised? Search for your email address on Have I Been Pwned? to cross-reference your email address with hundreds of data breaches.
How: Everyone should use a password manager to generate and remember different, complex passwords for every account. This is the most important thing people can do to protect their privacy and security today. Wirecutter’s favorite password managers are LastPass and 1Password. Both can generate passwords, monitor accounts for security breaches, suggest changing weak passwords, and sync your passwords between your computer and phone. Password managers seem intimidating to set up, but once you’ve installed one you just need to browse the internet as usual. As you log in to accounts, the password manager saves your passwords and suggests changing weak or duplicate passwords. Over the course of a couple of weeks, you end up with new passwords for most of your accounts. Take this time to also change the default passwords for any devices in your house — if your home router, smart light bulbs or security cameras are still using “password” or “1234” as the password, change them. Everyone should also use two-step authentication whenever possible for their online accounts. Most banks and major social networks provide this option. As the name suggests, two-step authentication requires two steps: entering your password and entering a number only you have access to. For example, step one is logging in to Facebook with your user name and password. In step two, Facebook sends a temporary code to you in a text message or, even better, through an app like Google Authenticator, and you enter that code to log in.
[Technology has made our lives easier. But it also means that your data is no longer your own. We’ll examine who is hoarding your information — and give you a guide for what you can do about it. Sign up for our limited-run newsletter.]
2. Update your software and devices
Why: Phone and computer operating systems, Web browsers, popular apps and even smart-home devices receive frequent updates with new features and security improvements. These security updates are typically far better than antivirus software at thwarting hackers.
How: All three major operating systems can update automatically, but you should take a moment to double-check that you have automatic updates enabled for your OS of choice: Windows, macOS, or Chrome OS. Although it’s frustrating to turn your computer on and have to wait out an update that might break the software you use, the security benefits are worth the trouble. These updates include new versions of Microsoft’s Edge browser and Apple’s Safari. Most third-party Web browsers, including Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox, also update automatically. If you tend to leave your browser open all the time, remember to reboot it now and again to get those updates. Your phone also has automatic-update options. On Apple’s iPhone, enable automatic updates under Settings > General > Software Update. On Google’s Android operating system, security updates should happen automatically, but you can double-check by opening up Settings > System > Advanced > System Update. For third-party software and apps, you may need to find and enable a check for updates option in the software’s settings. Smart-home devices such as cameras, thermostats and light bulbs can receive updates to the app as well as to the hardware itself. Check the settings using the device’s app to make sure these updates happen automatically; if you don’t find an automatic-update option, you may have to manually reboot the device on occasion (a monthly calendar reminder might help).
3. Protect your web browsing
Why: Companies and websites track everything you do online. Every ad, social network button and website collects information about your location, browsing habits and more. The data collected reveals more about you than you might expect. You might think yourself clever for never tweeting your medical problems or sharing all your religious beliefs on Facebook, for instance, but chances are good that the websites you visit regularly provide all the data advertisers need to pinpoint the type of person you are. This is part of how targeted ads remain one of the internet’s most unsettling innovations.
How: A browser extension like uBlock Origin blocks ads and the data they collect. The uBlock Origin extension also prevents malware from running in your browser and gives you an easy way to turn the ad blocking off when you want to support sites you know are secure. Combine uBlock with Privacy Badger, which blocks trackers, and ads won’t follow you around as much. To slow down stalker ads even more, disable interest-based ads from Apple, Facebook, Google and Twitter. A lot of websites offer means to opt out of data collection, but you need to do so manually. Simple Opt Out has direct links to opt-out instructions for major sites like Netflix, Reddit and more. Doing this won’t eliminate the problem completely, but it will significantly cut down on the amount of data collected. You should also install the HTTPS Everywhere extension. HTTPS Everywhere automatically directs you to the secure version of a site when the site supports that, making it difficult for an attacker — especially if you’re on public Wi-Fi at a coffee shop, airport or hotel — to digitally eavesdrop on what you’re doing. Some people may want to use a virtual private network (VPN), but it’s not necessary for everyone. If you frequently connect to public Wi-Fi, a VPN is useful because it adds a layer of security to your browsing when HTTPS isn’t available. It can also provide some privacy from your internet service provider and help minimize tracking based on your IP address. But all your internet activity still flows through the VPN provider’s servers, so in using a VPN you’re choosing to trust that company over your ISP not to store or sell your data. Make sure you understand the pros and cons first, but if you want a VPN, Wirecutter recommends IVPN.
4. Don’t install sketchy software
Why: Every weird app you install on your phone and every browser extension or piece of software you download from a sketchy website represents another potential privacy and security hole. Countless mobile apps track your location everywhere you goand harvest your data without asking consent, even in children’s apps.
How: Stop downloading garbage software, and stick to downloading programs and browser extensions directly from their makers and from official app stores. You don’t need half the apps on your phone, and getting rid of what you don’t need can make your phone feel faster. Once you clear out the apps you don’t use, audit the privacy permissions of what’s left. If you have an iPhone, open Settings and tap the Privacy option. On Android, head to Settings > Apps, and then tap the gear icon and select App Permissions. Here, you can see which apps have access to your location, contacts, microphone, and other data. Disable permissions where they don’t make sense — for example, Google Maps needs your location to function, but your notes app doesn’t. In the future, think about app permissions as you install new software; if an app is free, it’s possibly collecting and selling your data. The same rules go for your computer. If you’re not sure what to delete from your Windows computer, Should I Remove It? can help you choose. (Yes, it’s more software, but you should delete it after you’re done using it.) Mac users don’t have an equivalent, but all software resides in the Applications folder, so it’s easy to sift through. If you find an app you don’t remember installing, search for it on Google, and then drag it to the trash to delete it if you don’t need it.
5. Use antivirus software on your computer
Why: Viruses might not seem as common as they were a decade ago, but they still exist. Malicious software on your computer can wreak all kinds of havoc, from annoying pop-ups to covert bitcoin mining to scanning for personal information. If you’re at risk for clicking perilous links, or if you share a computer with multiple people in a household, it’s worthwhile to set up antivirus software, especially on Windows computers.
How: If your computer runs Windows 10, you should use Microsoft’s built-in software, Windows Defender. Windows Defender offers plenty of security for most people, and it’s the main antivirus option that Wirecutter recommends; we reached that conclusion after speaking with several experts. If you run an older version of Windows (even though we recommend updating to Windows 10) or you use a shared computer, a second layer of protection might be necessary. For this purpose, Malwarebytes Premium is your best bet. Malwarebytes is nonintrusive, it works well with Windows Defender, and it doesn’t push out dozens of annoying notifications like most antivirus utilities tend to do. Mac users are typically O.K. with the protections included in macOS, especially if you download software only from Apple’s App Store and stick to well-known browser extensions. If you do want a second layer of security, Malwarebytes Premium is also available for Mac. You should avoid antivirus applications on your phone altogether and stick to downloading trusted apps from official stores.
6. Lock down your phone in case you lose it
Why: You need to ensure that nobody can get into your phone if you lose it or someone steals it. Smartphones are encrypted by default, which is great, but you still need to take a few steps to ensure that your phone is properly locked down if it disappears.
How: You have two main defenses here. The first is to use a strong passcode alongside your biometric (fingerprint or face) login. The second is to set up your phone’s remote-tracking feature. If you haven’t taken the first step, set up a PIN or pattern, and enable the biometric login on your phone. You can find these options on an iPhone under Settings > Face ID & Passcode or Touch ID & Passcode, and on an Android phone under Settings > Security and location.
Next, set up your phone’s remote-tracking feature. If you lose your phone, you’ll be able to see where it is, and you can remotely delete everything on the phone if you can’t recover it. On an iPhone, head to Settings, tap your name, and then go to iCloud > Find My iPhone. On an Android phone, tap Settings > Security & location and enable Find My Device.
7. Enable encryption on your laptop (it’s easier than it sounds)
Why: If you lose your laptop or someone steals it, the thief gets both a sweet new piece of hardware and access to your data. Even without your password, thieves can usually still copy files off the laptop if they know what they’re doing. If a stranger poked around your laptop, he might get a look at all your photos, say, or your tax returns, or maybe an unfinished bit of “Game of Thrones”fanfiction.
How: When you encrypt the storage drive on your laptop, your password and a security key protect your data; without your password or the key, the data becomes nonsense. Although encryption might sound like something from a high-tech spy movie, it’s simple and free to enable with built-in software. Follow these directions on how to set up encryption on both Windows and Mac.
Speaking of computer theft, if you store a lot of data on your computer, it’s worth the effort to back it up securely. For this purpose, Wirecutter likes the online backup service Backblaze, which encrypts all its data in a way that even the folks at Backblaze don’t have access to it. Ultimately, security and privacy are linked, so you need to get in the habit of protecting both. It might seem like a time-consuming, overwhelming headache, but once you follow these steps, all that’s left is to cultivate your judgment and establish good online behaviors. Be suspicious of links in emails and on social media. Make your accounts private, and don’t share anything you don’t want madepublic. Keep your main email address and phone number relatively private. Use a burner email account you don’t care about for shopping and other online activities; that way, if an account is hacked, it’s not linked to an important personal account, like that of your bank. Likewise, avoid using your real name and number when you have to sign up for a service you don’t care about, such as discount cards at a grocery store (your area code plus Jenny’s number — 867-5309 -- usually gets you whatever club-card discount a retailer offers). Don’t link together services, like Facebook and Spotify, or Twitter and Instagram, unless you gain a really useful feature by doing so. Don’t buy “internet of things” devices (like smart watches or speakers) unless you’re willing to give up a little privacy for whatever convenience they provide. Once you settle into a low-key, distrustful paranoia about new apps and services, you’ll be well on your way to avoiding many privacy-invading practices.
A version of this article appears at Wirecutter.com. Mr. Klosowski is a staff writer at Wirecutter, a product recommendation site owned by The New York Times Company.
Follow @privacyproject on Twitter and The New York Times Opinion Section on Facebook and Instagram.
One tip to help make you happy: Think about your goals. It changes how you see the world and releases happy chemicals in your noggin.So what’s going to make you happy? Let’s get more specific: what’s going to make your brain happy? And let’s focus on things that are simple and easy to do instead of stuff like winning the lottery.
Neuroscience has answers. I’ve discussed this subject before and it was so popular I decided to call an expert to get even more dead simple ways to start your brain feeling joy. So let’s get to it. Alex has some great suggestions for simple things you can do to feel happier every day …
1) Listen To Music From The Happiest Time In Your Life
Music affects the brain in an interesting way: it can remind you of places you have listened to it before.Were you happiest in college? Play the music you loved then and it can transport you to that happier place and boost your mood. Here’s Alex: One of the strong effects of music comes from its ability to remind us of previous environments in which we were listening to that music. That’s really mediated by this one limbic structure called the hippocampus which is really important in a thing called “context dependent memory.” Let’s say college was the happiest time of your life. If you start listening to the music that you were listening to at that time, it can help you feel more connected to that happier time in your life and makes it more present. I hope you weren’t happiest in elementary school because it’s going to be weird if you’re playing the Barney song or the Sesame Street theme around the house. (To learn more about what the music you love says about you, click here.)
Now you can’t listen to music everywhere you go. What does neuroscience say you should do when you have to take those earbuds out?
2) Smile — And Wear Sunglasses
The brain isn’t always very smart. Sometimes your mind is getting all this random info and it isn’t sure how to feel. So it looks around for clues. This is called “biofeedback.” Here’s Alex:
Biofeedback is just the idea that your brain is always sensing what is happening in your body and it reviews that information to decide how it should feel about the world. You feel happy and that makes you smile. But it works both ways: when you smile, your brain can detect this and say, “I’m smiling. That must mean I’m happy.” So happiness makes you smile, but smiling can also produce happiness. Feeling down? Smile anyway. “Fake it until you make it” can work. Here’s Alex:
That’s part of the “fake it until you make it” strategy because when your brain senses, “Oh, I’m frowning,” then it assumes, “Oh, I must not be feeling positive emotions.” Whereas when it notices you flexing those muscles on the side of the mouth it thinks, “I must be smiling. Oh, we must be happy.” When you start to change the emotions that you’re showing on your face, that changes how your brain interprets a lot of ambiguous stimuli. Since most stimuli that we experience is ambiguous, if you start to push the probability in the positive direction then that’s going to have a really beneficial effect. In fact, research shows smiling gives the brain as much pleasure as 2000 bars of chocolate, or $25,000. And so what’s this about sunglasses? Bright light makes you squint. Squinting looks a lot like being worried. So guess what biofeedback that produces? Yup. Your brain can misinterpret that as being unhappy. Sunglasses kill the squint and can help tell your brain, “Hey, everything is okay.” Here’s Alex: When you’re looking at bright lights you have this natural reaction to squint. But that often has the unintended effect of you flexing this particular muscle, the “corrugator supercilii.” Putting on sunglasses means you don’t have to squint and therefore you’re not contracting this muscle and it stops making your brain think, “Oh my God, I must be worried about something.” It’s really just a simple little interruption of that feedback loop. So smile. And wear those sunglasses. They can make you look cool and make you happier. (For more on how to be happier and more successful, click here.) So you have your music playing, you’re smiling and wearing your sunglasses. But you can still be stressed about things. What should you think about to kill your worries and keep yourself happy?
3) Thinking About Goals Changes How You See The World
And I mean, literally. Researchers flashed a bunch of circles on a screen in front of study subjects. One of the circles was always slightly different than the others. It was brighter or smaller, etc.
But when they told people to prepare to point at or try to grab the circles something crazy happened…If they thought about pointing at the circles, they became better at noticing the brighter circle. If they were told to think about grabbing a circle, it was easier for them to identify the smaller circle. What’s that mean? Having a goal literally changed how they saw the world.
So when you’re feeling stressed or challenged, think about your long-term goals. It gives your brain a sense of control and can release dopamine which will make you feel better and more motivated. Here’s Alex: The goals and intentions that you set in your prefrontal cortex change the way that your brain perceives the world. Sometimes when we feel like everything is going wrong and we’re not making any progress and everything is awful, you don’t need to change the world, you can just change the way you are perceiving the world and that is going to be enough to make a positive difference. By thinking, “Okay, what is my long-term goal? What am I trying to accomplish?” Calling that to mind can actually make it feel rewarding to be doing homework instead of going to the party because then your brain is like, “Oh yeah. I’m working towards that goal. I’m accomplishing something that’s meaningful to me.” Then that can start to release dopamine in the nucleus accumbens and that can start to make you feel better about what you’re doing. (To see the schedule the most successful people follow every day, click here.) Sometimes you can try all these little tricks and it doesn’t feel like it’s making a bit of difference. That’s often because you’re missing something that’s really key to good brain function …
4) Get Good Sleep
We all know depression messes up how people sleep. But what’s interesting is it’s actually a two way street: bad sleep also causes depression. Here’s Alex: They took all these people with insomnia and followed them for a few years and it turned out that the people with chronic insomnia were much more likely to develop depression. Depression causes sleep problems but sleep problems are also more likely to lead to depression. So how do you improve your sleep? Alex has a number of suggestions: Get bright sunlight in the middle of the day. At night, try and stay in a dimly lit environment. Having a comfortable place to sleep and having a bedtime ritual so that your brain can prepare to go to sleep are also good. Trying to go to sleep at the same time every night and keeping a gratitude journal can also improve your sleep. (To learn everything you need to know about having the best night’s sleep ever, click here.) All this little stuff to feel better is good. But if you’re not getting stuff done at work it’s going to be hard to stay happy. What’s neuroscience say about building good habits and conquering procrastination so you can stay smiling?
5) How Neuroscience Beats Procrastination
Your brain isn’t one big ol’ lump of grey goo that’s perfectly organized. Far from it. Think of it a little more like a bunch of your relatives arguing at the dinner table during a holiday get together.
When it comes to the choices you make and the things you do, Alex says there are 3 regions you need to be concerned with. You don’t need to memorize the names. It’s just important to realize they all get a vote:
I have a friend who always says, “Stress takes the prefrontal cortex offline.” Stress changes the dynamics of that conversation. It weakens the prefrontal cortex. That part of your brain doesn’t have infinite resources. It can’t be eternally vigilant and so while it’s not paying attention, your striatum is like, “Let’s go eat a cookie. Let’s go drink a beer.” Anything that you can do to reduce stress can help strengthen the prefrontal cortex’s control over your habits. So if you want to build good habits and stop procrastinating, the first thing to do is reduce stress. (The best ways to do that are here.) Procrastination is often a vicious circle because you delay, then you have less time to complete the project, so you get more stressed, procrastinate more, have even less time, which makes you even more stressed and … well, you get the idea. So what’s the answer? After a little something to reduce stress, find one small thing you can do to get started. This focuses you and prevents the overwhelm that knocks the prefrontal cortex out of the conversation. Here’s Alex:
When the prefrontal cortex is taken offline by stress we end up doing things that are immediately pleasurable. Instead of getting overwhelmed, ask yourself, “What’s one little thing that I could do now that would move me toward this goal I’m trying to accomplish?” Taking one small step toward it can make it start to feel more manageable. (To learn 5 weird but effective ways to conquer chronic procrastination, click here.) Time to round up everything we learned. Alex gave us six great …
Wait. Did I only say “5” in the headline? Okay, you’re getting a bonus. Keep reading for Alex’s #1 easy thing to do to cause an upward spiral of happiness in your life …
Here’s what you can learn from Alex about how neuroscience can bring happiness:
Go for a walk outside every morning, preferably with a friend.
Yup, that’s it. How can something so incredibly simple be so powerful? Here’s Alex:
I think the simplest way to kick start an upward spiral is to go for a walk outside every morning, and if possible, do it with a friend. The walk engages the exercise system and when you’re walking outside the sunlight you’re exposed to has benefits on the sleep systems and can impact the serotonin system. If you do it every day, then it starts getting ingrained in the dorsal striatum and becomes a good habit. If you can do it with a friend, that’s even better because you get the social connection.
Right now: share this post with a friend and ask them to join you for a walk tomorrow morning. That’s it. (And wear your sunglasses.) Go outside. Put one foot in front of the other. Smile with a friend. And you’re on your way to neuroscientific happiness. Looks like it really is the simple things in life that bring us joy.
If the next person you meet says or does any of these things, they might be passive-aggressive.
If Jim Rohn is right and you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with, then you definitely don't want hostile people in your inner circle. And you also don't want to hire or work with with passive-aggressive people. At least openly aggressive people are fairly direct in actions and words; while you might not like what they say or do, at least you know how they really feel--and what they are likely to actually do. A passive-aggressive person, on the other hand, "may appear to comply or act appropriately, but actually behaves negatively and passively resists."
Maybe what passive-aggressive people do is relatively benign, like agreeing to and then canceling a meeting they had no intention of attending. Or maybe their behavior is more extreme and can negatively impact your success or happiness. You definitely don't need those people in your life.
So how can you tell, as quickly as possible, if someone is passive-aggressive? Be alert for conversational and behavioral indications like these:
1. They ask questions that make you feel defensive.
You tell someone you're following a keto diet plan. Instead of asking, "What does that involve?" or saying, "I've heard about keto diets, but don't know much about them," or even just, "How is that going for you?" a passive-aggressive person might say, "Why did you ever decide to do that?"
At face value, the question is valid: Why did you decide to follow a keto diet plan? But the undertone--and tone of voice--is accusatory and immediately makes you feel defensive.
Which is a problem. You shouldn't feel defensive about the choices you make. If someone has a different opinion--one that even, after a respectful conversation, convinces you to change your mind--that's great. (In fact, Jeff Bezos says that's the hallmark of smart people.)
A different opinion shouldn't make you feel defensive.
And other people should never make you feel defensive.
2. They give back-handed compliments.
Your startup has turned the corner. Significant sweat, tears, and sleepless nights later, it's profitable.
What will a passive-aggressive person say?
"I can't believe you actually made that work." Or, "If you can convince people to buy (whatever you sell), you must be amazing at selling." Or, "Wow. I had no idea you were good with people."
A genuine compliment leaves you feeling good about yourself. A back-handed compliment leaves you thinking, "Wait...what?"
Life's too short to think, "Wait...what?"
3. They try to make you feel sorry for them.
An entrepreneur's startup gets funded. Most people will say, "That's awesome! She's worked really hard to build her business."
Passive-aggressive people will say, "We should be able to attract venture capital, too...but no one ever gets how big our market could be."
Most people are happy when others succeed. Great leaders, for example, find happiness in the success of others. Passive-aggressive people want you to feel sorry for them. They want you to feel guilty if you succeed. And they definitely try to imply that you--and other people--don't deserve the success you worked so hard to earn.
4. They ignore what you say. (Or that you exist.)
You ask a question. You make a comment. You share an opinion. There's a pregnant pause.
Then the other person talks about something else. Or says nothing at all. Or they simply ignore the fact you exist--because they're mad at you, or upset at you, or don't like something you just said or did. Not responding is classic passive-aggressive behavior. And so is pretending that someone doesn't exist: whether by ignoring their presence, leaving them off email chains, "forgetting" to ask for their input, etc. Most people let you know where you--and your professional or personal relationship--stand. Passive-aggressive people make you figure out where you stand. And where you're standing never turns out to be somewhere good.
5. They gossip.
It's hard to resist inside information and gossip. Finding out the reasons behind someone's decisions, the motivations behind someone's actions, the inside scoop about someone's hidden agenda...that stuff is hard to resist. The problem is, the person who gives you the inside scoop on other people is also giving other people the inside scoop on you. Passive-aggressive people love sharing the dirt; they feel better about themselves by making other people look bad.
The people you want around you feel good about making other people look good.
They don't take. They give.Just like you.
The real challenge isn't the work; it's learning to love your own company. For jobs that don't absolutely require face-to-face interaction, working from home is far more productive than traditional office environment and also tend to make employees happier and less stressed. The reasons: no commute time, more privacy, fewer interruptions, and control over your schedule. I know a little bit about working from home because, aside from the odd business trip or conference, I've exclusively worked from home since 1996. It's literally been decades since I've even considered taking a regular job, so I suppose you could say that I've successfully made the transition. I've also watched numerous colleagues and friends attempt full-time work-from-home, with mixed results. When they try to crossover to the lifestyle, they often discover that working from home is challenging in ways they don't expect.
Those challenges include staying focused without outside supervision, innumerable temptations to goof off (videogames, Netflix, etc.), and the nearness of a fully stocked kitchen. A former boss of mine went full-time work-from-home and gained 50 pounds in a single year.
By far the biggest challenge of working from home, though, is the lack of social contact. Let's face it: it's fun to bat stuff around and generally hang out with people who share a common interest, in this case the work you're collectively doing. Indeed, employees hate the open plan office because it suppresses conversations and reduces collaboration.
Lack of social contact can turn pretty quickly into loneliness. One guy I worked with in corporate marketing was basically a professional meeting-goer. When he tried to go freelance, he didn't know what to do with himself. He got so blue that he accepted an office job for which he was overqualified just to be around people again. So, if you're going to succeed and get the full benefit of working from home full-time, you'll need to overcome the tendency toward loneliness and learn to enjoy your own company. Here's how:
Stephanie Denning for Bergen Review
Every additional year I spend in the workforce, I realize promotions become increasingly mystifying. The guy you never thought would advance suddenly gets a raise. Your colleague who definitely didn’t deserve it gets promoted. Your peer, who is no smarter nor harder working, gets promoted more quickly. But you also get promoted faster than you expected maybe as many times as you’re disappointed. You are recognized for work you thought everyone was doing. And you get a raise when you least expect it.
After 10 years of watching these promotion cycles, I’ve decided they only get more and more complex.
Promotions at work, by and large, still mimic “promotions” at school. At school, you do well in an intro-level class, and you then advance to the next. That process, however ill-suited, is the same one in place for promotions at work. Do well in your existing job and you will excel. But the skill set to excel in your current job doesn’t necessarily match the skill set required for the job you’re stepping into.
You don’t have to look far to find examples. It’s common to see great software developers who get promoted and then poorly manage, great writers who get promoted to editors and then poorly edit, business analysts who get promoted and then poorly manage or sell the work. In short, the promotion problem is everywhere. So common, in fact, that there’s an entire management theory around it:
The Peter Principle.
The Peter Principle is defined as the phenomenon in most organizations where employees continue to get promoted until they hit a skill set-ceiling and eventually fail. In the book that bears the same name, The Peter Principle, by Laurence Peter and Raymond Hull, the authors describe it more succinctly. "In a hierarchy, every employee tends to rise to his level of incompetence." Visually, it looks a little like this.
At the start of your career or a new job, you might get promoted, but eventually, you get to a point where you no longer possess the skills needed for the job. This is where you fail. The Peter Principle posits that this is almost a universal concept, that everyone at some point will experience this. And I believe that to be true.
But if this is truly a universal problem, it would be fair to ask: Are we all fated to fall into the Peter Principle, or is there a way out?
I’ve been informally studying the trajectory of career success for the last 10 years, and to answer this question, I’ll leave you with three frameworks to consider.
Focus On Productivity (Not Income) Growth
When many people enter the workforce, they are concerned (understandably) with how much money they make. But it’s the amount of money you make relative to the value you generate as an employee that matters. In equilibrium, you’re paid what you think you are worth. If you ever let your income rise faster than productivity, the Peter Principle traps you. In "How The Economic Machine Works," investor Ray Dalio offers a similar conclusion: "Don’t have income rise faster than productivity because you’ll eventually become uncompetitive."
If your income rises faster than your productivity, you price yourself out of the market. At first, you’ll likely experience a career burst as you start making more money than your peers, but that will quickly turn into a career bust if you fail to adjust your productivity growth. Your wage will recalibrate back down to match your productivity until you reach a point of equilibrium.
Do all that you can to raise productivity because in the long run, that’s what matters most," says Dalio.
Don’t Conflate Job Title With Skill Set
As people advance in a corporation and get subsumed by the politics of that particular organization, it is easy to lose sight of the skill set you’re developing, and perhaps more importantly, to lose sight of how that skill set is valued in the marketplace. Too many people conflate job title and pay for skill set. If you aren’t proactively developing a unique set of skills, you could easily again fall trap to the Peter Principle.
Let’s say you make a pretty good salary. If your skill set isn’t difficult or costly to acquire, new entrants in the market will quickly acquire that skill set and offer to do the same job for marginally less pay. Firms will then substitute cheaper and equally effective labor. That triggers the substitution effect.
If your skill set isn’t scarce, you face either taking a salary hit or getting pushed out. Develop a skill set in high demand, but short supply.
Apply Neil Gaiman’s “Secret Framework”
As most people in the workforce eventually learn, promotions are not based on your work alone. In writer Neil Gaiman’s keynote address at University of the Arts, he gifted the audience his secret framework for getting freelance work. But the real secret, I believe, is that this framework applies to all jobs. "I will pass on some secret freelancer knowledge. Secret knowledge is always good. And it is useful for anyone who ever plans to create art for other people, to enter a freelance world of any kind. I learned it in comics, but it applies to other fields too. And it's this: "People get hired because, somehow, they get hired. . . . People keep working because their work is good, because they are easy to get along with, and because they deliver the work on time. "And you don't even need all three. Two out of three is fine. People will tolerate how unpleasant you are if your work is good and you deliver it on time. They'll forgive the lateness of the work if it's good, and if they like you. And you don't have to be as good as the others if you're on time and it's always a pleasure to hear from you."
To summarize Gaiman’s framework, here is a visual for you.
Developing unique skills is only one part of the puzzle. Find the two overlapping areas in which you most excel and mine it. If you happen to rate yourself as above average in all three, you’re probably overestimating your capabilities. However, if you happen to find yourself in a job where you feel way out of your depth, but you're willing to put in the effort learn, you can always hold on tight to these other two areas while you slowly learn the skills required to say sayonara to the Peter Principle.
Anyone who knows me knows that I religiously leverage my calendar to make sure I prioritize and shift tasks in order to get everything done as efficiently as possible. My approach is based on my core values (personal & professional) and prioritizing what is important versus unimportant. I definitely value my time and protect it. I take full accountability for how I spend it. That’s why I am a big believer in waking up early, working with purpose, working smart and getting things done – you know, the invisible work that Jeff Bezos famously refers to.
However, over the last 12-18 months, I have really started to question whether or not “busy” is the new “stupid”. In a world seduced by entrepreneurship porn and the glamorization of the “grind”, we need to step back and take notice of this epidemic. There are tons who are sacrificing their personal development and health while on a professional journey. A journey filled with glamorizing the busy life via social or by attending every single networking event the city can possibly hold, all in addition to being seduced in to mixers and incubator/chamber events due to FOMO (fear of missing out). Many feel their lack of ‘busyness’ means they are unsuccessful. Now listen, I’m in favour of being active in the community because that’s how you create opportunities, but your activity has to have a purpose and should aim directly at what you are trying to achieve, especially if your activities are going to take away from your personal time and family. It should not be aimlessly and meaninglessly driven by FOMO. It should be driven by the fact that you are hitting your professional and personal milestones and goals. The bottom line is that there needs to be results tied to your “busyness”, or you’re just haemorrhaging time! And I get it; I live it and I’ve said it before, entrepreneurship and business, especially today, is 24/7 with little to no downtime, but I implore you carve out time in your day to ensure you are not neglecting all parts of your life. It’s super important to control your time and create a cohesive and healthy approach to everything you do. Being “busy” is not the indicator of success and mentioning “you’re too busy for x” is not an indicator of success. In my opinion it is the indicator of only 2 things:
1) Whatever you are “too busy for” is simply not a priority – which is fair, but I challenge you to tell the person that it is not a priority at the moment versus just mentioning that you are too busy.
2) You’re not able to control your time – which is scary, especially when growing a business and/or family.
Overall, as mentioned by Robert Glazer via Inc. – “Being busy shouldn’t be a status symbol. It probably means you need to manage your time better.” Even Albert Einstein concluded – “If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough“. I can apply this quote to this article as well. If you can’t simplify, organize and manage your life and time for personal development, claiming that you are just too busy…then you don’t understand your own life well enough.
Bill Gates states that you should ask yourself 4 crucial questions in order to assess the quality of your life (the last being inspired by Warren Buffett):
Now, I will continue to put in the invisible work by waking up early, working with purpose, working smart and getting things done. And I will still schedule my day, minute by minute, for maximum efficiency (both professionally and personally), never claiming that I am too busy, but prioritizing where my time goes. By doing this, it will continue to open up more time and focus into sitting, reading, thinking and meditating, the things that centre me, energize me and keeps me moving forward! Moving forward is ideal for business and life. This approach will ensure that I have the mental capacity and time to spend time where I want to spend time, ensuring that I can answer all 4 above questions from Mr. Gates.
Do you control your time? Share, like and comment below.
It’s easy to get overwhelmed by dating apps. The endless stream of matches, messages, gifs, and shirtless selfies is a lot. But the dating burnout can start as early as not knowing which dating app to use in the first place. Now, I’ll level for you, your literal mother and I are probably the only two people who aren’t using dating apps at the moment. To each their own, but I can’t do it, it’s too Seamless-y (and IDK, it would probably tick off my S.O.). But I’m not like a regular mom, I’m a cool mom, and if you’re going to use the apps I’d rather you do it based on what you’re looking for. And whether that’s a DTF dude to boink, a woman you can grow old with, or someone with a full and robust beard, here’s how to get started. These are the best dating apps to help you find exactly what you’re looking for, in no particular order.
Great if: You’re looking for something easy right now.
I won’t sermonize here because most of you are intimately acquainted with the app. In short, Tinder is best if you’re looking for something low-commitment, in uh, a variety of ways. It’s no muss, no fuss swipe-intensive approach works for quick hook-ups with the very occasional long-term success story.
Great if: You, like, actively want your friends to set you up.
Betches new baby, Ship, allows your friends to swipe for you, which definitely isn’t the worst plan. After all, when you’re trying to decide which way to swipe or how to respond to a message, isn’t the move to drop that screenshot in the group chat? Ship seems to streamline that process, so it’s a match if you’re very squad-forward (or can’t be bother to overwork your index finger anymore).
Great if: You’re trying to look for something slightly more serious than Tinder.
Right now, Hinge is “designed to be deleted.” (Does anyone really want to keep swiping until they’re using Depends? I don’t know, you do you.) Your matches are based on questionnaire that pairs you people who share common interests and expectations. You know, people who might actually want to date versus people that’ll never be dignified with a last name or introduced your second tier friends. Try it out when you’ve past the rebound phase and feel ready to graduate to dinner plans.
Great if: You’re on the quest for solid queer connections.
Her is an app “for queer womxn, by queer womxn,” and a really safe space to find lesbian, bisexual, queer, or gender non-conforming partners. More than that, Her is big on building a community; the company hosts parties and socials in over 15 cities across the country. So it’s great for finding your person, but it’s also great if you’re looking to expand your LBGTQ circle.
Great if: You want to be in control of who you talk to.
If you’re less enthusiastic about the idea of a salutation dick pic, Bumble might be the match for you. As a refresher, Bumble ethos is that women are in charge of making the first move. It encourages a more female-friendly environment in this way, with a dedication to stomp out hate speech and bad behavior. Your roommate might still end up accidentally dating a Trump supporter for six months, but this why you gotta vet people thoroughly IRL.
Great if: You’re looking for women and the OG apps are not cutting it.
Lesly has a Tinder-esque swipe right interface but dumps all those bros holding fish (to which I say, regardless of sexuality, thank GOD). Instead, you can match with other LGBTQ singles. The app promises that each registered user is “rigorously scrutinized” by staff to ensure that you’re not getting scammed. No one wants to find out that the cutie with the bob haircut is some finance guy named Mike.
Great if: You’re the person who boasts that they’re “fluent in sarcasm,” which, okay, we’re not 15 anymore. As someone who literally couldn’t write this piece without sarcasm, can we just all agree that it’s code for, “I’m kinda mean”? That, or you’re just very, very picky.
Here’s the deal, Hater matches you up with someone based on—you guessed it!—what you hate. You mark a seemingly endless list of prompts of things like, “facebook stalking,” “vegan food,” and “paying for a broker” with whether you hate, dislike, like or love it. And I wanna snark on this, but this is kind of a perfect filter if you’re one of those loves-to-bitch Misery Loves Company types. Or, like, any New Yorker.
Great if: You’re firmly committed to a sober lifestyle.
It’s pretty much a dating default to “grab drinks” after work, to the point where some of my friends have designated “Bumble Bars.” That go-to can breed awkwardness of you struggle with addiction or just don’t mess with booze anymore. Enter Loosid, a supportive app that connect you with not only connects you with other sober-minded singles, but thoughtfully tunes you in to alcohol-free events in the area.
Great if: You want something meaningful and embrace wellness as big part of your lifestyle.
And there is a very good chance that you’re down with wellness if you’re here, so here’s the situation. MeetMindful is all about “connecting with intention.” There’s no swiping, just a questionnaire that asks about your feel-good passions (yoga? spirituality? meditation?) and then presents you with a platter of people you can choose to “like.”
Great if: You’re looking for your swolemate (I’ll see myself out).
Sweatt is serious when it comes to fitness, and if you’re serious about fitness, I couldn’t think of a better app. It really separates the people who love hitting up the gym versus the people who say they love hitting up the gym. Good luck, you crazy kids, I’ll be here on my couch eating ice cream for dinner!
Great if: You’re not effing around when you put “Dog Mom” in your profile.
Yo, if I was single I would exploit this to no end. Twindog is an app for dog owners, and allows you to match with other pups in the area. Oh, and maybe you’ll fall in love with their person 101 Dalmatiansstyle. AND THE DOGS COULD BE THE RING BEARER AND FLOWER GIRL AT THE WEDDING. I don’t know how legit it is, but it might be preferable to my old technique of lurking Fido-less in Brooklyn’s McGolrick dog park, hoping to leash in a dude with a Corgi.
Great if: You’re sexually attracted to Hagrid.
Or if you’re just a fan of facial hair. Bristlr boasts the incredibly direct tagline of “connecting those with beards to those who want to stroke beards.” If beard-stroking is a big priority for you, then truly, go wild.
When it comes to dating apps, here’s how to put your best foot forward. And here’s some advice for flirting at the gym IRL.
Content gathered & updated by the Bergen Review Media team.