How to Banish Clutter and Leave Stress Behind

How to Banish Clutter and Leave Stress Behind

Deadlines, financial difficulties, and competing responsibilities are some well-known causes of stress in our lives. Research shows that clutter can also be a hidden cause of stress at home and work. Experiencing less stress in your life may be as simple as getting rid of your excess stuff!


A 2011 study at the Princeton University Neuroscience Institute examined the effect of clutter on the brain. According to the study, “Interactions of Top-Down and Bottom-Up Mechanisms in Human Visual Cortex,” clutter does more than take up space in our homes and offices:


Clutter limits the brain’s ability to focus and process information.

Individuals that limit clutter in their home and work environment are less irritable, less distracted, and more productive.


Try these steps to pare down and organize your belongings:


  1. Start small.


If you’ve been living with too much stuff for a long time, you probably feel overwhelmed at the thought of going through your things. Maybe you are uncertain about how to even begin. Get started by setting small cleaning and organizing goals.


  • Avoid setting an unrealistic goal of cleaning your whole house overnight. Set small goals, like organizing a desk or closet. As you experience success on a small scale, you’ll receive the boost in confidence that you need to continue your efforts.


  • Once you have established order to a small space, keep going. Build upon your success. After your drawers and closets, focus on cleaning an entire room. Clean and organize one room at a time until your entire home is filled only with necessary items that you use on a regular basis.


  • Keep your closets and drawers organized by adopting a “one in, one out” rule. Get rid of one old item each time you buy something new.


  1. Be ruthless.


If you haven’t worn or used an item in a year or longer, do you really still need it? Get rid of duplicate items, as well as worn out and broken items that you haven’t fixed.


  • Items received as gifts from loved ones can be particularly difficult to part with, especially if the loved one is now deceased. Take the time to acknowledge your loss, but realize that holding on to your loved one’s possessions won’t bring them back.


  • One option that may make it easier to part with an item and honor your loved one’s memory, is to sell the item and donate the proceeds to their favorite charity.


  • If you feel guilty at the thought of throwing an item away, consider donating it if it’s still in good condition. This boosts your energy and self-esteem, in addition to getting rid of your clutter!



  1. Straighten the focal points of your bedroom, living room, and kitchen at the start of each day.


Set the tone for your day by spending 15 minutes straightening the central areas of your home each morning.


  • Make your bed, wash any dirty dishes, and eliminate clutter from the living room, counters, and kitchen table.

  • Reverse this strategy at work, and clear your desk before you leave at the end of the day.

  • By removing the clutter from these key areas, you’ll feel more calm and relaxed when you return.


Having too much stuff is visually distracting and it adds to your daily stress level. Following these above simple steps will contribute to greater feelings of serenity in your life as you say “goodbye” to clutter.



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9 Financial Lessons this Navratri

9 Financial Lessons this Navratri

This Navratri let’s reinforce the Nine Lessons of Financial Importance:


Day 1: Set a Stepping Stone by Setting Clear Financial Goals.


Day 2: Think Long Term when investing in Equities.


Day 3: Investing is Not about Buying or Selling but about Holding


Day 4: Diversify across Different Types of Mutual Funds and across different Asset Classes


Day 5: Annually Rebalance Your Portfolio


Day 6: Markets Move Up and Down; Don’t Time It


Day 7: Get An Expert to Keep an Eye on Your Investments


Day 8: Use SWP (Systematic Withdrawal Plan) to Create a Steady Income


Day 9: Use SIP (Systematic Investment Plan) to Benefit from the Power of Compounding


 Watch the video version here



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5 Powerful Investment Lessons from Lord Ganesha

5 Powerful Investment Lessons from Lord Ganesha

On the auspicious occasion of Ganesh Chaturthi, let’s imbibe 5 powerful lessons from Lord Ganesha with a perspective of Financial Discipline in Investment.

1. BIG HEAD: Think big and act logically to become a successful investor.


2. BIG EARS: Listen to the relevant ideas while avoiding the media noise.


3. SMALL EYES: Have a sharp long-term vision to gain from the power of compounding.


4. SHARP TUSK: Eliminate risk and Insure your assets.


5. STRONG STOMACH: Build a good risk appetite to handle market fluctuations.

Watch the video here




Type in your comments which learning do you deeply directly relate to.

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How to Teach your Kids about Money

How to Teach your Kids about Money

Most parents think that they do not need to teach their children how to manage money and the value of managing money in the right manner. They believe that this will be taught to the children as part of their curriculum in schools. The reality is very different. Personal finance is not taught in schools and by the time children reach college it may be too late to correct this mistake. Therefore, the onus falls on parents to teach their children this critical skill. As parents, we need to see ourselves as the primary source of financial education for our children. The earlier we start educating our children, the better the chance of ensuring that our children grow up to become financially literate and responsible people.


Here are some strategies that parents can use to share knowledge of money management:

1. Lessons should be unique if you want the message to sink in. To start with, parents need to sit down with their children at eye-level either at a table or in the child’s room. Keep the mobile phone and other distractions aside for some time and start by emphasizing the importance of the conversation. It needs to happen at their own level and in language that they understand. Irrespective of how young the child is, the effort of making this conversation happen is worth every rupee.

2. Money mistakes made by parents in the past can serve as a good guidance for teaching children about money. Past mistakes is not a disqualification for teaching but can in fact help to get your point across to children. Parents can explain how the mistakes could have been avoided and provide documentary proof as a support. Children will grasp the learning much faster if have actual figures to refer to; parents can explain how much money was lost because of the mistakes.

3. Reinforce your Teaching constantly: Make it a point to involve your kids in any transaction where you have any opportunity to save. Even if it is saving of only 5% – 7% on account of a cash back offer from your debit or credit card, it can go a long way in reinforcing the benefits of saving money.

4. Encourage children to save more money by opening a bank account for them. Even though the bank account may not earn much interest, it will go a long way in making your children appreciate the benefits of saving money for the future.

5. Budget pocket money or allowance: First of all, it is a good idea to give an allowance to your kids on a defined frequency. There can be various options to consider on how to pay an allowance to your child, namely:

a. “Earn money for tasks” allowance: The child is expected to complete certain house work or tasks on a regular basis and is paid for his efforts. The child will see a direct correlation between the effort and the money he or she receives. If for any reason, the task is not completed, then the child is not given spending money.

b. “Pay as needed” allowance: Children do not receive an allowance on a regular basis but request their parents for money as and when required. Here the child may or may not be helping the parents with household tasks. Secondly, as this money does not come on a regular basis, the child may not be able to save for future expenses.

c. Unconditional allowance: The parents give a fixed amount to the child on a weekly or monthly basis without any precondition of doing any tasks. This method allows the child to manage money on a regular basis similar to a salary payment. The downside of this method is there is no correlation between efforts and the payment made.

d. Hybrid allowance: Here this child is expected to do certain basic tasks for free as a contributing member of the family. The child will be paid for completing larger tasks like cleaning the fans, windows or cupboards. Whenever the child wants more money, he or she can take up a task or job and receive payment on completion of it. This method teaches the child that the harder he works, the more money they can earn. This is of course, very similar to our real world.

Whichever method you as a parent choose to pay an allowance to your child, encourage them to create a budget before they receive the money. For e.g., if the weekly allowance is Rs. 1,000, you can suggest that Rs. 200 should be saved, Rs. 200 can go for charity (a very important concept your child needs to learn from a young age) and the balance can spent as they like. This budgeting will help them plan for their future purchases and also help them manage their finances when they become full grown adults and earn their independent incomes.



Action Steps:

Let us now put down some action plans for execution of the above strategies. As Steve Jobs once said, “To me, ideas are worth nothing unless executed. They are just a multiplier. Execution is worth millions.”


A. Grocery Shopping:

Let’s start with shopping for your groceries at your nearest supermarket. Shopping with kids can either be a nightmare; or a great way to teach them about budgeting, if you can spare some extra time:

1. Create a food plan followed by a shopping list: Get your children to help create a food plan for a week; then create the shopping list to fit your weekly grocery budget. This will teach your kids about budgeting, planning ahead and checking out any discounts being offered.

2. Getting the best price: Comparison shopping is a great way to teach kids about money and how to get the best value for your rupee. You can help improve your child’s math skills by challenging them to identify the best deal based on the product quantity or number or servings.

3. Making smart choices: Encourage your child to decide between several competing brands including the store brand. You may end up saving a lot of money provided you are comfortable with the product quality of the store brand, if you decide to buy it.

4. Matching discounts and sales with your shopping list: It may be worth your while to check out the discounts and sales offers the supermarket is offering. This will help your child to develop bargain – hunting skills.

5. Give your child a budget to spend on his treats and snacks. This will teach them to spend on their treats within their budget and not go overboard. Children love it when they are given the freedom to decide some part of their life.



B. Banking:

Now let’s move onto banking which is slowly and steadily moving the online route especially with younger generation.

1. A day at the bank. Though a visit to the bank is still required if you want to deposit a cheque, fill a nomination form or meet the branch manager, it is a good idea to take your child along so they can better understand in person how a bank works.

2. Deposit savings: Children should be encouraged to deposit their piggy bank savings into their savings account on a regular basis. You can create savings milestones with your child which if reached within a particular time frame can be enjoyed with a small celebration or gift for the child.

3. Show your child the money: Children are fast learners by nature and very keen observers. Teach them how to deposit and withdraw money, how to fill up a deposit slip, how to operate the ATM etc. This will go a long way in making them understand the basics of money management.

4. Education literature: Check with your personal banker if they have any programs or literature for teaching children about basic banking. Banks may also provide you with educational coloring or story books which can used for learning and fun.


C. Malls and Retail Chains

Finally, let’s talk about the large retail chains like Star Bazaar or Croma. These stores not only offer loads of electronic gadgetry but also plenty of stuff that your kids may wants like clothes, toys, games etc. A nightmare for some parents surely, but also a silver lining…  an opportunity to teach our children.

1. Economy and money: This is good place to teach your child about the working of the economy starting with why businesses are set up, how they grow and prosper, how the owners or shareholders are rewarded etc. Why does the store sell so many items, why is it organized the way it is?

2. Sales and discounts: Retail chains are famous for offering discounts and sales around festivals like Diwali, Holi etc. They also offer discounts on electronic items like TVs during the IPL season. Children can be taught how shopping smartly for electronics and other items during such events can help save a lot of money. On the other hand, just because a particular item is available at a huge discount is no reason to buy it.

3. Needs vs. Wants. Before buying any item, teach your child to check if the item(s) passes the following conditions:

i. Have they compared the prices with other retail shops and online shopping websites, especially for high priced items?

ii. Is the item a need or want? Wants are discretionary?

iii. Are there any discounts you can avail off (through your credit or debit card)?

If you are willing to teach your children about money, you can find a way irrespective of the choice of venue. Be creative in your approach and help your children understand why savings and budgeting techniques are critical real-life skills for them to learn. These skills will last them a lifetime and they will remember you for taking the time and efforts to impart them.

To conclude, can you rewind back to the times when you were young and your parents took the time to teach you about money management? If you are finding it difficult to remember, then this is the time to make up and put your children on the right path. The average Indian is struggling today as they have not saved sufficiently for critical goals like retirement and child’s education. There is a constant struggle to manage monthly expenses as the basics of budgeting were not learned in their young age. Please do not let your children commit the same mistakes when they become adults.


This article first appeared on https://www.W3Wealth.in

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The Most Powerful Word – NO

The Most Powerful Word – NO

In our society the default answer to nearly every question is “Yes.” Advertising is all geared towards getting us to say “Yes – I need that.” We phrase our inquiries looking for yes: “Would you like more coffee?” “Would you be interested in joining me for dinner?” “Would you help me move next week?” “Would you mind if I asked you a personal question?” “Do you love me?” With such a powerful default answer ingrained in us it can be very difficult to say anything else – often leaving us feeling trapped, guilty, or frustrated as a result.


With such an expected and requested default answer “No” becomes one of the most powerful words we can use – if we can manage it! With all the pressure though, overcoming this momentum for “Yes” can be incredibly difficult sometimes.


While it is still very important to make sure we are clear what we want to say yes to it is equally important, if not more so, to be clear when to say no. Specifically the issue here is to be clear about what is important to us. Yes and no are equally viable and relevant answers in the appropriate circumstances – but may yield dramatically different results.


Saying yes when we really mean no can lead to resentment, frustration, confusion, and dissatisfaction or even worse. So if understanding and applying the right answer is so important – how do we figure it out?


The most important step in figuring out which answer is right is to start off by understanding what is important to us. This can quite simply be done with a simple reflection process. Take a moment to slow down and sink into your body. Allow yourself to notice sensations in your body without seeking to change them. Relax and connect with your inner voice of knowledge. Now ask yourself a few simple questions about issues in your life. Notice how your body reacts. Is it energized? Does your body feel drained or depleted? One of those reactions will occur with Yes and the other with No in response to the question. Typically the response that energizes us the most is the answer that is most relevant and thus most important to us. All you need to do is notice the response and thus the answer.


So now that we have our Yes/No list of life – how do we apply it? That seems easier said than done sometimes. The reality is it all boils down to the simple issue of honesty. Are you ready, willing and able to be honest first with yourself and then with others? This can be the hardest step as well as the most liberating.


Try out the “no” answer on something small at first. Maybe something as simple as “Would you like more coffee?” or some such similar question. Notice the contentment and satisfaction you feel in giving the honest answer or even just using the word! See where we can begin to apply that answer in ways that feel comfortable and empowering. Notice how your body reacts and feels more alive. Experiment with new questions and new opportunities.


Once you get comfortable with these easier answer comes the hard part – how do you say no to something we already said yes to? While perhaps a bit more uncomfortable it is still the same technique of honesty. When speaking with honesty it is also important to speak with patience, compassion and understanding. Remember that what we are essentially doing is changing the message we have previously communicated. Do not allow guilt or shame to color the communication though. Speak clearly about your decision and the realization to change the answer.


With openness and honesty we can all speak clearly from our hearts about what is truly yes and truly no. Over time it gets easier and we have to correct ourselves less and less.


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How to Spend T.I.M.E. to Save TIME

How to Spend T.I.M.E. to Save TIME

.”You give some to get some.” The old adage is usually applied to money but it is also true of time.


When we are very young or very old, time seems endless. But for the majority of our lives, time is something we always need.


We find ourselves often pressed for time or seem to owe time to others – from our bosses to our families. Time is such a valuable commodity so we need to make sure that we use it carefully. Careful use of our time means one thing – Time Management.


And Time Management is actually all about Energy Management – that is, managing your own self within the time available.


The sad truth is that most of us who are really in need of time management rarely utilize it. However, spending time on this simple four-step plan named “T.I.M.E.” can really make a difference in your day, your life, and your time!


T = Thoughtful Planning


Every minute spent on planning and organizing will save at least that amount of time when you implement your plan. Shopping trips taken without a list often result in wasted time, errands run without prior planning often mean wasted time, and tasks not properly organized often mean wasted time. We all know this is true and yet we still rush forward in our haste to get something done. Take time to plan and you will be more efficient.

Failing to plan is planning to fail.


I = Involving Others


Whether at work or at home, involving other crucial stakeholders in your planning and prioritizing can help you attend to the essentials and share the work. Others may have good ideas to help you achieve your goals and others may well spark even more ideas from you. Sometimes, simply talking things over with a sympathetic audience can help you think more clearly. Don’t forget to give others a share in the work as well as the planning.


M = Meditation


No matter how busy your life or hectic your schedule is, it is pertinent for you to take time to reflect on your goals and dreams. Taking a few moments to clear your mind, focus your energy, and rebuild your strength can revitalize you and help you accomplish more when you swing back into action. Allowing yourself this down time may well give you the opportunity to prioritize and brainstorm so you can be even more productive than before. Even if you may not have immediate breakthroughs from taking this time out, it will definitely give you an energy boost.


E = Evaluation


It is important for you to regularly evaluate your priorities and goals. Perhaps you have accomplished tasks that can now be permanently crossed off your list or can be set aside until a later date. Perhaps you have achieved certain goals resulting in a change of other priorities. Perhaps you simply have learned something along the way that caused a number of shifts in your priorities and goals. Evaluation can also give you a sense of accomplishment if you look back on what you have achieved and the goals you have reached.



Even if taking T.I.M.E. for time management can seem wasteful, it is actually a process that pays for itself time and again. Time management may cost you time for planning and organization but in the end it helps you gain time through efficiency and prioritization. The simple truth is that time management saves you time and stress.



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