Make Your Mental Health A Priority

May is Mental Health Awareness month. At iStratus, we specialize in helping you simplify your life through our 6-in-1 app. But did you know that we are big fans of self-care as well? That’s right. One of our favorite ways to use the app is to schedule our exercise, our meals, and even our downtime. Now, we are going to share 10 mental health self-care tips to help you make your mental health a priority.

1. Get enough sleep

Most people need around eight hours of sleep per night.  Consider going to bed and waking up at the same time each day to help regulate your body’s natural sleep rhythm. If you have a hard time falling asleep or staying asleep, consider changing the environment.  Add a white noise machine.  Close your shades to make the room darker.  Turn down the temperature or add a fan.  Do whatever it takes to get to sleep.

2. Eat healthy

Eating nutritious foods helps your body to function at its best.  Make sure to include plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains in your diet. One of the ways we use the iStratus app to help with this is by tracking our food.  Especially the last meal of the day.  We found that certain foods made sleeping more difficult.  Now we avoid those foods before bedtime.

3. Exercise regularly

Exercise releases endorphins, which have mood-boosting effects.  A moderate amount of exercise is the key to maintaining mental health and well-being. Keep in mind that even a relaxing 30-minute walk can help.  Don’t think you have to get a gym membership, buy fancy spandex outfits, or invest in a coach. Nope. All you need to do is go for a walk.

4. Take breaks 

When you’re feeling overwhelmed or stressed, take a few minutes to yourself to relax and rejuvenate.  Take a hot bath, read your favorite book, or take a walk outdoors. In our last post, we wrote about meditation.  Spending a few minutes of your break to meditate might be just what you need.

5. Connect with loved ones

Spending time with loved ones can help reduce stress and promote positive mental health.  Whether you stay in touch via text, social media, or in person, quality time with those you care about is crucial for a healthy mind. And might we suggest you avoid those energy vampires.  You know the ones who suck the energy right out of a room.  You deserve people who lift you up, not tear you down.

6. Do something you enjoy:

Make time for activities that make you happy.  This could include hobbies, listening to music, playing sports, or anything else that brings joy into your life. Not sure what you love, start being adventurous, and try new activities until you hit exactly the thing for you.  It might surprise you. Underwater basket weaving, anyone?

7. Volunteer

Helping others has been shown to improve mental health and overall satisfaction with life.  Find a cause that is important to you and consider giving your time to make a difference. We recently met a lovely lady at Charity Connect who pairs people with the charity that makes their souls happy. If an organized volunteer position doesn’t suit you, look around.  Find someone who needs your help.  You might be surprised to find the number of people who are just dying for an extra set of hands to help with handyman work, grocery shopping, or mowing the lawn.

8. Reduce stress:

Stress can have a negative impact on mental health.  Identify activities that help you relax and make an effort to incorporate them into your daily routine.  This could include yoga, meditation, or deep breathing exercises. It could also be singing, dancing, or even just saying no to some of the things that are overwhelming you.  Remember, you are worth it. 

9. Seek professional help:

If you are struggling with mental health issues, don’t hesitate to reach out to a mental health professional for help.  Therapy can be an extremely effective way to address mental health concerns and promote wellbeing. If you had a sore throat or a fever, you would go to the doctor. Mental health is health.  It’s okay to seek help.

10. Take care of your physical health:

Physical health and mental health are interconnected.  Make sure to schedule regular checkups with your doctor and get adequate exercise and rest.  By taking care of your physical health, you are also taking care of your mental health.

Mental health month is only one-twelfth of the year.  Don’t let it be the only time you make your mental health a priority.  You deserve to be taken care of.

Live life and roll well with iStratus. Take care of your mental health and download the iStratus app today!

Is Meditation The Answer?

At iStratus, we talk a lot about productivity, cybersecurity, and efficiency. Our app is meant to help with all of these. But we also know that people who use our apps are looking for ways to simplify their lives. They are looking for ways to bring a little peace to their hectic schedules. So, today we are taking a different approach. Today, we want to talk about taking just a few minutes every day to add meditation, why you will be glad you did, and how to get started.

Why You Should Meditate

1. Meditation is a great way to reduce stress and anxiety.

Today’s world can be busy. Some of our customers tell us that when they wake up, they feel like a starting gun has gone off and they won’t stop again until they get back in the bed at the end of the day.  This constant sense of busyness can lead to too much stress and anxiety. When you meditate, your body releases feel-good hormones like serotonin that help to calm and relax your mind.

2. Meditation can improve focus and concentration.

How often do you find yourself struggling to find the words to finish a sentence, looking everywhere to find your phone only to realize it’s in your hand, or late for an appointment because you simply forgot. Regular meditation can help with that. Meditation can boost mental clarity, helping you stay focused on the task at hand, and more easily avoid distractions.

3. Meditation has been shown to improve memory and cognitive function.

Research has found that regular meditation can enhance various aspects of brain functioning, such as learning, memory, decision-making, and problem-solving skills. We can all use a little help in this area, right?

4. Meditation can increase empathy and compassion towards others.

Whether you are a mom trying to juggle a thousand tasks, an employer trying to manage a growing business, or a college student trying to cram for exams and still have a social life, chances are you have found yourself overwhelmed by the busyness of life that you have snapped at a friend or loved one out of pure impatience.  By practicing mindfulness during meditation, you not only feel less stress but are better able to understand the perspectives of others and approach challenging situations with kindness and compassion.

5. Meditation can help to regulate emotions and reduce negative thinking.

Through meditation, you can learn to become more aware of your thoughts and feelings and how to better manage them. This can lead to a more positive outlook on life overall.

6. Meditation supports physical health by promoting relaxation.

When you meditate, your body enters a state of deep rest that helps to improve circulation, lower blood pressure, and decrease the production of stress hormones.

7. Meditation can boost immunity.

Research has shown that regular meditation can help to improve immune function by increasing the activity of antibodies and white blood cells that fight infection.

8. Meditation can ease pain and discomfort.

By helping to focus attention away from physical pain, meditation can provide relief and promote healing.

9. Meditation can help you sleep better.

By calming the mind and reducing stress and anxiety, meditation can help to improve sleep quality and duration.

10. Meditation is easy to learn and practice, no matter your age or experience level.

Whether you choose guided meditation, a silent practice, or a simple breathing exercise, there are countless benefits to be gained from adding regular meditation into your routine. So what are you waiting for? Start meditating today!

How To Start Meditating

If you are interested in learning how to start meditating, there are a few steps that you can follow to get started.

1. The first step is to find a comfortable place to sit or lie down and relax your body.

This may involve using cushions or blankets for support or simply finding a quiet spot where you won’t be disturbed.

2. Once you have settled into a relaxed position, begin by focusing on your breathing.

You can try taking deep, slow breaths in through the nose and out through the mouth, paying attention to how your body feels with each inhale and exhale.

3. As you continue to focus on your breathing, allow any distracting thoughts or feelings to pass through your mind without getting caught up in them.

Instead, simply observe them and then let them go.

4. If your mind begins to wander, gently bring your focus back to your breath.

Over time, you’ll find that it becomes easier to keep your attention on the present moment.

5. Once you feel ready to finish, gradually open your eyes and take a few moments to orient yourself before getting up from your meditation space.

With regular practice, you will eventually be able to extend the length of time that you can meditate. In the meantime, even taking just a few minutes out of each day to focus on your breath can have benefits for both your mind and body. So why not give it a try? You may be surprised at how much better you feel.

Live life and roll well with iStratus. Download the iStratus app today!

5 Tips for Preventing Identity Theft

Cybercrime is a serious problem that is only getting worse. But there are some things you can do to protect yourself.

Identity theft is a huge problem in today’s world. According to the 2017 Identity Fraud Study, cybercriminals stole $16.8 billion from 15.4 million U.S. consumers in 2016, which was a record high! That’s why it’s so important to protect yourself from identity theft. In this blog post, we will discuss 5 tips for preventing identity theft. Follow these tips and you’ll be much less likely to become a victim of cybercrime!

Tip #01: Keep Your Personal Information Private

One of the best ways to prevent identity theft is to keep your personal information private. That means being careful about what you share on social media, not sharing your passwords with anyone, and shredding any documents that contain your personal information before throwing them away.

iStratus can help.  Our encryption software is the perfect way to secure all of the data you store on your phone.  Read more about why and how you can use iStratus to encrypt photos, bank statements, and more all in one place.

Tip #02: Use Strong Passwords

Another important way to protect yourself from identity theft is to use strong passwords. A strong password should be at least eight characters long and include a mix of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters. Avoid using easily guessed words like “password” or your birthday.

And never reuse passwords! We know this one is hard.  How in the world can you be expected to remember a different password for every account?

iStratus can help with this as well.  By using our password vault to store your passwords, you are less likely to have them fall into the wrong hands.  It also takes the stress out of trying to remember the dozens of passwords we all have to store in our heads.

Still not convinced?  Consider this. If Facebook is hacked and the passwords are exposed, within minutes, a hacker can take that data and try to access your doctor records, bank accounts, and other financial data.  Having a different password for each account helps protect you.  We think it is well worth the extra effort.

Tip #03: Monitor Your Accounts Regularly

Another good way to prevent identity theft is to monitor your accounts regularly. Check your credit card and bank statements frequently for unauthorized charges and review your credit report at least once a year to look for any red flags. If you see anything suspicious, report it immediately.

The old saying, “what you don’t know, can’t hurt you,” no longer applies.  Knowing what’s happening with your accounts is a good step towards good cyber hygiene.

Tip #04: Be Careful When Shopping Online

When shopping online, be sure to only shop on secure websites (look for the “HTTPS” in the URL). And never save your credit card information on a not secure website.

Also, beware of phishing scams, which are emails or websites that pose as a legitimate company in order to get your personal information. If you’re ever unsure about a website or email, contact the company directly to verify its authenticity. This happened last year when a fraudulent ad was posted on Facebook.  The ad appeared to be a big saving on a very popular shoe.  It was only when the shoes didn’t show up that customers became aware of the fraud.

Tip #05: Protect Your Devices

Identity thieves can also access your personal information through your devices, so it’s important to protect them as well. Install security software on all of your devices and keep it up-to-date. And be sure to create strong passwords for all of your devices as well!

By following these tips, you can help protect yourself from identity theft. Cybercrime is a serious problem, not just for big companies but for individuals as well.   By taking some simple precautions, you can make it much less likely that you’ll become a victim. Stay safe out there!

Phew, that was a lot of information! But it’s all important stuff to keep in mind if you want to protect yourself from identity theft. Just remember: keep your personal information private, use strong passwords, monitor your accounts regularly, be careful when shopping online, and protect your devices. And of course, use the iStratus App to protect your passwords and encrypt your data. Do all of these things and you’ll be much less likely to have your identity stolen. Thanks for reading!

Did you find this blog post helpful? Share it with your friends on social media to help them stay safe from identity theft! And if you have any questions about cybersecurity or identity theft prevention, feel free to contact us. We’re always happy to help! Download iStratus now!

Encrypt Your Data: Why and How

We save a lot of personal data on our phones – from photos and videos to contact information and banking details. It’s important to keep this data safe and secure, especially in today’s world where cybercrime is on the rise. One way to do this is by encrypting your data.

Encryption? What In The World Is That?

Encryption simply means scrambling your data so that it can’t be read without a special key or password. In this blog post, we will discuss why encryption is important and how you can go about encrypting your data.

Isn’t Encryption Only Used By Governments & Big Businesses?

Contrary to what you might think, encryption is more and more common among businesses, both big and small, and is now available for individuals as well. Why? Because cybercrime is no longer just a government problem.  Small businesses and individuals are more vulnerable because they are easy targets.  For the most part, they don’t believe they are going to be a real target and as a result, they don’t take precautions.

But How Important Is Your Data Anyway?

But who cares about your photos and videos, right?  And your bank information, do you save that on your phone? 

Stop and think about it for a minute. Maybe, you traveled recently and because you know your passport is important and you are a cautious person, you took a photo of it just in case you lost it. Maybe your husband called from the doctor’s office because he forgot his wallet at home.  Instead of reading the numbers to him and having him write them down, you thought you were being cautious by sending him a photo of the credit card and insurance card via text. If these scenarios sound familiar, you are not alone.  These are things people do every single day without giving them a second thought.

The bottom line is that if the data is important enough for you to save, it’s important enough for you to encrypt.

Yes, even your family photos.

How much do you cherish the baby photos you have saved on your phone or the photos from your recent trip to Bali?  Did you know that hackers may steal those photos and then hold them for ransom? Seriously, we have seen it happen.

How Can I Encrypt My Data?

Okay, all of this is good and fine but you need your information at your fingertips.  We all do.  So, how do you keep your data safe and still have everything your need completely accessible?

We have good news.  Our app can help.  By using the iStratus app, you can encrypt your data and keep all of your personal data safe from cyberattacks and even share it with members of your family with an encryption key.  Best of all, it’s inexpensive and easy to use.

How Likely Are You To Be A Cyber Victim?

We know it seems unlikely that you will be targeted by cybercrime.  But, according to DataProtect, “60 million Americans have experienced identity fraud, identity theft statistics show and 16.7 million consumers have had their personal credentials stolen and used without their knowing. This led to $16.8 billion being embezzled from consumers in a single year.”

These days, if you don’t take precautions, it is no longer a matter of if you will become a victim but when.

What Else Can I Do To Avoid Being A Cyber Victim?

There are a few key things you can do to help protect yourself from becoming a victim of cybercrime. First, encrypting your personal data is crucial. This means that even if your device is stolen or hacked, your data will be much more difficult for criminals to access. Next, staying up-to-date with cybersecurity news and trends is important so that you can be aware of the latest threats. Finally, following basic personal cyber safety rules such as not sharing too much personal information online and using strong passwords can go a long way in protecting you from cybercrime.

If you think you may have been a victim of cybercrime, it is important to report it to the authorities so that they can investigate and help prevent future attacks. Cybercrime is a serious issue and by taking steps to protect yourself, you can help make the internet a safer place for everyone.

So, there you have it.  A few reasons why encryption is important and how you can encrypt your data without making it inaccessible.  

Be sure to share this blog post with your friends and family to help them stay informed about encryption and cybersecurity! Thanks for reading!

And don’t forget to download the iStratus app to encrypt your personal data and enjoy peace of mind knowing your data is safe from cybercrime! Stay safe out there, friends!

Applying Knowledge

“Applying Knowledge” – this sounds just a little “blasé” doesn’t it? 

However, knowledge is exactly what we need for effective productivity. Honestly, without knowledge, we’d be lost. Over the last three decades, traditional methods of productivity and collaboration have undergone significant changes. These changes were influenced by cultural, social, and technological advances. The ability to analyze, plan, and organize has emerged as a principal source for developing what’s within our minds and memories.

iStratus aims to support one’s knowledge to escape the monotony of “what once was” and generate simple and effective changes. Life becomes less overwhelming because we can check things off the list and in turn, relax with information. The vast amount of material we have crammed into our brains is promptly forgotten, which is rather astonishing.

Why does this happen, you wonder? It is because relevant connections are lost and so the information we’re delivered just doesn’t stick. In this article, we’ll discuss how knowledge is best cultivated, maintained, and applied within iStratus to effectively increase our feeling of productivity.

Engagement is Key 

So how do we engage in things we’re bored with? This might seem like a rudimentary, over-roasted, or redundant question. Yet, engagement is not something that miraculously materializes within us, nor is it necessarily executed successfully. Nonetheless, holding one’s interest is central to it all. Knowing what engages us in what we do is important to ensure something works and we are being productive in succession. We aim to make iStratus visually appealing so that you enjoy using it. If you have any suggestions as to how we could improve our App, we’d love to hear from you! We want to improve how information is delivered to you! We believe enjoyment is the key to knowledge applied by every individual.

“In completing one discovery we never fail to get an imperfect knowledge of others of which we could have no idea before so that we cannot solve one doubt without creating several new ones.”

~Joseph Priestly

Significant Strategies For Applying Knowledge and Productivity 

We want you to feel empowered by your application of knowledge, skills, and practices to ensure productivity. We all know the importance of goals and outcomes. When we are effectively organized, we all can clearly problem solve. Thus this enables us to think critically, work collaboratively, and communicate effectively with a rational, well-balanced mindset. Armed with knowledge, things are easier to fathom. In turn, this also means taking ownership of the process and one’s willingness to expand the mind. Applying technology apps like ours may seem like an impossible undertaking and something foreign. However, like all things in today’s modern world, it can become concurrent with what you already know.

Once Again We Love Empowering

We feel like we say this like a broken record, but we have to stay actively organized for success and to reach meaningful goals. Regardless of what we must address, applying our experience, knowledge, and understanding helps us objectively set our checklists more towards being productive, efficient, and able to solve potential problems which might arise.

Contextualize: Real Life

Aligned to the point above, there is significant evidence to support the fact that productivity is achieved when something is understood and becomes meaningful. Everything you apply within iStratus is in some way personally relevant. The objective is to ensure that we achieve something.

Making progress is important. Our actions acknowledge that everything is: related, everything we do matters, things must be sustainable, life is life, we must roll, be flexible, and on the same hand, maintain productivity. Every checkmark we make matters.

So let’s stay inspired and find the spark within a subject, notion, or task to ensure we “light up” and feel something in an intrinsically, personal way. Applying what we know to a task is satisfying. Our aspirations also need to be considered to achieve goals and our interests are what does this. 

“If we value the pursuit of knowledge, we must be free to follow wherever that search may lead us. The free mind is not a barking dog, to be tethered on a ten-foot chain.”

~Adlai E. Stevenson Jr

We’re a Wired Community: Technology is an Advantage 

At iStratus, we believe technology should be used purposefully to enhance productivity rather than simply automate processes. We need to work collaboratively and creatively to make notable connections within our lives. iStratus aims to be the major tool organizations, professionals, individuals, and students can use to make these types of connections. Today is the moment for us all to consciously invest in what we do.

Live life and roll well with iStratus.

Happy Hobbies

Humans are social beings, whether it’s with friends, family, or solo. It’s beneficial to engage ourselves in a happy hobby. According to an old cliché: “Hobbies help develop our tastes and our passions in life.”  The best part is they can be just about anything one enjoys. Diversity is the spice of life. 

Few hobbies are ever considered as being productive unless you’re fortunate enough to have incorporated your hobby into your work.  Those types of jobs usually allow one to become more effective and achieve greater happiness in life.

As you probably know, iStratus loves to enhance your proficiency and productivity.  We thought we’d share a list of happy hobbies that you could explore and perhaps schedule into your iStratus calendar.

Hiking or Exploring Trails

Hiking and adventures are usually weekend hobbies for people with a passion for experiencing the beauty of nature and wonder around us. There is much evidence readily available to indicate physical activity has positive effects on mental health. It can have a beneficial effect on your overall productivity at work and home. These types of hobbies allow us to clear our minds of worries and focus on the present.

Paint a Picture

Painting permits individuals to release their creative side. Painting allows connecting to thoughts, feelings, and aspirations. It can lend to some wonderful perspectives towards life. It can also even convert goals into something physical, even within the workplace. Grab a paintbrush! You may not be a master painter, but it’s still something creatively tangible and truly authentic of you.

Cooking Up a Storm 

Not everyone is destined to be the world’s greatest sous chef.  However, cooking culinary delights is one of the most beneficial hobbies out there and an experience everyone should consider dabbling in. Cooking is an escape from daily stresses as it forces us to focus entirely on the product and process at hand. Using iStratus, you can help plan your grocery list and meals well in advance. As a bonus, preparing food ahead of time also means you’re more productive than you thought.

Write. You Don’t Have To Be a Wordsmith

Writing with passion is an incredibly powerful and important form of self-expression. It can help to channel your energies into things you feel fervent about. Pour out your inner thoughts and dreams! Write anything, unlock your creative side, and be as productive and strong as possible.

Knit. It’s Not Just a Hobby For Grandma, Celebrities or Social “Influencers”

Grandma knew knitting was good stuff. Truthfully, Hollywood celebrities have nothing on her. There are plenty of knitters circles in the world – with good reason. Not only is knitting a satisfying pastime, but also it is a superb tool for improving productivity. It encourages planning skills that a modern-day workplace will utilize. Knitting promises a warm and cozy product at the end of your endeavors.

Woodwork is Craft of Creation

Whether it’s a mahogany bookshelf, a fancy pencil holder, or something truly beautiful, woodwork helps boost your self-esteem once the project is started and completed. It also helps increase your productivity in creating a focused vision of the product. Constructing something out of wood that is useful not only helps make life easier but also can make you happier in the process.

Dance Like Nobody’s Watching

It’s awesome to get into the groove. Dancing may not be considered the most useful hobby of all time. However, when you consider the amount of hard ward, sweat, and diligence that go into it, dance is no doubt a rewarding and beneficial hobby.  Learning routines and practicing movement highly helps promote mental and physical productivity. At the end of the day, it increases your happiness in your daily life.  

Garden Greenery

Hand in hand with cooking – is there anything honestly more inherently relaxing, and worthwhile, than gardening? Gardening is not only a productive pastime but also allows you to bring food from the ground to the table. What a marvelous way to boost your productivity!

Gardening allows you to unwind, letting you conserve your energies for other busy days ahead. It also connects us with nature. We’ve only got one amazing world. Let’s treasure and build upon it.

“You never lose a dream. It just incubates as a hobby.”

~ Larry Page

Daydreaming is Not a Waste of Time

Some people may not technically regard this as a ‘hobby’.  However, daydreaming is another thing that stimulates one’s creative side and encourages the exploration of ideas. This process could potentially evolve into the solution or “Happy Hobby’ you’ve been searching for.

Resting the mind can provide clarity, reduce stress, and keep you even more focused and productive with your batteries fully recharged and ready to tackle just about anything.

Begin recording some of your desires with us today. Live life and roll well with iStratus.

On The Move

A Travel Checklist. The Goal: Fun-filled, likely stress-free, or at least less, on adventures. Simplifying what you need before and during your trip can be the difference between delight and disaster. A checklist provides less stress for preparation to your trip and more time for relaxing once your get to your destination. 

Traveling provides us with an insight into the world. While going with the flow is important, a little organization goes a long way towards ensuring you have the best time possible. 

Of course, every traveler has their preference and approach to things.  iStratus hopes to help you with this checklist for a safe, active, and enjoyable trip that will create memories to last a lifetime. 

Firstly, Know Your Personality

No matter where you choose to travel, feeling comfortable is central to enjoying the overall experience. How you choose to travel is completely your preference. However, setting your goals and your needs are paramount for quality time and feeling at home away from home.  

So, what brings you the most joy and comfort? Do you enjoy a toasty room? Snoozing in a stiff bed or would you prefer sleeping on a cloud? It’s the little things that truly make a difference. How you experience the world around you matters most.

We all have different tastes as does the company of those who join you on this experience. Some may love a foodie tour while others may enjoy being on the beach with a packed picnic from sunrise to sunset. Whatever your choice, for balance, that’s where using iStratus for a trip checklist and schedule comes in handy.

Be Prepared with a Plan

People may have decades of travel experience behind them and there’s nothing quite like the thrill of adventure a new place. Regardless of the type of experience, the more thorough a plan is, the smoother the logistics are likely to be. Whether an “expert or novice” adventurer, using iStratus can be fundamental to your trip.

Essentially, planning allows the right fit. Perhaps you have a preferred restaurant that requires booking in advance or you require accessible options, such as elevators. Needless to say, there are tons of spontaneous or unplanned experiences that can occur.  However by being organized and planning early, choices and experiences are more likely attainable.

The Right Time of Year Makes a Difference

The key to quality adventures is understanding what and how you want to experience your destination. What factors are most important to you and your family, or your travel buddies? You can plan a fantastic trip by using iStratus to making notes of preferences, goals, and needs. The “best time” of the year may vary as it may not necessarily be set upon a generic timeline or season.

If you are not limited to a certain time of year, different times on the calendar could be set. iStratus can easily help you layout your plans with various options and alternatives so the diversity of any destination can be experienced, regardless of the calendar. Do what works best for you as to when you wish to visit. For instance, you might be a person who prefers to hit sunny warmer places during cooler winter months. 

Pack Smart, To Stay Sharp

Packing is an essential part of travel which can also be challenging. Let’s face it!  No matter where we are, we are creatures of habit who enjoy a few comforts of home. It is easy to overpack, which can add to the overall cost of the trip. It’s not always the best feeling having to lug heavy luggage between transfers, accommodations, or destinations.

Lighter luggage lends itself to better travel. Consider all essentials required and create a packing list that accounts for weather conditions or special requirements at your destination (such as Passports and so forth). Think about what you truly need versus what you want to take. Your items can quickly become more than essentials.

Regardless of where you wish to explore the globe, iStratus recommends keeping packing lists versatile and straightforward. Copies of important documents are important. Keep your cell phone handy as these things can be stored in iStratus and at a tap, things are there as needed. Also, portable battery chargers make things easier as power is with you wherever you go. 

“Certainly, travel is more than the seeing of sights; it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living.”

~ Miriam Beard

It’s a big, wide world out there. Traveling does not have to be lost with all the changes of recent years. It is good to discover new places. Let iStratus help you organize things to a tee, reduce stress, and explore the wonders of the world. 

Go ahead and starting preparing for your next travel experience today! Live life and roll well with iStratus.

Weigh It Up: Making Decisions with a ‘Checklist’ Approach

Analysis paralysis” (Yes, it exists!) can hit us all when faced with a challenging decision. Often, we wish to avoid making the “wrong” choice so we expend a huge amount of energy analyzing every possibility or potential disaster.

On the flip side, sometimes we are convinced that we know what the best solution is. Decisions are quick and subsequently. Sometimes, we can omit poignant alternatives.

Weighing up the “pros and cons” is a simple but effective decision-making strategy. It is well known for highlighting different angles, solutions, and assured choices. This article will address using iStratus to analyze the pros and cons of a choice quantitatively for all-around well-informed decisions.  We hope this process will help you become more productive and efficient at decision making. 

Quantitative Pros and Cons –  What Are They?

Weighing up the pros and cons can improve your understanding of a situation and help avoid decision-making paralysis. Using a simple “pros” and “cons” list encourages objective decisions without those “gut feelings” impacting choice. It boosts perspective and can help one reach a balanced, informed decision.

One side is likely to feature more points than the other in countless situations. Thus, making the decision-making process easier. iStratus’s Checklist feature easily highlights your thoughts. When constructing a “Pros and Cons list, select the format that works best for you. 

Creating a Pros and Cons List Effectively

To achieve the best results from a pros and cons list, iStratus suggests organizing and undertaking the process as follows:

  • Choose a way of populating your desired list
  • Brainstorm and list the pros of each decision
  • Examine and note the risks or cons associated with the decision
  • Include any potential third-party pros and cons

Applying Quantitative Pros and Cons

Weighing up the pros and cons of a decision is a quick and easy process with iStratus. In simple terms, it is one side versus the other by listing all of the possible positive outcomes of the decision and all the negative ramifications.

We suggest assigning a positive or negative value to each one with all factors considered and recorded. A score of 5 on a scale of 1 to 5 may be strongly favorable while 1 may be unfavorable. The intention is to try to score as objectively as possible not leaning with bias!

Once your rating scale is complete, total the score in each column and subtract the amount of “cons” from the “pros”. Ultimately a more positive overall score indicates a benefit while a more negative indicator suggests to scrap it.

Remember, common sense is also vital. These lists aren’t necessarily definitive right off the bat. If you suspect the overall solution isn’t appropriate, commit some further time towards identifying factors likely to have been missed or omitted.

Some advantages could be obvious immediately whereas others are potentially discovered following meticulous thought and reasoning. Posing certain questions can also underline the benefits associated such as:

  • What are the fundamental benefits of this decision?
  • What favorable outcome would be accomplished that you don’t currently have?
  • What could be further accomplished?
  • How will this contribute to your current goals? 
  • How does this option impact other people in your life?
  • How does it position you for success in the future?

The cons chart should include reasons why a decision is not in the best interest. It should also list in potential consequences or undesirable outcomes.

Once more some indicators will be obvious, such as distances or the amount of time and investment required. While other cons will require examination of your intended goals. Questions to assist in determining specific cons might include:

  • What are the risks correlated with this decision?
  • What are you sacrificing?
  • What significant challenges does this decision present? Are they conquerable?
  • How would this position or choice impede other goals?

Tip:

Set a time limit for decision-making. This encourages brainstorming issues without over-analyzing the “nit-picky” details.

Set Your Direction But Be Flexible 

Weighing up pros and cons is a quick, simple way to make objective, considered decisions. Quantifying options helps you to weigh your decisions and come to thoughtful conclusions. Each decision is important so must be processed throughly. Seeing some sort of total will help you to decide whether it’s worthwhile going ahead with something or not. 

“Good plans shape good decisions. That’s why good planning helps to make elusive dreams come true.”

~ Lester R. Bittel

Mastering these skills and using the simple checklist tools within iStratus, can help your future decisions flourish, regardless of what the context is. We must emphasize all of this advice doesn’t necessarily mean that this is the choice you MUST stick like glue with. Be flexible, go easy on yourself, and take time. There are pluses and minuses to everything decision. Direction and planning simply provide a sense of balance in what can be a crazy world.

Live life and roll well with iStratus.

The Voice of Motivation: Staying Engaged with Life

We want to do it all. But we must stay engaged with our goals in order to stay motivated. 

Doing it all is a common goal, but too often we become distracted or bored. Sometimes, making it difficult to stay engaged with life.

Enter A World Of Organization

With a sense of organization around us, we can engage wholeheartedly with what we do, and in turn, keep that passion and excitement for life abuzz. 

So let’s rock this world together with iStratus!

The most interesting thing with all of this is that – there’s no singular solution or idea, which ensures engagement happens. Engagement is something that cannot be forced

The truth is, the more disorganized we feel, the more we become of change. It can do the opposite of what we hope to achieve.

So, where does that leave us? 

Let’s look at what’s at the heart of motivation and maintaining engagement in what we do in our daily lives.

Are you interested in reading this?

It is quite a simple question. And an important one, we need to know that we are truly interested in reaching a goal before we decide to tackle it.

You see, that’s what engagement is…

If we actively read, listen, and then formulate our own opinion, feelings, or view regarding a topic or issue, then immediately we’re more engaged.

Ultimately iStratus wishes to tap into those needs, and inner thoughts regardless of what we’re doing or need to do. At the end of that, we’ll feel far more motivated and engaged, or tuned in.

Small Actions, Big Impact

Fortunately, it doesn’t take much for us to shift momentum or direction. The smallest changes can have the biggest impact.

Every day we engage with each other is another day we create connected experiences in our environment, no matter where we are. The time is now. 

Let’s Break Down Barriers

It’s not a secret that if we understand what we’re dealing with, we’re more likely to use knowledge or apply something in a practical sense. That’s exactly what iStratus hopes to achieve for you. Break processes down so that things become easier and help maintain your interest, so that you don’t feel like a headless chicken. Typically, when we don’t have a clear process, direction, or we feel disconnected from something, we will automatically zone out. Simply put, that engagement and desire are lost.

A Voice and A Choice

The most important resource for all success stories is ourselves. Simply put this means that by giving ourselves a voice, we take ownership of staying motivated, rather than merely just doing it. At iStratus, we strongly believe having a place to categorize tasks or notate our direction for ourselves allows us to complete the items on our checklists. 

Ultimately if we highlight our areas of strength, areas for improvement, it then becomes a process of reflection, which goes a long way towards maintaining motivation. 

“The only lifelong, reliable motivations are those that come from within, and one of the strongest of those is the joy and pride that grow from knowing that you’ve just done something as well as you can do it.”

~ Lloyd Dobyns and Clare Crawford-Mason

Let’s Us Repeat: Stay Motivated and Engaged By “Doing”

Hooking into excitement is key. — If we’re excited, the principle is simple engagement and connection to what we do will take place.

None of us are magicians, we cannot force anything — but we must choose to do something for there to be a difference. This choice is made easier when we make the connection right from the get-go.  The question of: Are you truly interested in this? Matters. Let’s go down that rabbit hole of organizing and “doing” that leads to progress, synchronously increasing our zest for life and staying motivated.

Finally, there’s no substitute for experience, communication, and critical thinking skills. So let’s stay engaged with information, which is indeed at the very essence of utilizing what’s right in the palm of our hands.

Live life and roll well with iStratus.

Setting Gratitude As a Daily Goal

The Power of Positive Thinking: We don’t know about you, but we often find there are many benefits of “Listing” your positive thoughts. 

There is an abundance of evidence that suggests that the brain finds it next to impossible to focus on positive and negative thoughts simultaneously.

We all know the ancient question: Is your glass half-empty or half-full? Considering whether you’re optimistic or pessimistic in your approach will also reflect upon your outlook of life — and quality of health.

At iStratus we believe creating the practice of listing the things you’re grateful for helps you train your mind to be increasingly more positive. 

If you set out to list your gratitude each day, your brain will be more aware of positive things to include on the list!

Indeed, listing the positives with optimism is a key part of applying effective stress management strategies. And realistically we’d all like to stress less.

We need to make it clear, positive thinking isn’t about sticking your head in the sand and ignoring life’s tough situations, or pretending everything is a rainbow. No, positive thinking is an approach to addressing unpleasantness more positively and productively. Going for the best outcome, rather than the worst.

Positive self-talk is the start. In our minds, the “self-talk” is that endless stream of unspoken thoughts that run through our heads daily. Such automatic thoughts can be both positive and negative. 

Negative Thoughts?

Not sure if your self-talk is positive or negative? Some common negativity can include:

  • Polarizing: Things only either good or bad. Finding the middle ground is irrelevant. Things must be perfect; otherwise, this will lead to failure. 
  • Personalizing: You automatically blame yourself. For instance, you hear that there has been a change in plans, and you believe it was the result of something you said or did.
  • Filtering: In this case, the negative aspects of a situation tend to override the positive ones. For example, five tasks on your “To Do” tasks were completed as required, yet your focus is solely upon only the one, which wasn’t, forgetting the wins achieved.

Positive Thinking with Gratitude as a Daily Focus

Daily gratitude can be incorporated into your thinking. The process can be rather simple and attainable; nonetheless, it requires time, commitment and practice. — Basically, you’re building new habits. 

We believe using iStratus to list your gratitude or thankfulness daily (or at least once a week) you will begin to see a shift towards thinking optimistically. This is how you do so:

  • Pinpoint needed changes. Optimism requires engagement in more positive thinking. Start by identifying the things you usually think negatively about. Be it work, school, relationships, or the daily commute. Choose one thing to begin focusing on with increased positivity. 
  • Check-in with the Self. At times, it’s necessary to stop and evaluate what you’re thinking about in your day. If you feel too much ‘negativity’ is happening, attempt to find a way to reposition a positive spin on it. Did you enjoy your coffee in the morning?
  • Apply that Positive Self-Talk. By human nature, we tend to impose thoughts upon ourselves we certainly wouldn’t say to others. It’s not always easy to be encouraging of oneself. Thus, when negative thoughts creep in, think about things and people you’re grateful for daily.
  • Positive people help. It’s not always good to be a complete island. We all need people around us who are positive and supportive. We don’t always have to agree with the thoughts and opinions of others, however, the people we can depend on for love, quality advice, and feedback matter. 

We all have freethinking minds. Still, those typically “negative thinking” personalities, can easily increase self-doubt which doesn’t help one’s ability to manage life in healthy ways. 

  • Adopt a healthy lifestyle to fuel your mind and body. Eat well, with fruits and vegetables. Recharge your internal batteries to help manage stress. Engage in 30 minutes of exercise to positively improve your mood. 
  • Laugh. Humor helps increase gratitude. When you can laugh at life, even in the toughest moments, you slowly feel better. Happier memories and hearts can be found within. 

Create that “List of Gratitude.” When your mind frame is generally more optimistic, life improves for better and we’re able to handle everyday stresses more constructively. Just Smile. Life is worth it.

Live life and roll well with iStratus.