The 4 Aspects of Life You Need to Monitor Consistently 39

The 4 Aspects of Life You Need to Monitor Consistently

The following article is a guest post.

A happy life is all about connections, whether it be with yourself, the people around you, or even something unseen. Here are four areas of your life that need constant attention.

Mental

Most people agree that journaling is one of the best ways to keep track of mental health. Once you get into the habit, recording your thoughts, opinions, high points, and low points is a very good way to track your progress from one day to the next. There are a number of smartphone apps available to make the process even more seamless.

Of course, many people prefer the old-school notebook and pencil. That may be a better idea because you can try more of the methods that have worked for other people instead of being locked into one platform.

Popular mental health journal forms include:

  • Fear/Reality Comparison: People who struggle with anxiety often benefit by jotting down fears as they come to mind (“I might die alone”) then placing a logical response alongside the fear (“I have friends”). This journal mirrors the way the mind works, because fears come from the frontal cortex, and the amygdala rationally calms these fears. So, the list is a good exercise for your amygdala, which should help in the long run.
  • Mood Tracker: Rating good days and bad days is an excellent way to look back and see if you need to make some changes in your routine or recognize that you are on the right path.
  • Stream of Consciousness: This method is the classic “Dear Diary” approach. Especially if you do not have an emotional confidant, it’s very cathartic to release the negative things you feel and also very uplifting to memorialize the positive events that occur in your life.

  • Symptom Tracker: There are many good apps and printables that list common symptoms of depression, anxiety, and other such conditions. Typically, people fill in bubbles if they have headaches, feel anxious, are unmotivated, or whatever. The symptom tracker provides excellent information and also reminds you that you are not the only person who suffers from loss of appetite or sleeplessness. A symptom tracker variation combines fill-in bubbles with stream of consciousness reflections.

Once you find the right method for you, stick with it. In journaling, long-term consistency is the key to both accurate information and useful results.

Physical

There are a number of tools to keep track of physical health as well. The app or journaling method works just as well in terms of physical fitness as it does with regard to mental fitness. Fitbits are the most common wearable fitness technology. They may not be 100 percent accurate, but if you use the device essentially to keep an eye on trends, some slight data unreliability should not be a big deal.

Physical fitness is not the only area to track, as it’s also important to keep up with overall wellness. Some available tools include:

  • Home blood pressure monitor,
  • Thermometer for fever,
  • Smart bathroom scale that measures more than just weight, and
  • Camera to record changes in your body.

These measurements, and others like them, should not be substituted for regular visits with your doctor. Instead, they should supplement these encounters, because better information helps you and your doctor make better choices about your health.

At these visits, it’s also important to keep up with regular health screenings, like cholesterol checks, breast cancer exams, colon tests, and other examinations.

Spiritual

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Spirituality means different things to different people. But regardless of your point of view, it’s very transformative to believe in something larger than yourself. Otherwise, life is just a random series of events and whatever suffering you endure, whether great or small, has no purpose.

There are social benefits to spirituality as well.

Noted humanist Kurt Vonnegut often urged people to join churches, partially for the spiritual aspect, but mostly for the social aspect and the opportunity to connect with other people in the community.

Spirituality is such a personal thing that no journal or app can really help, but as a rule of thumb, if something is amiss in your spiritual life, you will know it.

Relational

There are almost always people around you who make a difference in your life. The connection could be biological, social, or even geographical (the couple that lives next door).

One of the easiest ways to monitor these connections is to look at your phone log or text message screen. If you have to scroll down very far to find the contact, there’s a good chance that you are neglecting this part of your life. Fortunately, these lost connections are usually very easy to fix. All you have to do is pick up the phone.

Always remember to keep moving forward and to take time each day to strengthen the connections in your life.

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The Five Elements of Flawless Customer Experience 10

The Five Elements of Flawless Customer Experience

Providing a flawless customer experience is the ultimate goal for any business.

There’s a lot that goes into creating a customer experience that keeps your clients coming back for more. In fact, there’s so much involved that it can almost seem overwhelming.

However, providing a flawless customer experience becomes much easier when you approach the task through these five distinct elements:

Time
Understanding
Ownership of Emotions
The Unexpected
Follow-Through

Time

When it comes to your customers’ satisfaction, time is essential. Think of how a great experience at a new restaurant quickly sours if you’re left waiting for your food to arrive. Think of how your excitement over a great department store sale turns into frustration as you stand in line for what seems like hours.

Time is your most valuable resource and it is up to you to make sure you’re using your customers’ time wisely.

This is why restaurants have comfortable waiting areas with drinks and appetizers, or why airports have lounges with restaurants, shops, and even bars.

If your customers are being forced to wait for a service, make them feel as if their time spent is not wasted. The more positive drivers you offer customers, the less likely they are to grow dissatisfied with their experience.

Think of how you can implement this in your own business. Are there places where you can help fill customers’ time? Are there places where technology can be used to cut down on the time it takes to complete a task? Remember, it’s the customers’ time that should be valued, not your own.

Understanding

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You must understand what your customers want, when they want it, and how.

While this may seem daunting, getting a better understanding of your customers doesn’t take millions of dollars, complex data analytics, and a degree in psychology. Instead, all it takes is a simple look. Watch their process, engage with them, ask them questions, and listen to them.  

How are customers interacting with your product? What’s the first thing they do when they enter your store? What’s the last thing they do before they leave? How long are they spending in each department? Do you notice anything that hampers their experience?

Take a look at your competitors. How are your potential customers interacting with them? What does this business offer that you don’t or vice versa? What is your, as Harvard Business School professor Clayton M. Christensen says, “job to be done?” What are your customers hiring your product or service to accomplish? Understand why your users are turning to your products.

Ownership of Emotions

Many companies have already taken hold of their customers’ emotions, though cynically. Subliminal advertising is a key example. However, the ownership of emotions does not have to be cynical. When used correctly, it can be the “holy grail” for companies.

Owning emotions begins with the aforementioned ability to understand. When you truly understand a customer’s choices and then act to make the experience better, you’re building a relationship of trust. That trust is the foundation of emotional ownership.

One way to build this trust is to reduce the “emotional” noise that surrounds your customers. Let them know that, even on their worst day, your business or product is there for them and that it will be a constant in their lives.

Think of restaurants and the long wait times you have to endure when they’re busy. Think of how angry—or “hangry”—you feel as you stand around, waiting for your table, and listening to your stomach growl. However, think of how some restaurants are able to reduce that emotional noise by serving you finger foods and drinks as you wait.

Also, seek to understand what emotionally motivates your customers.

Why should they be motivated to visit your store or use your product? To feel confident? Free? Unique? Secure? Successful? Research shows that all human beings are motivated by one of those factors.

The Unexpected

Experiences become stronger and more memorable when they’re accompanied by an element of surprise. Surprise can be addictive, which will only keep your customers coming back for more.

Think about mailing your customers or clients small packages with gifts and swag. Everyone loves to get mail and everyone loves free stuff, especially when it’s least expected.

A surprise doesn’t have to be a huge flash mob (though it could be!). Hand out snacks at your store. Is it a cold day? Give your customers hot chocolate or warm punch. Is it a client’s birthday? Send a card! Even a small note of thanks for a customer’s business is a nice little surprise.

The most important thing to remember: simply be sincere and don’t become predictable. Chocolates on hotel pillows were once a great surprise for guests. However, now that their wow-factor has faded, hotels are continuously trying to get back to the “unexpected.”

Follow-Through

You’ve made promises and established goals. The only thing that’s left is to follow through on them. This starts with creating your mission statement, one that you, your employees, and your customers can commit to it. This will define your customer experience.

Your mission statement must promise to impact yourself/your business, the community, or the world. It may commit to impacting one, or all three. However, whatever it promises, you must follow through on. Your customers’ trust, and thus their experience, depends on it.

More about these five elements can be discovered in Unforgettable: Designing Customer Experiences that Stick, to be published in 2018.

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Kyle H. David has made a career in technology and entrepreneurship for nearly 20 years. In 2001, he formed The Kyle David Group, now KDG. Over the past 16 years, KDG has grown at a rapid pace, attracting clients ranging from the United States Senate to major financial institutions, international nonprofits, and Division I universities.