Blog Archive

Creating Harmony



Creating Harmony

Love dissolves hate.
Kindness melts cruelty.
Compassion calms passion.
Cooperation evokes love and when we bow, others bend.
This creates harmony.

The Ultimate Guide to Overcoming Stage Fright



Stage performance is a challenging art form. Whether you're acting out a role in a theatre setting, giving a speech in front of a crowd, or even playing a solo at an open mic night, the experience can be nerve-wracking even for seasoned performers.

How to Overcome Stage Fright Infographic

Post Author: Erin R.
Erin teaches acting, singing, speaking voice, and more in San Diego, CA. She holds a B.A. from University of Minnesota in Vocal Performance, a M.A. in Education from National University, and has been teaching since 2007. Learn more about Erin here!
Image credit: Kian McKellar
Source: http://takelessons.com

​Here Are 24 Out Of His Most Important Quotes

Socrates Was One Of The Smartest People Who Ever Lived.
​​
Here Are 24 Out Of His Most Important Quotes That Everyone Needs To Read!



Socrates was a classical Greek philosopher credited as one of the founders of Western philosophy. He is an enigmatic figure known chiefly through the accounts of classical writers, especially the writings of his students Plato and Xenophon and the plays of his contemporary Aristophanes. Plato's dialogues are among the most comprehensive accounts of Socrates to survive from antiquity.

Through his portrayal in Plato's dialogues, Socrates has become renowned for his contribution to the field of ethics, and it is this Platonic Socrates who lends his name to the concepts of Socratic irony and the Socratic method, or elenchus. The latter remains a commonly used tool in a wide range of discussions, and is a type of pedagogy in which a series of questions is asked not only to draw individual answers, but also to encourage fundamental insight into the issue at hand. Plato's Socrates also made important and lasting contributions to the field of epistemology, and the influence of his ideas and approach remains a strong foundation for much western philosophy that followed.

Let us remember his wisdom by reading 24 famous quotes of his:

1) "The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing."

2) "The unexamined life is not worth living."

3) "There is only one good, knowledge, and one evil, ignorance."

4) "I cannot teach anybody anything. I can only make them think"

5) "Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle."

6) "Strong minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events, weak minds discuss people."

7) "By all means marry; if you get a good wife, you'll become happy; if you get a bad one, you'll become a philosopher."

8) "He who is not contented with what he has, would not be contented with what he would like to have."

9) "If you don't get what you want, you suffer; if you get what you don't want, you suffer; even when you get exactly what you want, you still suffer because you can't hold on to it forever. Your mind is your predicament. It wants to be free of change. Free of pain, free of the obligations of life and death. But change is law and no amount of pretending will alter that reality."

10) "Sometimes you put walls up not to keep people out, but to see who cares enough to break them down."

11) "Wonder is the beginning of wisdom."

12) "To find yourself, think for yourself."

13) "Education is the kindling of a flame, not the filling of a vessel."

14) "Know thyself."

15) "Let him who would move the world first move himself."

16) "The secret of happiness, you see, is not found in seeking more, but in developing the capacity to enjoy less."

17) "The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new."

18) "I am not an Athenian or a Greek, but a citizen of the world."

19) "Prefer knowledge to wealth, for the one is transitory, the other perpetual."

20) "understanding a question is half an answer"

21) "True wisdom comes to each of us when we realize how little we understand about life, ourselves, and the world around us"

22) "He is richest who is content with the least, for content is the wealth of nature."

23) "To be is to do"

24) "The mind is everything; what you think you become"

How to Handle Frequent Mood Swings



In a particular day, you may pass through several mood swings depending upon your circumstances. For instance you are sad, or happy, irritated, annoyed, stressful, depressed, cheerful or angry at different moments of time. As long as you are happy, everyone around you is fine with that however if you have a lot of mood swings in terms of being irritated, annoyed, sad, angry, reactive or stubborn it becomes a challenge for others to move along with you. Because of your swift mood swings your personality becomes unpredictable. The more unpredictable you become for others, the more likely you have the chance to lose your respect within your friends, family and colleagues.



So how to control these mood swings? Below are some points which you need to ponder on:
1-    Analyze yourself on what are the triggers which cause your mood swings? is this an event, or comment or act or presence of a person?  Fix the problem or start loving it.
2-   Respect the fact that every single soul is a unique in terms of thinking and acting. You cannot order people to follow your way of thinking and living. Relax. Give respect to earn respect. It takes two hands to clap.
3-   Write down your triggers on a paper. You will notice that your problem is not that much big!
4-   Discuss your issue with the person and find out a solution. Be flexible. You may not be right in your demands or you may be completely wrong in your demands. Be honest, analytical and logical while you share your comments and desires.
5-   Observe others on how they react in different kind of circumstances. Find out a mentor in your life you can follow. Or even you can observe everyone because everyone has something to teach you. Closely observe.
6-   Avoid taking stress. The more you take stress the more you lose control on your emotions and become unpredictable. Read my article on Stress by clicking here  and clicking here
7-   Develop Trust in your relations so that people feel easy to get along with you.


What are your thoughts in controlling your mood swings? 

About Author: Junaid Tahir, a telecom engineer and a blogger, writes articles on wisdom, happiness and stress management. His articles can be read Here

WHAT is it that's hard to break???



WHAT is it that's hard to break???

Diamonds are hard to find but not hard to Break.

What is the hardest thing to break then?
The answer is: HABIT !

If you break the H, you still have A BIT .
If you break the A, you still have BIT.
If you break the B, you still have IT!
Hey, after you break the T in IT, there is still the 'I'.
And that (I ) is the root cause of all the problems.

Isn't it right? !
Now you know why HABIT is so hard to break….
Its destiny is in its name!

Mother and Father

The Great Roles of Mothers and Fathers
____________________________
*Mother* - Introduces you to the world.
*Father* - Introduces the world to you.
___________________________
*Mother* : Gives you life
*Father*   : Gives you living
__________________________
*Mother* : Makes sure you are not starving.
*Father*  : Makes sure you know the value of starving
__________________________
*Mother* : Personifies Care
*Father*: Personifies Responsibility
__________________________
*Mother* : Protects you from a fall
*Father* : Teaches you to get up from a fall.
__________________________
*Mother* : Teaches you walking.
*Father* : Teaches you walk of life
__________________________
*Mother* : Teaches from her own experiences.
*Father* : Teaches you to learn from your own experiences.
__________________________
*Mother* :  Reflects Ideology
*Father* :  Reflects Reality
___________________________
*Mother's* love is known to you since birth.
*Father's* love is known when you become a Father.
___________________________
Heed to what your father says.
Keep loving your mother.
___________________________

Convert Your Irritations into a Positive Energy




A psychiatrist was consulted by a man whose marriage and career were both in serious trouble. His problem was his constant irritability and bad temper. He was concerned about this himself, but if any one tried to discuss it with him, he exploded in anger. He constantly told himself that everyone was picking on him and that he had to defend himself against them.

To counter the negative auto suggestion, he advised him to use positive auto suggestion. Several times a day in the morning, noon, and at night prior to sleep he was to repeat to himself.

From now on,I shall grow more humor, joy, happiness,and cheerfulness are now becoming my natural states of mind.

Every day I am becoming more and more lovable and understanding.

I will be center of cheer and goodwill to all those around me, infecting them with my good spirits.

This happy, joyous, and cheerful mood is now becoming my normal, natural state of mind. I am grateful.

After a month, his wife and his coworkers remarked on how much easier he was to get along with.

The things that drive you crazy are actually giant opportunities. The people who press your buttons are actually your greatest teachers. The issues that make you angry are actually your biggest gifts. Be grateful to them. Love them.

The people or circumstances that take you out of your power have extraordinary value: they reveal your limiting beliefs, fears and false assumptions. The celebrated psychologist Carl Jung once said: "Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves." Powerful point. The things that irritate, annoy and anger you are entry points into your evolution and elevation as a human being. They are signposts for what you need to work on and the fears you need to face. They are gifts of growth. You can blame the people who trigger you and make it all about them. Or you can do the wise thing and look deeply into yourself to discover the reason for your negative reaction. Use the challenges to grow self-awareness. Because how can you overcome a fear you are not even aware of? And how can you transcend an insecurity you don't even know you have?

As you begin to shed light on your personal weaknesses and take responsibility for them, you actually begin the very process of shedding them. You become stronger. More powerful. You begin to see the world through a different set of eyes.


Khalil Gibran, one of the greatest thinkers, once wrote: "I have learned silence from the talkative, tolerance from the intolerant, and kindness from the unkind; yet, strange, I am grateful to those teachers who taught me all the wrong things.

How to Mediate a Dispute Like a World Class Diplomat

How to Mediate a Dispute Like a World Class Diplomat


As a parent or at work, you'll probably be called upon to mediate a dispute at some point in your life. You require diplomatic skills even if you won't need to use them to negotiate international peace or halt a government shutdown. Skillful intervention works for settling which child gets to sit in the front seat or how to keep the office break room clean.
It's challenging to step into the middle of a disagreement, but it can also be rewarding if you can facilitate a solution. Implement these suggestions to mediate conflicts and enhance communications.

Benefits of Mediation

1. Break through impasses. Sometimes people are unable to work things out on their own. Mediation offers outside assistance that can help them make progress.
2. Empower participants. While the mediator facilitates the discussion, the participants get to express their views and propose solutions. Everyone benefits from talking, listening, and taking part in the remedy.
3. Foster connections. Studies show that even though we try to avoid those we find irritating, we tend to like them better if we spend some time with them. Mediation puts disputants in the same room.

Gathering Information through Mediation

1. Bring those who are arguing together. Sit down with both parties at the same time. Separate meetings can create suspicions and misunderstandings, especially when there are already underlying tensions.
2. Establish ground rules. Let everyone know the expectations. State the purpose of the meeting. Explain that they each will be given time to tell their side of the story.
3. Be neutral. Take an objective stance. Listen with an open mind. Avoid leading questions and try to let the disputants do most of the talking.
4. Ask people to speak directly to you. If you've ever watched court TV shows, you know the judge tells people to talk to them rather than to each other. In fact, you may want to arrange your chairs much like a courtroom with both people facing you.
5. Focus on one issue. Stay on topic. Deal with one issue at a time.
6. Describe specific behavior. While it's valuable for the involved parties to express their feelings, facts help to clarify the process. If your child says their older brother was mean to them, you need to know if they were locked in a closet or just sent to bed on time.

Taking Action through Mediation

1. Summarize the information. Review and repeat the information given by each party. Ensure you're all on the same page.
2. Identify shared interests. Take a moment to think about the goals you all have in common. Maybe you want to gain a new customer or meet a tight deadline.
3. Ask for suggestions. Now is the time for each person to talk about what they want to see happen. Encourage them to have a discussion with each other and find areas where they are willing to compromise.
4. Write out a plan of action. When you reach a decision on what you're going to do, put it in writing. It will help the disputants remember exactly what they agreed to. A written document also provides a sense of formality that motivates people to live up to what they promised.
5. Follow up. Even the most successful mediation sessions may need reinforcement. Schedule a time to get back together for a full review. You may need to make adjustments. On the other hand, you may want to use your follow up meeting to reward everyone for doing a great job.
Every conflict provides an opportunity to make positive changes. Discover the satisfaction of using mediation to achieve greater cooperation at home and work.
The post How to Mediate a Dispute Like a World Class Diplomat appeared first on My Self Improvement Daily.
 

How to Raise Happy Kids: 10 Steps

…happiness is a tremendous advantage in a world that emphasizes performance. On average, happy people are more successful than unhappy people at both work and love. They get better performance reviews, have more prestigious jobs, and earn higher salaries. They are more likely to get married, and once married, they are more satisfied with their marriage.
So looking at the science, what really works when it comes to raising happy kids?

Step 1: Get Happy Yourself

The first step to happier kids is, ironically, a little bit selfish.
How happy you are affects how happy and successful your kids are — dramatically.
Via Raising Happiness: 10 Simple Steps for More Joyful Kids and Happier Parents:
Extensive research has established a substantial link between mothers who feel depressed and "negative outcomes" in their children, such as acting out and other behavior problems. Parental depression actually seems to cause behavioral problems in kids; it also makes our parenting less effective.
And this is not merely due to genetics.
Via Raising Happiness: 10 Simple Steps for More Joyful Kids and Happier Parents:
…although the study did find that happy parents are statistically more likely to have happy children, it couldn't find any genetic component.
So what's the first step to being a happier you? Take some time each week to have fun with friends.
Via Raising Happiness: 10 Simple Steps for More Joyful Kids and Happier Parents:
Because laughter is contagious, hang out with friends or family members who are likely to be laughing themselves. Their laughter will get you laughing too, although it doesn't even need to in order to lighten your mood. Neuroscientists believe that hearing another person laugh triggers mirror neurons in a region of the brain that makes listeners feel as though they are actually laughing themselves.
More scientific methods for increasing your happiness here.

Step 2: Teach Them To Build Relationships

Nobody denies learning about relationships is important — but how many parents actually spend the time to teach kids how to relate to others?
(Just saying "Hey, knock it off" when kids don't get along really doesn't go far in building essential people skills.)
It doesn't take a lot. It can start with encouraging kids to perform small acts of kindness to build empathy.
This not only builds essential skills and makes your kids better people, research shows over the long haul it makes them happier.
Via Raising Happiness: 10 Simple Steps for More Joyful Kids and Happier Parents:
Multiple sclerosis (MS) patients who were trained to provide compassionate, unconditional positive regard for other MS sufferers through monthly fifteen-minute telephone calls "showed pronounced improvement in self-confidence, self-esteem, depression, and role functioning" over two years. These helpers were especially protected against depression and anxiety.
More on creating good relationships here.

Step 3: Expect Effort, Not Perfection

Note to perfectionist helicopter parents and Tiger Moms: cool it. Relentlessly banging the achievement drum messes kids up.
Via Raising Happiness: 10 Simple Steps for More Joyful Kids and Happier Parents:
Parents who overemphasize achievement are more likely to have kids with high levels of depression, anxiety, and substance abuse compared to other kids.
The research is very consistent: Praise effort, not natural ability.
Via Raising Happiness: 10 Simple Steps for More Joyful Kids and Happier Parents:
The majority of the kids praised for their intelligence wanted the easier puzzle; they weren't going to risk making a mistake and losing their status as "smart." On the other hand, more than 90 percent of growth mind-set-encouraged kids chose a harder puzzle.
Why? Dweck explains: "When we praise children for the effort and hard work that leads to achievement, they want to keep engaging in that process. They are not diverted from the task of learning by a concern with how smart they might — or might not — look."
More on praising correctly here.

Step 4: Teach Optimism

Want to avoid dealing with a surly teenager? Then teach those pre-teens to look on the bright side.
Via Raising Happiness: 10 Simple Steps for More Joyful Kids and Happier Parents:
Ten-year-olds who are taught how to think and interpret the world optimistically are half as prone to depression when they later go through puberty.
Author Christine Carter puts it simply: "Optimism is so closely related to happiness that the two can practically be equated."
She compares optimists to pessimists and finds optimists:
  1. Are more successful at school, work and athletics
  2. Are healthier and live longer
  3. End up more satisfied with their marriages
  4. Are less likely to deal with depression and anxiety
More on how to encourage optimism here.

Step 5: Teach Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence is a skill, not an inborn trait.
Thinking kids will just "naturally" come to understand their own emotions (let alone those of others) doesn't set them up for success.
A simple first step here is to "Empathize, Label and Validate" when they're struggling with anger or frustration.
Via Raising Happiness: 10 Simple Steps for More Joyful Kids and Happier Parents:
Molly: "I am SO SO SO MAD AT YOU." Me: "You are mad at me, very mad at me. Tell me about that. Are you also feeling disappointed because I won't let you have a playdate right now?" Molly: "YES!! I want to have a playdate right NOW." Me: "You seem sad." (Crawling into my lap, Molly whimpers a little and rests her head on my shoulder.)
Relate to the child, help them identify what they are feeling and let them know that those feelings are okay (even though bad behavior might not be).
More on active listening and labeling (and how hostage negotiators use this) here.

Step 6: Form Happiness Habits

We're on step 6 and it might seem like this is already a lot to remember for you — let alone for a child. We can overcome that with good habits. Thinking through these methods is taxing but acting habitually is easy, once habits have been established. How do you help kids build lasting happiness habits? Carter explains a few powerful methods backed by research:
  1. Stimulus removal: Get distractions and temptations out of the way.
  2. Make It Public: Establish goals to increase social support — and social pressure.
  3. One Goal At A Time: Too many goals overwhelms willpower, especially for kids. Solidify one habit before adding another.
  4. Keep At It: Don't expect perfection immediately. It takes time. There will be relapses. That's normal. Keep reinforcing.
More on developing good habits here.

Step 7: Teach Self-Discipline

Self-discipline in kids is more predictive of future success than intelligence — or most anything else, for that matter.
Yes, it's that famous marshmallow test all over again. Kids who better resisted temptation went on to much better lives years later and were happier.
Via Raising Happiness: 10 Simple Steps for More Joyful Kids and Happier Parents:
…preschoolers' ability to delay gratification–to wait for that second marshmallow–predicts intelligence, school success, and social skills in adolescence. This is at least in part because self-discipline facilitates learning and information processing. In addition, self-disciplined kids cope better with frustration and stress and tend to have a greater sense of social responsibility. In other words, self-discipline leads not just to school success and sitting nicely at the dinner table but to greater happiness, more friends and increased community engagement.
What's a good way to start teaching self-discipline? Help kids learn to distract themselves from temptation.
Via Raising Happiness: 10 Simple Steps for More Joyful Kids and Happier Parents:
One way to do it is to obscure the temptation–to physically cover up the tempting marshmallow. When a reward is covered up, 75 percent of kids in one study were able to wait a full fifteen minutes for the second marshmallow; none of the kids was able to wait this long when the reward was visible.
More on increasing self-discipline here.

Step 8: More Playtime

We read a lot about mindfulness and meditation these days — and both are quite powerful.
Getting kids to do them regularly however can be quite a challenge. What works almost as well?
More playtime.
Via Raising Happiness: 10 Simple Steps for More Joyful Kids and Happier Parents:
Most kids already practice mindfulness — fully enjoying the present moment — when they play. but kids today spend less time playing both indoors and out… All told, over the last two decades, children have lost eight hours per week of free, unstructured, and spontaneous play…
Playtime isn't just goofing off. It's essential to helping kids grow and learn.
Via Raising Happiness: 10 Simple Steps for More Joyful Kids and Happier Parents:
Researchers believe that this dramatic drop in unstructured playtime is in part responsible for slowing kids cognitive and emotional development… In addition to helping kids learn to self-regulate, child-led, unstructured play (with or without adults) promoted intellectual, physical, social, and emotional well-being. Unstructured play helps children learn how to work in groups, to share, negotiate, resolve conflicts, regulate their emotions and behavior, and speak up for themselves.
No strict instructions are necessary here: Budget more time for your kids to just get outside and simply play.
More on the power of playing (for kids and adults) here.

Step 9: Rig Their Environment For Happiness

We don't like to admit it, but we're all very much influenced by our environment – often more than we realize.
Your efforts will be constrained by time and effort, while context affects us (and children) constantly.
What's a simple way to better control a child's surroundings and let your deliberate happiness efforts have maximum effect? Less TV.
Via Raising Happiness: 10 Simple Steps for More Joyful Kids and Happier Parents:
…research demonstrates a strong link between happiness and not watching television. Sociologists show that happier people tend to watch considerably less television than unhappy people. We don't know whether TV makes people unhappy, or if already unhappy people watch more TV. But we do know that there are a lot of activities that will help our kids develop into happy, well-adjusted individuals. If our kids are watching TV, they aren't doing those things that could be making them happier in the long run.
More non-television happiness activities are here.

Step 10: Eat Dinner Together

Sometimes all science does is validate those things our grandparents knew all along. Yes, family dinner matters. This simple tradition helps mold better kids and makes them happier too.
Via Raising Happiness: 10 Simple Steps for More Joyful Kids and Happier Parents:
Studies show that kids who eat dinner with their families on a regular basis are more emotionally stable and less likely to abuse drugs and alcohol. They got better grades. they have fewer depressive symptoms, particularly among adolescent girls. And they are less likely to become obese or have an eating disorder. Family dinners even trump reading to your kids in terms of preparing them for school. And these associations hold even after researchers control for family connectedness…
More on the power of family dinners here.

Sum Up

Here are the ten steps:
  1. Get Happy Yourself
  2. Teach Them To Build Relationships
  3. Expect Effort, Not Perfection
  4. Teach Optimism
  5. Teach Emotional Intelligence
  6. Form Happiness Habits
  7. Teach Self-Discipline
  8. More Playtime
  9. Rig Their Environment For Happiness
  10. Eat Dinner Together
We're often more open to new methods when it comes to work and careers, but ignoring tips when it comes to family is a mistake.
The most important work you and I will ever do will be within the walls of our own homes. - Harold B. Lee
I hope this post helps your family be happier.

I Can or I Can't


Your feelings are the way in which our subconscious mind really communicates with you. If your thoughts make you feel not so good about yourself, those thoughts need to be re-wired.


Once you have identified a few thought patterns that are no longer serving you, instead of getting caught up with them, change them. There is always a way to change these thoughts into ones that uplift and make you feel good.


For example,


"I can't do this because….."

Change it to:

"I am going to use my strengths and focus on what I can do rather than what I can't do."

When you focus on what you can't do, you begin to amplify the feelings of "can't", instead focus on what you can do, and those too will begin to multiply. Even if you don't necessarily believe that you can do something whole heartedly, the more you say it to yourself, the more it will begin to shape your reality.

10 Awesome Features in Excel 2013



​ 
 
Helen Bradley
               
Microsoft's updated spreadsheet tool isn't getting a lot of new, whiz-bang features, but it is becoming more functional. That's something both new and experienced users will enjoy—especially a new approach to an old problem that used to require a cumbersome workaround. Complex tasks become easier to perform, thanks to tools such as Recommended Charts and Recommended PivotTables tools. Other changes place choices closer to your data, and use big-business brawn to crunch data right into Excel. To help you get up to speed, read on for 10 new features that make your work easier in the new Excel. Want to know more about the new Office suite? You'll find our full review of Office 2013 here, as well 10 killer features in the new Word 2013 here.

1. Start screen sets the scene

Excel's new Start Screen helps you get to work more quickly. Along its left edge are the most recently used worksheets, any of which can be pinned to your Recent list so they will always be visible. Here, too, you can click Open Other Workbooks to access your files from a disk or the cloud. The Start Screen's top-right corner also shows the SkyDrive (or SharePoint) account you are currently connected to. A range of templates appears here to help you quick start a project. These can also be pinned, or you can use the search feature to look online for other templates. A list of suggested searches can help you get started. New users will appreciate the template choices, and existing users will likee the Recent file list and quick access to existing files. Although the Start Screen can be disabled, I find it useful enough to stick with it. The Open tab has links to recently accessed files and locations.

2. Enjoy a new Backstage View

The Backstage View, introduced in Office 2010, is accessible from the File menu. In Excel this has been revamped to show exactly what you're doing so you can choose the appropriate task. 
The Open tab now gives you access to recently accessed workbooks, making it a combination of the Open and Recent tabs from Excel 2010. You can pin worksheets to this list or click Computer to access recently accessed locations (any of which you can pin permanently here, too). There's also access to your SkyDrive account, and the option to set up additional SkyDrive or SharePoint accounts.
Want to split first and last names into two columns? Look to the new Flash Fill feature.

3. Make Flash Fill magic

The most whiz-bang new feature is the Flash Fill tool. Its predictive data entry can detect patterns and extract and enter data that follows a recognizable pattern. It solves some common problems that currently require cumbersome workarounds to achieve.
One such problem is extracting a person's first name from a column of full names. In a blank column adjacent to the one that contains full names, you simply type the first name and then click the Home tab, and select Fill, Flash Fill. The first names of everyone in the list will be entered into that that column immediately. You can use the same process to extract last names, to join first and last names, to extract months, days or years from dates and even extract values from cells.  While you could have always done this with formulas, now Flash Fill ensures anyone can do it very quickly and easily.
Take the guess work out of which chart to choose to best display your data.

4. Simplify choices with Recommended Charts

This falls somewhere between a whiz-bang new feature and something that makes working in Excel more intuitive. Recommended Charts shows only a subset of chart types that are appropriate to the data you've selected. It will help inexperienced users create charts that help explain the data and don't confuse the viewer.
To use the tool, select the data that you want to chart, click the Insert tab and select Recommended Charts. A dialog appears with a range of charts to choose from—click each in turn to see how your data will look plotted on that chart. Select the desired option and click OK, and the chart is created automatically.
Change the look of your chart by selecting options from the pop-up menu.

5. Chart tools get smarter

In previous versions of Excel, when a chart is selected, the Chart Tools tab revealed three additional tabs: Design, Layout, and Format. The interface is simpler in Excel 2013, with only the Design and Format tabs to choose from.
In addition, a set of icons appears outside the top right edge of a chart when it is selected. Click any of these buttons—Chart  Elements, Chart Styles or Chart Filters—to reveal additional chart formatting options. Click Chart Elements to add or remove elements, such as axis titles and legends; click Chart Styles to change the style and color of your chart; or click Chart Filtersto view filtered data using a live preview.
Quick Analysis offers formatting, totals and charts for analyzing your data.

6. Quickly analyze your data

The new Quick Analysis tool can help both new and experienced users find options for working with selected data. To use it, select the data to analyze, and the Quick Analysis icon  appears in the bottom-right corner of the selected data.
Click that icon, and a dialog appears showing a range of tools for analyzing the data, such as Formatting, Charts, Totals, Tables and Sparklines. Click any option, and a series of selectable choices appear; preview those choices by mousing over them. Next, click the option you like to apply it to your data. This feature speeds up the process of formatting, charting and writing formulas.
PivotTables just became ridiculously simple to create.

7. Answer questions instantly with Pivot Tables

Pivot Tables are a powerful tool for analyzing and answering questions about  your data, but they're not easy for new users to create. For the first time, though, if you can click a mouse key, then you can create a meaningful Pivot Table, thanks to the new Recommended PivotTables. To use it, select your data, including headings, and choose Insert, Recommended PivotTables. A dialog appears showing a series of PivotTables with explanations of what they show. All you need do is to select the table that shows what you want to see, click OK,and the PivotTable is automatically drawn for you.
Excel 2013 now integrates Power View for beefy analysis and reporting.

8. Make quick reports with Power View

The Power View add-in, available for previous versions of Excel, is now integrated inside Excel 2013. Power View is typically used for analyzing large quantities of data brought in from external data sources—just  the sort of tool that big business might use.
Incorporated within Excel, it's now  accessible to anyone. To see it at work, select your data and choose Insert, Power View. The first time you use it, the feature installs automatically. Then a Power View sheet will be added to your workbook, and the analysis report will be created.
You can add a title and then filter the data and organize it to display the way you like. The Power View tab on the Ribbon toolbar displays report format options, such as Theme and text formats, as well View options for Field List and Filters Area panels that you can use to filter and sort your data.
Try to work on a worksheet that someone else is editing? You'll be warned that it's locked. You can view and download it, but can't change it.

9. Share files and work with other people

Working with other people on shared files in real time is a double-edged sword. While it's useful to do this, you will face problems when two people try to change the same item at the same time. In Excel 2013 you can share and work collaboratively on files with others via SkyDrive using the Excel WebApp, and multiple people can work on the same file at the same time. However, you cannot open a worksheet from SkyDrive in Excel 2013 on your local machine if someone else is currently working in the same worksheet. This protects the worksheet against conflicting changes.
Instead, if one person is editing an Excel file that's stored online, others with permission can view and download it, but they cannot change the original, whichis locked until the person working with it is finished.
Like other applications in the Office 2013 suite, Excel 2013 saves files by default to the cloud. You can open, view, and edit Excel files  online in a browser using the Excel WebApp without having Excel 2013 on the local hard drive.
Share your cloud-stored worksheets with friends on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn.

10. Share work to your social networks

Here's a handy way to share a to-do list, an event planning worksheet, or whatever spreadsheet you desire with your social network. You can now share Excel workbooks with Facebook and more from within Excel 2013 itself. To see the Post to Social Networks option, the best way to save the file first to SkyDrive.
If you haven't saved your file to SkyDrive, then choose File, Share, and click Invite People. You'll be stepped through the process of saving the file to the Cloud so that Save As options later appear automatically. Once this is done, you are returned to the Share panel where the Post to Social Networks option now appears. Here you can select any social network that you have linked to your Office 2013 account. You can select whether viewers can view or edit your shared worksheet, and you can include a message, and then post it for review.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     
Helen Bradley is a business and lifestyle writer, blogger, photographer; Photoshop and Lightroom professional; and an expat Australian.
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7 Habits of Brilliant Project Managers



By Duncan Brodie

Project management is a tough role. You often find yourself being pulled between keeping users, subordinates, team members and senior people happy. Given these demands, what do the best project managers do that makes them stand out from the crowd?

1. Focus on Solutions
Problem solving and breaking through constraints is an essential part of managing projects. Those that excel as project managers have a mindset where they focus on finding solutions to problems. They keep asking themselves how they can overcome whatever barriers arise.

2. Participative and Decisive
All the best project managers understand the need to communicate and consult. They also know that lots of talking and procrastination achieves nothing. Finding the right balance between consulting, deciding and acting is what separates the best from the rest.

3. Focus on Customer
In every project there are customers. They might be internal or external or a combination of both. The best project managers keep customers at the forefront of their mind. They listen effectively, take on board the feedback they are getting and look for ways of incorporating it whenever they can.

4. Focus on Win-Win Outcomes
In any project there will be many stakeholders, all of whom will see their issues as being the most important. The challenge that the best project managers respond to is finding solutions that address the issues without compromising the overall project structure.

5. Lead from the Front
Project managers need to lead by example. The example they set determines how the rest of the team behave and respond to the challenges that arise. Those project managers who want to encourage openness and honesty are open and honest themselves. Those that take risks and learn from their mistakes empower others to do the same.

6. Adapt to What Arises
You can set out the best plans in the world, think about the risks, put great tracking in place and even then the unexpected will show up from time to time.
Adaptability is a key characteristic of the best project managers. View adaptability in projects a bit like the flight path of an aircraft. It can be off course along the way but it needs to be right on target when it comes to landing.

7. Get the Best Out of Everyone
Those that excel as project managers realise they cannot do it all on their own. They recognise the importance of the collective team effort in getting results. They find and utilise the strengths in everyone and try to ensure that they allocate roles to those best placed to deliver. They learn to keep everyone motivated and pushing the boundaries to get results.

Project management is a complex and demanding role. Starting to work on these 7 habits can take you to the next level.



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