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The 7 Best Office Music Playlists for Productivity

office-music-compressor.jpgNot long after I first started at HubSpot, I was welcomed with a fresh pair of orange, noise-canceling headphones. At the time, I had no clue that these headphones would carry me through many long work days and some of the deepest, darkest levels of writer’s block.

Over two years later, they are truly the gift that keeps on giving.

You see, for me, listening to music while working is the secret to my productivity. All it takes is the right Beyoncé track, and I go from idle to uber productive. (Seriously, it works like a charm.)

The trouble is, finding the perfect playlist isn’t always easy. With endless streaming music possibilities at my fingertips, it can be hard to nail down just the right tunes to get the wheels turning. So, I did what we do best around here — a little research.

As it turns out, there are a ton of studies that explore the influence of specific types of music as they relate to your productivity levels. To help you find just the right mix, we’ve sourced and curated seven Spotify playlists designed with specific studies in mind. Whether you’re into Mozart or Chance The Rapper, we’re confident that there’s something on this list that will do the trick.

Note: Some of the playlists contain tracks with explicit language that might not be suitable for the office.

7 Science-Backed Office Music Playlists for Productivity

1) Classical Music

One of the most frequently cited studies related to music and productivity is the “Mozart Effect,” which concluded that listening to Mozart for even a brief period each day can boost “abstract reasoning ability.” The study — led by researchers Gordon Shaw, Frances Rauscher, and Katherine Ky — employed 36 Cal-Irvine students who were divided into three groups. Group one listen to a Mozart selection, while group two listened to a relaxation tape, and group three endured 10 minutes of silence. After the listening activity, all 36 students were issued the same test, in which the Mozart group averaged an eight-to-nine point increase in their IQs, compared to the remaining groups.

Since then, the “Mozart Effect” has been hotly contested, but many researchers have gone on to explore the mental benefits of learning and listening to classical music. One recent study, for example, found that elementary-school-aged children who participated in music composition education outperformed students in a control group on reading comprehension.

Think classical music might work for you? Check out this classical-influenced playlist to find out for yourself:

2) Video Game Soundtracks

“Choosing the right video game soundtrack to work to is all about understanding what type of music motivates vs. distracts you when you need to concentrate,” says HubSpot’s Director of Marketing Acquisition (and former video game marketing consultant) Emmy Jonassen.

“For example, if you’re the type who gets amped and focused listening to high-energy music, rhythm game soundtracks, like those from Thumper or Klang, could work well. Conversely, if you need calm to concentrate, the serene soundtracks from exploration games, like ABZÛ and Journey, may do the trick. With thousands of games releasing every year, including many independent titles, there is a soundtrack to suit everyone’s ear,” she went on to explain.

Think about it: Playing a video game requires a lot of focus. To make it to the next level, players commonly have to avoid traps, dodge obstacles, and discover secret tools that will help them progress to the next level. As a result, the music selection for video games is often very strategic, in that modern soundtracks tend to reflect epic, inspiring cinematic scores rather than just basic sound effects.

And while studies have revealed mixed results, there is evidence to support that gamers can experience improved performance by playing a game with the volume on. For example, when psychology professor Siu-Lan Tan and her colleagues John Baxa and Matt Spackman specifically honed in on the game “Twilight Princess (Legend of Zelda),” they found that participants who played with both music and sound effects off performed worse than those who played with it on.

Want to try it on for size? Check out the playlist below:

3) Nature Sounds

According to psychophysical data and sound-field analysis published in The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, listening to “natural” sounds could enhance cognitive functioning, optimize your ability to concentrate, and increase your level of satisfaction.

Think: Waves crashing, birds chirping, streams trickling, and the like.

That could explain why more consumer-facing brands — from Google Home to the newer Noisli — are introducing such ambient sound features to help listeners relax or focus. It might also be behind Spotify’s multiple nature-themed playlists, like this soothing one:

4) Pump Up Songs

After observing that many athletes arrive at the stadium wearing headphones, Kellogg School of Management professor Derek Rucker and three of his colleagues — Loran Nordgren, Li Huang, and Adam Galinsky — set out to answer the question: Does listening to the right kind of music make us feel more powerful or in control?

So, back in 2014, the group of researchers set up a study to gauge how music might influence motivation and subsequent behavior. First, they played several songs for participants in a lab, and asked them — on a scale of one to seven — how powerful, dominant, and determined they felt after listening to each song. There were three “high power” winners: Queen’s “We Will Rock You,” 2 Unlimited’s “Get Ready for This,” and 50 Cent’s “In Da Club.”

Then, to gauge how the music would influence their behavior, they asked participants to listen to the music and then determine whether or not they’d like to go first or second in a debate. As it turned out, those who listened to the high-power playlist volunteered to go first almost twice as often as those who listened to a less powerful playlist.

The lesson? “Just as professional athletes might put on empowering music before they take the field to get them in a powerful state of mind,” Rucker explained, “you might try [this] in certain situations where you want to be empowered.”

Next time you’re looking to feel empowered before a big presentation, interview, or salary review, check out this roundup:

Want more? Check out my colleague Amanda Zantal-Wiener’s picks here.

5) Instrumental Songs

In 2015, Middle Tennessee State University researchers Carol A. Smith and Larry W. Morris discovered that students who listened to “sedative” music during a test scored higher than those who listened to lyrical music. (That somewhat contrasts their initial findings 39 years earlier, which showed that while music didn’t reveal an impact on test scores, those who listened to “stimulative music” showed a significant increase in worry and highly emotional reactions.)

That isn’t to say that it’s entirely impossible to cross things off your list while listening to songs with words — I actually prefer lyrical music, but my colleague, Amanda Zantal-Wiener, has joked about hip hop verses accidentally slipping into her first drafts when she listens to songs with words. If you’re like she is and find that lyrics are too distracting, you may want to experiment with some instrumental options.

For those times, check out these lyric-less tunes — we promise they won’t put you to sleep:

6) “Feel Good” Songs

Buried in deadlines? Trying to unearth yourself from an email mountain after some time out of the office? Regretting that you came back? Whatever’s bugging you, sometimes, the best remedy for productivity loss is a solid dose of “feel good” tunes — you know, the kind that make you spontaneously use a pen as a pantomimed microphone.

But scientifically speaking, music can stimulate the same part of the brain as delicious food and other physical pleasures. Researchers at McGill University, for example, discovered that when participants received the opiod-production-blocking drug naltrexone, they didn’t respond as positively to their favorite tunes as they might normally. The verdict? Our brains are trained to naturally produce these chemicals when we hear our preferred playlist.

And while “feel good” songs vary from person to person, a search for Spotify playlists with those very keywords yields dozens of results. That said, here’s one of our favorites:

Can’t get enough? Here are a few more suggestions from my colleague Amanda.

7) White Noise

According to the BBC, about 70% of us work in open-concept work spaces — myself included. And while it’s great to be able to turn our colleagues next door and ask, “Hey, what’s another word for … ?”, many find background chatter distracting.

If that’s the case, you’re certainly not alone — according to a study led by Yamaguchi University, “When carrying out intellectual activities involving memory or arithmetic tasks, it is a common experience for noise to cause an increased psychological impression of ‘annoyance,’ leading to a decline in performance.”

But without an office to call your own, what’s a writer or number-cruncher to do? Neutral, non-verbal background sounds like white noise, which is not the same as nature sounds, can help to block out these distractions — things like the din of a restaurant or shopping mall, an electric fan, or even laundry machines.

And in case you’re wondering — yes. Like all of the above, there is a playlist for that:

So go forth — focus, get pumped, feel good, and rock out.

What are your favorite songs for getting work done? Let us know in the comments.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in March 2015 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.

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Reblogged 1 hour ago from blog.hubspot.com

SearchCap: EU fine, Google algorithm changes & local features

Below is what happened in search today, as reported on Search Engine Land and from other places across the web.

The post SearchCap: EU fine, Google algorithm changes & local features appeared first on Search Engine Land.

Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.

Reblogged 3 hours ago from feeds.searchengineland.com

Google News gets a cleaner look, new features to make it ‘more accessible’

The new design is simpler to use, more visually appealing and offers more content and context.

The post Google News gets a cleaner look, new features to make it ‘more accessible’ appeared first on Search Engine Land.

Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.

Reblogged 3 hours ago from feeds.searchengineland.com

199: A COOL TOOL To Create Professional Facebook Live Videos

A Tool to Create High Quality Live Video on Facebook

This episode is presented by The Success Incubator – a brand new event I’m co-hosting this year for ProBlogger readers and online entrepreneurs.

The event is happening in Dallas Texas on 24-25 October, and I’m so excited to announce that joining me in presenting at the event are a great lineup of speakers including Pat Flynn from Smart Passive Income, Kim Garst founder of Boom Social and Andrea Vahl who is a brilliant social media consultant.

In today’s episode, I’m going to share with you another COOL TOOL for bloggers that will help you to create high quality live video on Facebook.

Facebook Live continues to be a medium that is well worth investing time into. Use it and you’ll grow your reach and engagement on Facebook.

The problem with it is that to create a high quality professional looking video can feel a little out of reach. While FB is updating tools there’s still a lot you can’t do without investing a lot into software.

Today, I present to you an affordable option that for under $30 will enable you to do some pretty cool stuff including share your screen, schedule your broadcasts, add overlays and more!

Links and Resources on A COOL TOOL To Create Professional Facebook Live Videos



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Hi there it’s Darren from ProBlogger. This episode is presented by the Success Incubator, a brand new event that I’m co hosting this year for ProBlogger readers in Dallas, Texas on the 24th and 25th of October. As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, we’ve got this year some great speakers coming to this particular to this particular event. In addition to myself speaking, we’ve got Pat Flynn from Smart Passive Income, Kim Garst, founder of Boom! Social, and many more speakers. There’s more speakers to be announced in the coming weeks but I’m excited to have Pat, Kim, and Andrea join us.

I’m excited to offer you an early bird discount ticket for this particular event. If you go to problogger.com/success and use the coupon code SUCCESS17, you will get a $50 discount on tickets to this year’s event. I look forward to seeing you in Dallas this October for our only US event this year. Again, go to problogger.com/success.

As I said at the top of the show, my name is Darren Rowse and I’m the blogger behind ProBlogger.com, a blog, podcast, event, job board, and a series of ebooks all designed to help you to grow a profitable blog. You can learn more about ProBlogger over at ProBlogger.com.

In today’s episode, I’m going to share with you another cool tool for bloggers that will help you to create high quality, live video on Facebook. Many of you have heard me raving about Facebook Live pretty much for the last 6 to 12 months. It continues to be a medium that is well worth investing time into. I have been doing it on a weekly basis for the last couple of months and am seeing the benefits every time I do it.

If you are to use Facebook Live, you’re going to start to grow your reach and engagement on Facebook. It does help to deepen the relationships that you have with your readers. The problem that many people have with Facebook Live is that to create a high quality, professional looking video can feel a little out of the reach of the ordinary, everyday person. Whilst Facebook themselves are updating their tools, there’s still a lot you can’t do without investing quite a bit of money into software or hacking together a system and being quite technical.

Today, I want to present to you an affordable option that will, for under $30, enable you to do some pretty cool stuff including sharing your screen, which is something that many of you have been asking for, scheduling broadcast, adding overlays, and much more. Today’s show notes are at problogger.com/podcast/199, where I link to the tool but also give you some examples of live videos I’ve shot and broadcast onto Facebook using this tool. You can also check out our Facebook Group where I do live videos every week at problogger.com/group.

Facebook Live continues to be a great way to build a presence on Facebook itself to support your blog. It’s a great way of getting extra reach on Facebook. We know that Facebook continues to show live broadcast more than almost any other type of post that you can put on Facebook. It’s a great way to extend your reach and to reach those people who follow you on Facebook, who don’t see your other posts. It’s also a really great way to build relationships with those who follow you and have real engagement with followers, real time engagement. When you get on and you actually get a comment from someone, you can respond to that immediately. That takes the relationship further faster. It’s also a really great way to personalize your brand.

Back in episode 188, I gave seven different types of Facebook Lives that you can do. We do talk a little more there about why Facebook Live is so great. Today, I want to talk about a tool that I’ve been using that has really helped me in my Facebook Lives. Facebook have been developing what you can do with Facebook Live a lot since it first went live. In the early days, you could only do it from the mobile phone. More recently, they allow you to do it from your desktop computer just from within Facebook itself. That’s pretty cool.

But there still are some limitations of what you can and can’t do either through the mobile app or through your desktop computer. That is why I’ve always been interested in what some of the other apps and tools will allow you to do. One of the ones that I’ve been playing around with over the last couple of months, really, is Ecamm Live. That’s what I want to talk about today. They first came onto my radar years ago now when I was looking for a solution to record Skype interviews.

When you hear me interviewing someone on this podcast, we did Nikki Parkinson a couple of weeks ago now. That interview was recorded on a little tool that plugs into Skype. It’s called Call Recorder. It’s a Mac based tool that allows you to record your Skype conversations. That’s where I first came into touch with this company who produced Ecamm Live.

One of the things I love about that Call Recorder tool is that it’s really cheap. There’s so many software tools around now which are exorbitantly priced. The Call Recorder was something that I felt was affordable and it’s something that I use all the time so I’ve always been interested when they release a new product. One of the new products that they released a few months ago now is this new one, Ecamm Live, which allows you to put Facebook Live videos up using their particular app.

I want to say right up front, this is a Mac Based tool so if you’re not on a Mac, you’re not going to find this particular episode too useful. There are other solutions out there that you can look at for PC based Facebook Lives but if you have a Mac, you’re going to want to check out Ecamm Live because it is really feature rich. They’re developing it fast and it is very affordable. It’s $30. $29.95. Whilst that may be out of the price range of some people, I think most people can probably afford that if they’re going to invest into Facebook Live because it’s so much cheaper than a lot of the other tools that are out there.

It does allow you to do things that you can’t do easily through Facebook itself and their particular apps. I’m amazed how cheap it is really. I’ve been using it now for six or seven weeks, maybe a little bit more even, on both ProBlogger’s Facebook page and also my Digital Photography School Facebook page. I’m really impressed by what you can do with this particular app.

Let me run through really briefly some of the things that you can do with this tool, Ecamm Live, that you can’t easily do just using Facebook’s native desktop app or phone app. The first one is overlays. You’ve probably seen video online for years now, people will add some kind of an overlay to their video. There are numbers of different types of overlays that you can add into your live video using Ecamm Live.

Firstly, you can put an image onto your video. If you go to ProBlogger Facebook page, you will see one of my videos and in the corner, I have the ProBlogger logo showing all the time through the video. I’m able to brand my live video with my logo, which reinforces my brand. You could add in a larger image and you could actually pop it in as a large one that takes up the whole screen if you want it to but I tend to just put mine in nice and small.

You could also use an animated GIF in that place as well. It’s really easy to do. You just get an image off your desktop, drag it onto the Ecamm Live app and there it is. You can resize it and reposition it if you want. You can add in an image.

You can also add in text. Even during your Facebook Live session, you might want to emphasize a URL, you might want to add in your name at the bottom of the video, you can type in your name and you can change the font and the color and the size of the font as well. You can add in more than one text overlay if you want as well, as well as having that logo. In the last Facebook Live that I did on the ProBlogger page, I had the ProBlogger logo up in the top left hand corner and then under the logo, I had a URL to the Facebook Group that we have at ProBlogger.

You can do a number of different types of overlays during your Facebook Live. That’s one cool feature that you can’t do using Facebook’s native app. Second thing that you can do is show video, pre recorded video in your Facebook Live. This is really useful in a number of different ways. Any video that you’ve got on your desktop, you can simply line it up, press play, and then show it to people on your Facebook Live. This could be really useful if you are a business person.

If you have a business sales widget and you have a video that sells the widget, that demonstrates the widget, rather than having to do it live in front of the camera, you could have this pre recorded video. You could introduce what you’re going to show and then press play on it. You can have a keynote presentation that you’ve delivered at a conference and you’ve got the video of it. Rather than giving the presentation again live on Camera, you show the video.

There’s many number of ways that you can use video. You just play it in the middle of your livestream. You could have a video lined up. Introduce it, press play, stop it halfway, get back on you showing your face and then again, show more of the video. You can shop and change during your Facebook Live, really very useful.

Number three, and this was the killer things for me. This is the reason I got Ecamm Live, is that you can share your screen on your desktop. This is a desktop app and this is really what I wanted because a lot of the Facebook Lives that I tend to do are teaching Facebook Lives. If you’ve tuned in to the ones that I’ve been running over the last few weeks, you will know that I show slides and these are slides that I’ve repurposed from talks that I’ve given. I’ve worked hard on those slides and so it’s really great to be able to show them. I introduce my video, I will give a greeting, and then I will say, “Let’s move into a teaching session.” And then I share my screen and I show a PowerPoint presentation that I have already developed.

You could also share your browser. From time to time, during a Facebook Live, I will jump on over, “Hey, let’s look at this site,” and I will show an example of it. Pretty much any app, you can then show on the screen. The cool thing about Ecamm Live is that they recently did an update which allows you to just show one app. You don’t have to show your whole desktop. You can just show your Safari browser or your Chrome browser. You could show a PDF. You could show your keynote slides. You could share a text document. Any app that you’ve got on your computer, you can just highlight that and just share that or you can choose to share your whole screen. I tend not to do that because my desktop is pretty messy with lots of icons everywhere.

Screen sharing, this is the killer app for me. This is the reason I got it and it works so easily. You literally just press a button and then highlight the app that you want to highlight and there it is up on the screen for people to see.

The fourth thing you can do is have multi cameras. If you want to add a little complexity to your setup, you might want to have one camera set up on just your face, another camera set up as a wide angle, a little bit further away from you to show your office or the set that you’re in. You might have a camera even set up on something else or another person if you’re interviewing them so you can switch between cameras. That’s pretty easy to do as well.

You can actually have an external camera. I used to use my webcam built into my iMac, which is a good little webcam but it’s not as good as some of the other webcams out there so I recently bought myself a Logitech webcam, which is an HD webcam and it works better in low light so I plug that in and use that as well but I could switch to the webcam as well.

Another feature you can do very easily through Ecamm Live is schedule your broadcasts. You can actually say I will be on live on this time at this day. I think it’s anything up to seven days into the future so I could today set one up for tomorrow at this time. I’ve been doing that as well. Anyone who’s following you on Facebook in their newsfeed will see Darren is planning to go live at this time and they have the option to set a reminder when you’re about to go live. If they are on Facebook at the time that you’re going to go live, a notification comes up that says Darren’s about to go live. Go and check it out.

This is something you can do using numerous tools. You can actually kind of do it through Facebook itself but it’s not an easy simple process to do. You’ve got to go to settings at the moment to do that, so this is just a seamless way to do that. There are other features. You see the comments of anyone who is responding to you during your session come up on the screen. As you’re broadcasting, you see what your viewers see, which is really useful. You actually see yourself and then over that video of yourself, you see the comments scroll up.

One of the things I don’t like about it is that the comments are quite small and they are white and so if you have a white background behind you, they can be a little bit hard to see. This is something I feed back to the team at Ecamm Live. I hope that they will fix that and make it so that those comments stand out a little bit more. But you do get that feedback, which is fantastic because it means you don’t have to have Facebook open to go and see what people are saying to you. You also see the likes and the hearts that people give you as well. You get that feedback from people.

Another feature, its HD quality if you choose to have it that way. You can switch that on or off depending upon your internet speed. My internet speed here in Australia is not super fast. I’m on a cable connection but I’ve already got 1MB per second upload, which isn’t really fast. When I did switch HD on, I’ve got a few connectivity issues. I’m not sure whether it’s my internet or whether that was a little bug in their tool at the time so I switched that off and since then haven’t had a problem and the quality is still pretty good.

They’re also adding features regularly. This is one of the things I love about Ecamm Live, is that they are updating the app and they’re updating it almost every second week at the moment. They have a little Facebook group which is reasonably active where they preview upcoming features. They released a new version of it last week, which did add scheduling and some other tools as well. You can location tag your videos if you choose to do that as well.

They also shared the other day that they’re going to add a feature which will allow you to use a Digital SLR as a camera, which will be pretty cool because you’d be able to shoot at a large aperture, getting a little bit technical now in photography terms, using different lenses which will allow you to blur your background, which is a really nice effect and is something that I’m keen to experiment with as well.

It’s a cool tool. There are plenty of other tools around out there that will give you all of these features. There’s nothing unique just to Ecamm Live. But, at $29.95, I am amazed at what it can do. Some of the other tools that are out there are upwards at $400. I saw one the other day for $500. I will say that that tool is a professional level tool and it is pretty amazing. You can do a whole lot more than what I’ve just said. But for $29.95, I’m pretty amazed that Ecamm Live is putting this out there. They guarantee that you get this lifetime updates with that as well.

I’m pretty excited about this tool. I would love it if they would allow us to see the comments a little bit more. I would love it if we could do split screen interviews with other people so I could bring on a guest. That’s on my wish list. They have said in their Facebook Group that they’re open to doing that if Facebook would allow it in their API. Hopefully, that will come. That’s something that you can now do through Facebook’s mobile app, I think or at least some people can. Hopefully, that’s coming.

Again, it’s a Mac only tool. Unfortunately for those of you who aren’t on Mac, you’re not going to be able to use that. I’ve got a link in the show notes to this. It’s an affiliate link. I think I make 15% on that $29.95 so it’s not a great deal but it is a tool that I’m using and genuinely do recommend. I’m not doing this just for that 15% of $30. I’m doing this because it is a tool that is so simple to use and I’m really genuinely very excited about. I’m excited to see what they continue to do to add to it. Thanks to the team at Ecamm Live for creating this tool and putting it in the hands of normal people and making it so accessible to people.

If you give Ecamm Live a go, head over to our Facebook Group at problogger.com/group and share a link to your Ecamm Live video that you did. Back in episode 180, I did challenge you to do some Facebook Lives and I know some of you did take that challenge. I want to issue that challenge again. Give it a go. Give this tool a go, They actually have, I think, a free trial for 7 days or 14 days. You can even use it for free just to give it a go as well. If you do, share the link in our Facebook Group so we can see hey, you went, and give you some encouragement as well.

Thanks for listening today. This is episode 199. You can check out the show notes at problogger.com/podcast/199, where there is a link to this amazing tool. I might also embed a couple of videos that I shot with it so you can check them out as well. That’s problogger.com/podcast/199. If you’ve got a moment and you’re listening to this in iTunes or on the podcast app on your iPhone or some other iPhone network, please leave us a review. It does make a massive difference not only to helping us to be found by other people, but also it makes a big difference to me because I get an email each week with those reviews. It gives me a lot of energy to keep on keeping on with this podcast.

Thanks so much for listening today. Look forward to chatting with you next week in episode 200 of the ProBlogger podcast.

Thanks for listening today. If you would like something else to listen to, I do recommend that you go over to listen to episode 180 where I go through seven different types of Facebook Lives that you can do. I know some of you will be asking the question I want to do a Facebook Live but what would I do on Facebook Live. That episode is going to give you some hints on that.

As I say in the show today, head over to problogger.com/group, where you can share your videos and learn from 6,000 plus other bloggers who are on this journey with you. There’s a great community going on in there.

Lastly, if you do want to check out that Dallas event, head over to problogger.com/success and use the coupon code SUCCESS17 for a $50 discount on that particular ticket. I do really hope to see as many of you as possible at that Dallas event. It’s the only event we’re doing in the US this year. We have a great time lined up for you.

One of the things that we will be doing more of at that event than we’ve been in previous events here in Australia is masterminding. We’re also doing a short sharp series of sessions in the evening of day one of the event called Our Power Sessions. In these power sessions, we are inviting people to share for 20 minutes on a particular topic, really short, sharp practical hacks and systems and templates that they’ve been using in their business. That’s a particular focus of this year’s event.

We’re going to churn through as much actionable content as possible. If you are interested in that Dallas event, head over to problogger.com/success, and again the coupon code, SUCCESS17 to get $50 off that event.

Thanks everyone. Chat with you next week.

How did you go with today’s episode?

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The Psychology of Comparison and How to Stop

Psychology of Comparison

By ProBlogger expert Ellen Jackson of Potential Psychology

Bloggers, solopreneurs, consultants, writers, founders – we’re solo species. Lone hustlers,  tucked in cafe corners with laptops and lattes. We’re perched at breakfast bars tapping keyboards in the early morning light. Hunched at the spare room desk deep into the night.

We’re inspired and driven. Focused and fearless. Joyous in our independence.

And often consumed by what others are doing.

“How do my stats compare to hers?”

“His Facebook following is bigger than mine.”

“Her Instagram feed is so slick.”

“Are they launching another new product?”

“I’m falling behind!”

Blogging is ripe for comparison. We measure by metrics; social media, readership, subscribers, conversions. We lap up the data. We compare and contrast. Are my numbers good? Am I getting this right? Am I doing okay? Am I winning? Or losing?

Isolation feeds the monster. With no colleagues to calm, reassure and soothe us, comparison messes with our heads. The human mind abhors a vacuum. We fill the space by watching others, measuring our performance against theirs. One question ever present: Am I doing okay?

Don’t Worry, You’re Human

Comparison is not unique to the blogger and solopreneur. Humans are social creatures. We live in a network of others. We compare to understand where we fit. What’s my social worth? How do I stack up? Who am I in relation to everyone else?

Psychologists call this social comparison and it’s fundamental to the human condition. We compare ourselves in every interaction; immediately, subtly, often unconsciously, We start as little children. Comparison is a strategy we use to cope with threats, build ourselves up and establish our identity in a world of others. We do it to learn who we are.

Look down to feel better, up to feel worse

Social comparison exists in two types. We compare upwards and downwards.

We look to people we perceive as less capable to feel better about ourselves. It’s a boost to our ego and our mood. Downward social comparison, as it is known, helps us affirm and reassure. Compared to him, I’m doing okay. I must be doing something right *Breathe out.*

This might feel uncomfortable but it’s okay. Social comparison is a way to regulate your mood.

The danger is in comparing upwards.

When we look to people we consider more successful or ‘superior’ in some way we risk despondency and derailment. It can flatten us and prompt us to question ourselves.

My site will never look that good.

I will never have stats like hers.

I have no idea what I’m doing.

At its worst comparing upwards can be the path to defeat. I will never do as well as him. I may as well give up.

The perils of social

Social media is the ultimate upward comparison trap. Studies suggest that immersing ourselves in those feeds filled with beauty and success may damage our self-esteem and put us at risk for depression and anxiety. (e.g. Vogel et. al., 2014; Vogel & Rose, 2016)

Don’t despair!

It’s not all bad news. When we feel good about ourselves and our progress, checking in on others’ success is motivating. It’s a kick in the pants to raise our sights and strive onwards. We push ourselves to achieve more. If she can do it, so can I – and I will!

Our successful peers act as role models. Their achievements are our inspiration.

The paradox?  When we’re happy with our hustle we’re not looking at others. Our heads are down. We’re hard at work. We’re not hanging out on competitors websites, or checking their social feeds.

It’s in our moments of doubt that we compare, looking for reassurance. On our best days we know where we’re going. We don’t need validation or support.

But what do we do on those difficult days? How do we avoid comparison and the risk of defeat?

Tips for avoiding the comparison trap

1. Be a racehorse

A racehorse does not watch his competitors. He is focused straight ahead and galloping towards that finish line. He knows where he is going and what he has to do to get there. Be a racehorse. Be clear on your goals, your finish line and the steps you must take to achieve them. Everyone is running a different race.

2. Know your motives

Why do you compare? Is it for inspiration and motivation? Or to manage your mood? Rising anxiety prompts us to look for reassurance and sometimes we compare to boost our self esteem. If you’re using comparison to manage your mood, does it help? Or hinder? Would your time be better spent working towards your goals?

3. Aim for personal bests

Comparison with others may be fraught with danger but there is profit to be gained from comparing with yourself. Look back and I ask, ‘What have I achieved so far?’ Regular review of your wins, no matter how small, boosts your mood. When you’re feeling good you’re motivated and creative. Worry less about how you compare with others. Focus on achieving your personal best.

3. ‘Don’t compare your beginning with someone else’s middle.’

This quote from author Jon Acuff reminds us that we all start somewhere and we move at different rates. Successful people also have their struggles. They’re just further along the path.  We’re all human and fallible. We’re also equally capable of greatness.

What do you do to avoid comparison affecting your blogging mojo?

Photo by Scott Webb on Unsplash

The post The Psychology of Comparison and How to Stop appeared first on ProBlogger.

      

Reblogged 4 hours ago from feedproxy.google.com

Bing Ads Editor updates: Bulk edit & copy multiple campaigns, manage device & radius targets

The latest version of Bing Ads Editor features several new usability improvements.

The post Bing Ads Editor updates: Bulk edit & copy multiple campaigns, manage device & radius targets appeared first on Search Engine Land.

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Reblogged 16 hours ago from feeds.searchengineland.com

SearchCap: Bing Ads Editor update, Bing Ads voice metrics & Danny Sullivan changes

Below is what happened in search today, as reported on Search Engine Land and from other places across the web.

The post SearchCap: Bing Ads Editor update, Bing Ads voice metrics & Danny Sullivan changes appeared first on Search Engine Land.

Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.

Reblogged 16 hours ago from feeds.searchengineland.com

Small business SEO: Your questions answered

Are you a small business owner looking to get started with SEO? Columnist Marcus Miller has written up this starter guide for beginners outlining what you need to know.

The post Small business SEO: Your questions answered appeared first on Search Engine Land.

Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.

Reblogged 21 hours ago from feeds.searchengineland.com

10 of the Best Ads from June: Boomerang, Bugs, and a Perfectly Useless Chatbot

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It’s finally, finally summer.

To celebrate the sun emerging (and the temperature in our offices dropping to subarctic extremes), I attempted to find some summery ads to feature in this month’s roundup. Instead, I ended up with a weird chatbot, a novelty phone, and several ways to kill bugs. 

Regardless of seasonal appropriateness, this month’s ad roundup showcases some inventive ad formats and new concepts from agencies around the world. Check them all out below. 

10 of the Best Ads from June

1) Bufdir (The Norwegian Directorate for Children, Youth and Family Affairs)

This heartwarming ad from Oslo-based agency Kitchen (Leo Burnett/Publicis) racked up 120 million views in just one week — and the hype is completely deserved.

To emphasize the importance of community in raising a child, “The Lunchbox” tells the story of a young boy who finds himself without a lunch at school. After wandering the halls of his school to kill time, he returns to his desk to discover each of his classmates have pitched in an item for a complete meal. 

 

2) Arby’s

Chatbots are shaping up to be an inescapable trend in 2017, and it seems like every brand is jumping on the wagon — regardless of industry. 

With the ad world fawning over Domino’s pizza tracking tool, Arby’s teamed up with Minneapolis-based agency Fallon to create a high-tech chatbot of their own: The Arby’s Pizza Slider Chatbot. Despite the name, this little Facebook Messenger bot will not actually help you order a pizza slider (or anything) from Arby’s. In fact, it’s designed to do absolutely nothing helpful. 

Check out my conversation with the bot below. (Unsurprisingly, the Arby’s Pizza Slider bot has no time for vegetarians.)

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3) Howler Magazine

Back in the late 80’s, Sports Illustrated released an exciting new offer: Buy a subscription to the magazine, and you got a free football shaped phone. If this ad was any indication, people were psyched. The kitschy little device convinced literally millions of people to shell out $55 for an SI subscription.

Fast forward to 2017, and the folks at Howler, an American soccer magazine, teamed up with Kovert Creative to produce a delightful, celebrity-studded spoof on the classic campaign. Their version features — what else? — a soccer ball phone, and includes appearances from comedians Sarah Silverman, Will Arnett, and Jack Black, among others.

Unfortunately for novelty phone aficionados, Howler only made one soccer phone. And according to their website, it’s already taken.

The Soccer Ball Phone

Introducing the Soccer Ball Phone! We teamed up with some of our favorite comedians to parody those iconic magazine commercials that were all over TV in the early ‘90s. Go to https://fifa.wtf/soccerballphone for a special subscription offer now!

Posted by
Howler Magazine on Tuesday, June 13, 2017

 

4) Showtime – Ray Donovan

The copywriting shines in this ingenious promo spot for Showtime’s crime drama, Ray Donovan, now entering its fifth season. The first half of the ad features an ominous, threatening voice over from series star Liev Schreiber. In the second half, Schreiber’s phrases are repeated in reverse order, taking on a completely different tone: reassuring and protective. The ad — created in-house at Showtime — perfectly captures the title character’s duality.

 

5) Nutella

Using a special randomizing algorithm, Ogilvy & Mather Italy developed seven million unique jar designs for Nutella. Each colorful package is 100% one-of-a-kind, but if you’re looking to pick one up, you’re late to the game: According to the agency, all seven million of the limited-edition jars sold out in one month at Italian supermarkets. 

 

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6) SM Supermalls

This Father’s Day ad from the Phillipines went viral for its heartwarming (and hilarious) twist ending.

Created by Tribal Worldwide Philippines for SM Supermalls, the ad follows a family as they prepare for the daughter’s extravagant birthday bash. Throughout preparations leading up to the event, the father looks like he’d rather be anywhere else. We soon find out he’s not quite as unemotional as he seems. 

Daddy’s Girl

Most of us share an emotional bond with our moms. But with our dads? It’s a bit more complicated. Watch now and share with us your own #DadsDayFeels!👨❤ #HaveAHappyDadsDay

Posted by
SM Supermalls on Saturday, June 10, 2017

 

7) Delta

According to research from Wieden + Kennedy New York, singles who feature travel pictures on their Tinder profiles are more likely to be swiped right. But if you can’t afford to travel to an exotic locale for the selfie opportunities, Delta has you covered. 

The airline worked with W+K to create the #DeltaDatingWall, a mural in Brooklyn that features perfectly Instagram-sized selfie backgrounds of cities around the world. So if you want to trick your future husband into thinking you visited Honolulu and Zurich in the same day, this is the ideal place to do it. 

delta-tinder.png

 

8) Nature Conservancy Brazil

To bring attention to the not-so-distant consequences of climate change and inspire some environmental urgency, the Nature Conservancy Brazil launched a line of apocalypse supplies called The Products of Tomorrow.

Presented in slick, futuristic packaging, the products seem innocuous at first: an apple wrapped in a silver bag, a canister of sunscreen, a bottle of water. But on closer inspection, the details paint a scary vision of our future: the apple is only 3% fruit, the sunscreen is SPF 350+, and the bottled water is “low-acidic rain water.”

 

9) Bacardi

In this colorful, BBDO New York-produced ad for Bacardi, the residents of a idyllic Caribbean town are quite literally caught in a repetitive loop. Inspired by Instagram’s Boomerang effect, the summery spot features a catchy beat from Major Lazer. 

 

10) Flora

Who says print ads can’t break some new ground? This Brazilian magazine ad for Mat Inset insecticide from WMcCann invites consumers to “Discover two ways to kill insects.” One is the product, and the other is this delightfully low-tech innovation:

print-ad-bugs.png

Reblogged 1 day ago from blog.hubspot.com

5 Key Traits of Highly Successful Entrepreneurs

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Mark Zuckerberg started Facebook as a simple “hot-or-not” site to get back at classmates. Nike founder Phil Knight called the now ubiquitious shoe company his “crazy idea.” Instagram began with a single photo filter to make turn its users into less-crappy photographers.

You probably couldn’t have predicted their success at the time, but today, all of these ideas have turned into global titans worth billions of dollars.

Since it all starts so simply, I’ll pose this question: Do you have a “crazy idea” of your own, and have you ever considered turning it into a full-fledged business?

While I can’t answer that question for you, I can tell you what makes Mark Zuckerberg and his ilk such effective and successful founders and entrepreneurs. And who knows — if you see some of these traits in yourself, it might be time to dust off that “crazy idea” and get to work building a business of your own!

(Side note: If you want some help getting started, HubSpot’s giving away $100,000, free HubSpot software, and 1:1 facetime with industry experts to help one lucky winner found the business of their dreams. Check out our #SummerStartup competition before it’s too late!)

5 Traits of Highly Successful Entrepreneurs

1) Entrepreneurs are resilient.

At LinkedIn (and HubSpot, too), there’s a saying that CEO Jeff Weiner throws around frequently, borrowed from the legendary “Coach K” at Duke University: “Next Play”. 

The thought is, if you miss a wide-open shot, don’t stop to wallow or whine — you haven’t got the time. Instead, pick yourself up, get on the defense, and move on to the next play. 

In the startup world, if you want to keep the lights on, you need to be able to hustle under pressure. Whether a big deal has just fallen through, or you’re staring down a massive and unforeseen cost, you have to be able to hit the reset button and attack the next play at 100%. 

2) Entrepreneurs are ready to take risks.

Elon Musk is one of my personal heroes. Whether it’s SpaceX, Tesla, or SolarCity, his goal is the same: to save the human race. He’s completely mission-driven, and he’s willing to take crazy risks to make it happen. 

For instance, in order to get SpaceX and Tesla off the ground, Musk took nearly his entire fortune from the sale of PayPal ($165M) and invested it into these two businesses — even though it was entirely possible both would fail. He went from millionaire to penniless (and ultimately back again) because he was willing to take a calculated risk to see his dream come to fruition. 

While I’m not advising you to take out another mortgage on the house to support your business, very few entrepreneurs make it to the top without facing a few “make-or-break” moments — and you should be ready to do the same.

HubSpot’s #SummerStartup Competition

THE #COMPETITION IS ON: Pitch your business idea in 25 words or less in the comments below for the chance to win: 💰 $100,000 👩‍🏫 1:1 executive mentorship 🖥 3 years of HubSpot Apply to #SummerStartup by July 23 for the chance to kickstart your dream business! Wish you could quit your job and change your life? Comment below to enter. Get the resources you need to start your business and view Terms & Conditions at http://bit.ly/HubSpotSummerStartup Brief overview of main Terms & Conditions: ✅ Entry is only by direct reply to this Facebook post within the Phase 1 Contest Period. See Official Rules for more details on the Contest phases. ✅ You must be a UK, IE, US, AUS or SG resident to be eligible. Must be 18 or over. Must not be a HubSpot employee or relation of. See Official Rules for more details. ✅ This Contest is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook or any of their affiliates. Facebook is not liable for this Contest. ✅ You should read the Official Rules prior to entering. The Official Rules can be found here: http://bit.ly/HubSpotSummerStartup

Posted by
HubSpot on Monday, June 26, 2017

3) Entrepreneurs volunteer for the hard jobs.

If you want to be successful in a startup, you should be ready to raise your hand, roll up your sleeves, and tackle the work that no one else is willing to do. A perfect example of this comes from HubSpot’s history, not from a founder but from an integral member of the leadership team. 

In 2014, HubSpot was a pre-IPO company in serious need of an overhaul of much of its sales operations plan. It was clear that tons of hard work and analysis would need to go into the process, and there were numerous stakeholders with varying opinions on how to proceed. 

Nevertheless, Alison Elworthy, VP of Operations at HubSpot, raised her hand to do the messy work. The resulting plan was a massive success upon rollout — and it’s still called “The Elworthy Plan” to this day. 

Here’s the lesson: whether you want to start your own company, you want a better title, or you’re just interested in a bigger paycheck, the best way to raise some eyebrows and boost your career is to volunteer for the hard stuff. 

They’re definitely not afraid of failure. In fact, many successful and innovative companies (like Google) encourage people to fail, the mindset being that if you’re not failing, you’re not trying. They embrace the mantra of “failing fast”, because the faster you fail, the more things you’re able to try and the more proof you have that you’re pushing your limits. This reliance on failure has kept companies like Google on the forefront of innovation for years.

Sara Blakely, Founder of Spanx (and the youngest self-made female billionaire in America) is the perfect manifestation of this mantra. Working as a door-to-door fax salesperson at the time, Sara (unsuccessfully) sought pantyhose that would work with the modern woman’s lifestyle. At 27, Sara invested her life savings, $5,000, into a hosiery concept of her own designs.

The rest is history. Sara founded Spanx, and in the process earned a fortune worth more than $1 billion.

On the subject of failure, Sara has one piece of advice: “It’s important to be willing to make mistakes. The worst thing that can happen is you become memorable.”

4) Most importantly, they never lose passion, and they never stop dreaming.

Passion is everything when it comes to planning for success. The Zuckerbergs of the world didn’t get to the top by chasing a paycheck – they got there by feeding their passion and hustling to make it happen. 

Passion shouldn’t be limited to the product, though — it should tie into the mission. Steve Jobs wasn’t passionate about computers, he was passionate about how Apple could disrupt the stodgy and established industry of computers and empower everyone to be their most creative selves

As Zuckerberg himself puts it, “If you just work on stuff that you like and you’re passionate about, you don’t have to have a master plan with how things will play out.” 

There’s no way to know for sure whether your “crazy idea” will be a success. That said, the only surefire way to know it won’t be a success is to let it gather dust in the back of your mind.

Interested in $100,000, free HubSpot software, and 1:1 mentoring to start the business of your dreams? Check out our #SummerStartup competition today.

Reblogged 1 day ago from blog.hubspot.com