Tag Archives: how

Ms Design Free Premium Templates for Blogging and How To enable Blog Comments

Design of your Blog matters the most and it is essential for your further blogging career. There are many offers for free themes that you can download online but the real hassle begins afterwords when you need to use magic tricks to tweak the theme and customize it the way you saw on the Internet. From my personal experience i can suggest you the best free premium theme available online.

Blogging is supposed to be fun, opportunity to turn your passion into profit and gain online popularity with your sense of business and knowledge.
Opposite to this, blogging most of the times turns into converting yourself into It geek or web designer, there are tons of things you need to do by yourself as for your theme design to look pretty at the end.

Many free online themes offered for CMS Blogger are not complete and tweaking the theme is not that fun, especially when you need to copy thousands of html codes and scripts.

Ms Design Free Premium Templates for Blogger just made your life easy by providing simple and easy to use admin control. Simple Tutorial in provided online documentation ,how to install the theme and the most importantly you can reach the support even with free downloaded theme from them. 

I have chosen Ms Design Sure Mag theme for my Blog because I love posts by label on Home Page. They are well organized and easy to navigate.

Check Out:

Ms Design Top 32 Free  Blogger Templates 2017 for Professional Blog
They have done great job and I can highly recommend theirs Templates to use for your Blogger Blogs.

Recently I have been looking for some tutorial on how to show blog comments in custom blogger themes and to be honest I couldn't find many answers, the moment my mind was hit by the solution.
So If your custom Blogger template has option for Blog comments the only thing you need to do is to check on setting on you blogger.

Go to Settings>Post, Comments and set to Embedded

Now check if your blog comments are showing below the posts. If not you need to finish this step to. Edit your Post>Options>Enable Allow Comments

Now Your Blog Comments will appear below blog posts:

That's It. Let me know which Ms Design Blogger Template you like the most and would use on your blog :)?
Happy Blogging ❤

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How Nigerians use Bitcoin

Werner van Rooyen 
Over the past few months, Bitcoin adoption in Nigeria has increased dramatically. Not only does the African country top Google Trends charts for Bitcoin-related searches, but wallet downloads and trading volumes are also growing exponentially.

As the virtual currency continues to gain ground, we asked our Nigerian customers: how do you view Bitcoin and what do you do with it?

Below are the results in an infographic on how often they use their Bitcoin wallets, if they use it more as a payments system or an investment tool, whether they trust it or not and what they think the Bitcoin price will be over time.

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How Do You Know That God Is Faithful?

The moon is a faithful witness in the sky

Written by Susan on 30/08/2016
Series: Weekly Devotional
Tags: Faithfulness, God, Love
It will be as eternal as the moon, my faithful witness in the sky!

Psalm 89:37
Let us explore one aspect of God’s character today: faithfulness. One Word is not enough to describe God. God is many, many things, and faithful is just one of them.

As sinful, fallen people, we may doubt His faithfulness, or not fully trust it at times. We run across hard times like the loss of a job, a broken marriage, or financial struggle and we question things. However, God is always faithful. When we come to understand that, we are able to feel more and more blessed by it!

Here are three ways we can better understand how God is always faithful:

1. His faithfulness is constant, like the moon in the sky.
“It shall be established forever like the moon, and the witness in the sky is faithful.” (Psalm 89:37)

God has placed a constant reminder of His faithfulness in the sky. It may seem strange to think of the moon as a reminder of faithfulness, but remember that God created this good world for us to live in and enjoy.

Did you know that the moon stabilizes the rotation of the earth? All of our being depends on God’s intricate design! It is over time that we begin to realize that He can be trusted to be who He says He is.

His faithfulness can be known through His creation. Imagine all the detail that went into making our world! Continue to look at the moon as an example of who God is, how He loves us, and the way He has made the world for us to live in.

2. God’s faithfulness makes it possible to trust Him with the details.
“I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with My eye on you.” (Psalm 32:8)

Once we begin to trust God’s faithfulness and know that God is who He says He is, and that He will do what He says He will do, we begin to realize that He also has a very detailed and intimate interest in each of us.

Not only does God give us creation for us to enjoy, but He is also aware of every detail in our lives, and we can trust His faithfulness with details. He watches over us, teaches us, guides us, and cares for us as only He can.

Our lives are as important to Him as His creation, and we can trust in His faithfulness!

3. God is faithful to provide.
“He found him in a desert land and in the howling waste of a wilderness; He encircled him, He cared for him, He guarded him as the pupil of His eye. Like an eagle that stirs up its nest and hovers over its young, He spread His wings and caught them, He carried them on His pinions. The Lord alone guided him…” (Deuteronomy 32:10-11)

These verses refer to how God led Israel through the desert and provided for them.

Provisions are another example of how God always works on our behalf, even in ways we don’t realize!

He works in the visible and invisible world. He knows how fragile we are, and is aware that we can’t make it on our own. We are surrounded by His faithfulness, and we would not exist without Him.

Praise His holy name!

Pray this week:

Dear Father, I am so grateful for Your wonderful provisions. I thank You for placing me into Your creation with such thoughtfulness and kindness. Would You open my eyes to new examples of Your faithfulness? Would You make me know You in a deeper and more trusting way because I see how I am surrounded by Your faithfulness? Wherever I am, You are with me and faithfully provide what I need. Amen

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How to Heal Addiction

Hope for the Hurting and Trapped

Written by Dan Lee on 29/11/2016
Series: Weekly Devotional
Tags: Temptation, Addiction, Sin
I have the right to do anything,” you say — but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything” — but I will not be mastered by anything.

1 Corinthians 6:12
Addiction is a loaded word with many meanings. We tend to think of it as extreme, however, anyone can suffer from addiction, and it’s far more common than you think.

The World Health Organization tells us that worldwide, 6 million people die every year due to tobacco use, and 3.3 million die due to alcohol related causes.

Alcohol, drugs, and smoking have caused much misery for years. But now, we can add pornography, TV binge-watching, overeating, shopping, and video games. For instance, one woman in New Mexico, USA, was spending over 12 hours a day playing a multiplayer video game — and let her 3-year-old daughter starve to death. Clearly, our world needs to healed from addiction.

Even normal activities can harm us when taken to extremes. Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 6:12, “‘I have the right to do anything,’ you say — but not everything is beneficial. ‘I have the right to do anything’ — but I will not be mastered by anything.” An addiction means we have let ourselves be “mastered” by something.

Perhaps other believers have told you to “Flee from youthful lusts” (2 Timothy 2:22) or to “Resist the devil” (James 4:7). But addictions come with mental, emotional and physical components that together exert a much more powerful pull than a regular temptation.

Here are three things that can put you on the road to healing addiction…

1. Cry out to God
First things first — are you a follower of Christ? Even before asking for help with addiction, you must get right with God.

During a time of extreme trouble, David wrote: “I called on the LORD, who is worthy of praise, and he saved me from my enemies. The ropes of death entangled me; floods of destruction swept over me” (Psalm 18:3-4). God did not answer David until he had called on Him.

Start by acknowledging that you cannot conquer your addiction in your own strength. Jesus said, “Humanly speaking, it is impossible. But with God everything is possible” (Matthew 19:26).

2. Get Help from Others
When trapped in sin, our impulse is to isolate ourselves from other believers. This is what Satan wants as well! Spending time with caring believers and sharing your struggles is an important step in escaping it. Yes, it can be humbling, and even humiliating, but your Christian brothers and sisters can help you with prayer. “Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed” (James 5:16). Also see Hebrews 10:24.

3. Cut it Off
In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus spoke of sexual temptation this way: “So if your eye — even your good eye — causes you to lust, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell” (Matthew 6:29).

Jesus was telling us that if any object or person consistently leads us to sin, we need to get that thing out of our lives. For example, if your friends want you to take drugs with them, you need to find some new friends. If you tend to look at women with lust, don’t go to the beach in summertime. If you can’t resist pornography on the Internet, you need to install filters on your computer — or get rid of the computer altogether.

If you have struggled with an addiction, please know that there is hope, and that the God who made the universe is ready to help deliver you when you cry out to him.

Pray this week:

Lord, I am tired of being mastered by addictions. Please show me the way out, and give me strength from Your Holy Spirit to go that way. Help me to help others who need this help as well.

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How to Love Your Enemies and Pray for Them

God’s love is hard to understand

Written by Lois on 26/04/2016
Series: Weekly Devotional
Tags: Enemies, Forgiveness, God, Love, Mercy
…may you, having been deeply rooted and securely grounded in love, be fully capable of comprehending…the width and length and height and depth of the love of Christ, fully experiencing that amazing, endless love…

Ephesians 3:17-19 AMP
The love of Christ is so great it can even save His enemies. God’s love reaches out to the whole world and continues through the entire length of our lives. His love is so deep, it can reach you in discouragement and depression. He even reached Lazarus after he had been in His grave four days. This is the Savior’s love.

God is Love
The Bible tells us that if a person knows nothing about love, they can’t know God, because God is love. Jesus displayed His love for His enemies as He was dying. While Jesus was on the cross, He was praying for those who placed the nails in His hands and feet. Is there anyone else who could love like this?

Jesus prayed, “Father, forgive them; they don’t know what they’re doing” Luke 23:34. Jesus was praying for the Roman politicians and soldiers who were putting Him to death. God responded to this prayer when the soldiers who witnessed the crucifixion admitted the truth by saying, “Truly this was the Son of God.” Matthew 27:54

Do You Offer Love When Offended?
What is your first reaction when you are wronged? Do you plan revenge or show anger? Jesus tells us in Matthew 5:44, “…love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you!” Many people try to get even and punish people who wrong them. Jesus tells us not to do this. If you pray for your enemies, you can overcome evil with good. When we follow Jesus’ commands, we show that He is Lord over our life. We must trust in the Holy Spirit to help us show love to our enemies.

Have You Forgiven Past Wrongs?
Sometimes we hold grudges, even after a person dies. Matthew 5:44-46 says, “…love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven… If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that?” We are to separate ourselves from sinful behavior and live holy lives. We should live our lives devoted to God’s desires rather than our own. That means we should forgive enemies of the past as well as in those of the present.

Pray this week:

Father, I want to forgive those who have offended me. I want to show mercy to them.

Did you love your enemies and forgive them?

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How to Listen for God’s Guidance

What are some ways God guides us in His will?

Written by Hope on 02/05/2015
Series: Weekly Devotional
Tags: Bible, Prayer, Wisdom
“Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” Psalm 119:105

All people long for direction and purpose in life. As Christians, we can ask the Lord to guide us; we do not have to live without purpose. What are some ways God guides us in His will? How should we be listening for His leading?

Get Quiet with God and Examine Your Desires
Hearing God’s guidance begins with our minds and hearts. The Bible reminds us to “be still” (Psalm 46:10) as we listen for His leading, and to “be transformed by the renewal of your mind” (Romans 12:2). The Scriptures are full of prayers you can use to ask God to focus on Him, such as: “Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts!” (Psalm 139:23). Genuinely seek the Lord and “ask our generous God” (James 1:5) to put your thoughts in line with His desires for you.

Ask Yourself: Would Jesus Think This Way?
It’s easier to hear God when your thoughts are in line with His. Choosing God as the ruler of your thoughts is important. Jesus said, “whatever is in your heart determines what you say” (Matthew 12:34). We must also put God as the ruler of what we say, because “The tongue can speak words that bring life or death” (Proverbs 18:21). Again, we can look to Scripture for prayers that God will guide our words: “Let the words of my mouth be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord” (Psalm 19:14). Seek God’s guidance for what you say; think carefully before you speak, making sure each idea is in line with God’s teaching.

Let God’s Word Guide You
Thinking and speaking God’s word helps us live it out! The Bible promises that you can “seek His will in all you do” (Proverbs 3:6) and depend on Him to guide your paths. As you seek God’s guidance for your actions, pray back to God the requests found in the Psalms: “Lead me, O Lord, in Your righteousness”; “Teach me Your way, O Lord”; “Teach me to do Your will, my God!” (Psalms 5:8, 86:11, 143:10). God can build up your life so that depending on His leading is second nature!

Pray this week:

…that God will help you obey His guidance.

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How To Compete With Big Companies And Win

By Jabed Hasan | October 7, 2016

You’ve probably read about the story of Goliath of Gath.

He was a giant Philistine warrior who was defeated by the young boy David, the future king of Israel.

History has shown us time and time again that it’s possible to compete and win the big guys.

MySpace was once the biggest social media site in the world and the most visited in the United States. But it lost the social media battle to Facebook.

Today, MySpace is almost dead.

Yahoo was once the #1 search engine on the web. Google is now the undisputed search engine in the world.

Recently, Yahoo was sold to Verizon for $5 billion. Forbes called it the saddest deal in the tech history.

In fact, the story goes like this:

1998: YAHOO refused to acquire Google for $1 million.

2002: YAHOO realized its mistake and offered $3 billion. Google requested $5 billion. YAHOO refused.

2008: Microsoft offered 50B to acquire YAHOO. YAHOO rejected the offer.

2016: YAHOO has been acquired for $5 billion.

The current value of Google is around $545 billion.

No big company is safe.

You can compete and win.

Apple was once a garage shop that competed with the big guys like IBM and software giant Microsoft. It won!

Apple is the world’s most valuable brand today.

Some marketing and business strategies that will help your startup (David) compete and win your established and big competitors (Goliaths).

Free PDF Download: Get access to the free checklist that will show you how to compete with big companies and win.
Go Niche. Expand Later.
Your established competitors are BIG.

Your startup is small. That’s the truth.

Here comes the biggest mistake most startup founders make:

They want to act big.

You shouldn’t act big because your capital and resources aren’t as much as that of your competitors.

But there’s a smart way to crush your big competitors:

Focus. Specialize. Niche.

These are the keys.

When Facebook started out, they didn’t compete directly with MySpace.

They didn’t act big like MySpace. They can’t.

Facebook acted small. Very small.

Back when it launched, it focused on Harvard students.

It captured Harvard.

Then it moved to other campuses until it has captured every one of them.

It all started from somewhere.

Remember:

Focus. Specialize. Niche.

Amazon is the world’s biggest online retailer with 74.1% market share.

But that wasn’t how it started.

Amazon started as a bookstore.

Back in 1997, Barnes & Noble sued Amazon for claiming to be “the world’s biggest bookstore.”

Today, Amazon is the biggest online retailer.

That’s the power of starting from a niche. That’s the power of focus. That’s the power of specialization.

Selling a large number of different products will be a nightmare. You’ll be trying too hard to appear big when, in fact, you’re so small.

Save yourself the stress. You won’t win when you compete this way.

Compete smart.

Drop any product that doesn’t contribute to growth.

When Steve Jobs returned to Apple in 1997, the company was struggling and almost at the edge of collapsing.

Apple had 20+ product lines at the time.

Jobs cut that number to 4.

So Apple focused on 4 great products:

A consumer desktop
A consumer notebook
A pro desktop
And A pro notebook
He was proved right.

Apple turned profitable and went to become the most valuable brand in the world under Jobs’ leadership. That’s the power of going niche and focus.

Scott Gerber, the founder of Sizzle It! wrote on the Entrepreneur Magazine:

“In 2004, my partners and I launched a typical “do everything” video production company.

After years of under-performing, I transformed the company into a single product specialist.

While the vast majority of video production companies still tout their large service rosters, Sizzle it! has carved out a niche as the only company that specializes in sizzle reels–stylized 3-to-5 minute product videos commonly used by PR and marketing professionals.

Result; Sizzle It! has emerged as a go-to company for sizzle reels and benefits from top keyword visibility on all major search engines.”
There are thousands of T-Shirt stores both online and offline. But Threadless is different.

Threadless is a user-generated T-Shirt and apparel website that determines its product line based on the results of online design competitions.

Though the management doesn’t disclose revenues, it was estimated that the company makes $30 million sales per year and a 30% profit margin.

In 2008, Threadless was featured on the cover of Inc. as “The Most Innovative Small Company in America.”

Being everything to everyone is impossible. You have to be one thing. Do one thing extremely well.

One thing the world could associate your startup with.

You can’t be all over the map claiming you do all things well. That will only hurt you more and give more power to the established companies.

Smaller is bigger in business. It’s highly focused. It gives you the chance to win against the bigger guys.

A niche is a targetable part of the market.

When you go niche, you’re a specialist providing a product or service that focuses on a specific need a group of individuals or companies have. Your big competitors shouldn’t be meeting that need.

If your big competitors are meeting that need, then it’s not a niche.

For example, Google is the world’s biggest search engine. It’s for everyone.

How about a search engine for kids?

That looks like a niche. This is just an example.

Creating a search engine for kids is a real challenge.

The point here is to differentiate yourself so small that your biggest competitors won’t feel like you’re taking the majority of their market share away.

Before they know it, you’ve already taken a big chunk that you’re almost ready to expand.

By then, they won’t see you as another small startup, but a real competitor.

Niche marketing is really easier.

Your positioning and branding will make attracting people easier.

People with similar interests behave the same way and are attracted to similar things. Your customers will be the one doing the majority of the marketing for you instead of the other way round.

Getting repeat business would also be easier because you can deliver a better product and service that’s based on the customer needs.

Build And Leverage Your Personal Brand
Your personal brand is how you sell when your product is completely unknown.

When you’ve worked hard to build a personal brand, it’ll lend trust and authority to any product and company you create.

For example, Ramit Sethi has worked hard for years to build his personal brand.

Today any product he creates sells fast.

It’s because people know him.

It’s because they trust him.

His online courses such as Earn1k, Zero To Launch, and the Fitelligent were all successful.

Building a personal brand is now more important than ever. It’s your key to driving growth for your small company.

In the early stages of your company, people are more interested in you than what your company has to offer them.

When you’ve built a personal brand, selling your product becomes easier.

It’ll also be easier to get other people on board to market your product.

It’s because you’ve built a relationship with them through your personal brand.

You may begin wondering what a personal brand is and why it’s really important?

Your personal brand is how others see you.

It’s important that people have a positive view of you.

In addition to that, the relationship you have with people is very important.

You should engage people on a personal level. That’s how you develop a great relationship with them.

Meet a lot of people.

Help a lot of people.

Share your knowledge and ideas with them.

The relationships you build through this will be valuable for your startup. It could mean going from point A to Point B.

It could mean getting that big client that will move your company up on the ladder.

You Have to Give to Receive
Are you ready to get massive customers for your company?

You have to give and help a lot of people.

Think about what you can offer others more than what you can get from them.

In his words, here’s how Sujan Patel is giving to promote his company:

“One of the first things I did was begin to host some dinners for marketers and entrepreneurs.

I simply wanted to get people together to share knowledge and ideas. I certainly had no intention of selling or pushing my products on them.

I made a point of holding these dinners in various locations around the world. The idea was that I would appear more successful than I was at the time, that I was jet-setting around the world for business meetings.

This was all part of the bigger building-a-brand-to-sell plan.”
So, start giving.

Start writing a lot of high-quality blog posts.

Start appearing on podcasts that will have you.

Start hosting dinners with professionals in your industries and those related.

Start offering one-on-one consultations with potential customers.

Start doing webinars. This can be highly rewarding for your startup.

Just continue helping people, and the selling part will naturally take care of itself.

When you create a lot of helpful contents online, people will start finding your website on search engines. This means another avenue to promote your company.

Content is the fuel of social media too.

Giving in the form of high-quality contents is a great way to gain an advantage over your established competitors.

When you apply this advice, you’ll find that your startup will succeed pretty much faster.

Have An Awesome Customer Service
Customer service is a brilliant way to compete with the big guys.

For example, Zappos built a billion-dollar empire on their ability to deliver an excellent customer service alone.

In fact, delivering an excellent customer service is Zappos main company values.

There are thousands of negative customer service stories on the web, but only a very few people (if they ever existed) can say a bad thing about Zappos.

Here’s one of the amazing statements coming directly from the CEO.

“We believe that the speed at which a customer receives an online purchase plays a very important role in how that customer thinks about shopping online again in the future, so at Zappos.com, we have put a lot of focus on making sure the items get delivered to our customers as quickly as possible.

In order to do that, we warehouse everything that we sell, and unlike most other online retailers, we don’t make an item available for sale unless it is physically present in our warehouse.” – Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos.com, Inc.
Speed is one of the keys to delivering an excellent customer service.

STELLAservice conducted a response time report in 2011 and found that the average email response time for the to 100 Internet companies was 17 hours.

Frost reported that 41% of consumers surveyed listed being put on hold as their biggest frustration.

So make sure you don’t leave customers waiting.

No company is perfect. You’ll have some unsatisfied customers.

How you deal with tough customers can have a big negative or positive impact on your reputation.

Don’t be afraid to admit mistakes if the blame is on you.

And sometimes, the blame might be on the customer, but that doesn’t mean the customer is bad.

One unhappy customer can lead to 5 lost customers.

Even Amazon care about its customers.

“In 2007, an Amazon customer ordered a new PlayStation for his son for Christmas.

When the shipping company delivered the parcel, the customer was away and had a neighbor sign for the package.

The neighbor left the package outside the customer’s house (in which it soon disappeared).

When the customer realized what had happened, he was left in complete shock.

Even though Amazon was not to blame for this mistake, they were quick to resolve this by not only sending a new PlayStation in time for Christmas, but did not charge for the extra shipping.”
A recent survey found that 68% of consumers would react by telling family and friends about a bad experience by posting it on a social network.

And as each Facebook profile has an average of 229 friends, the reach of this experience can quickly reach thousands.

There is great value in ensuring you deliver a positive customer service.

RightNow Technologies 2011 Customer Experience Report found that 86% of U.S. adults are willing to pay more for a better customer experience and 73% of U.S. adults said a friendly customer service made them fall in love with a brand.

Not only will brands get happy, loyal customers but will see increased business.

Improving your customer service is the key to competing with the big companies.

Can’t wait to win your big competitors?

Start applying these tips today.  http://www.mountnow.com/compete-big-companies-win/#

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Understanding the Humble Nature of Jesus

Surrendering our own power and becoming more like Jesus

Written by Dan Lee on 04/10/2016
Series: Weekly Devotional
Tags: God, Power, Humility
You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had. Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being.

Philippians 2:5-7a
Power, like control, can become an idol in our lives. The world tells us to be powerful, to be fast, to be strong, and to be in control. Even just recently in the Olympics, we watched the worlds most physically powerful people come together to compete against each other and admired and envied the power they had. Though there is a time and a place for power in acts like sport, we so often desire power and lean on our own power which moves our focus away from God.

One of the best ways to resist the unhealthy desire for power in our lives is to model our lives after the humble nature of Jesus. His surrender of power, described by the Apostle Paul in Philippians, was one of the most amazing things he ever did!

How do we stay humble like Jesus? First, we have to understand in what ways he was humble…

1. Remember that He was God, yet still humble
Jesus was not just a good man or even a great man. In Matthew 28:18, he said, “All power has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.” He was God in the flesh – the One who had existed for all eternity, the great “I AM” (John 8:58). He created the world and maintains it (Hebrews 1:2-3).

2. He humbled himself to become a human
Yet all that greatness, the immortal and eternal, was somehow squeezed into a human body.

In his time on earth, Jesus chose to limit his power. He healed some sick people and performed many miracles. He had all the power and yet He lived His life under submission to the Father. Jesus gave them this answer: “Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does” (John 5:19).

3. Know that He gave up his life
“When he appeared in human form, he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross” (Philippians 2:7b-8). Jesus’ captors beat him, taunted him, brutally whipped him, and then nailed his hands and feet to a cross. He resisted the temptation to reveal himself the as Almighty God. His plan from the beginning was to give his life for us, because “There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” (John 15:13).

4. He was exalted
“Therefore, God elevated him to the place of highest honor and gave him the name above all other names, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue declare that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:9-11). What a great day that will be, when every human being honors Jesus as Lord. And to extent we imitate Jesus‘ humility, we will be exalted: “So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time he will lift you up in honor” (1 Peter 5:6).

Pray this week:

Father, the desire for power is so strong. Help me to marvel at how Jesus humbled himself, and through your Holy Spirit’s power, to humble myself just as he did.

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How More Than 160 Fortune 500 Leaders Schedule Their Days

When you’re in charge of a business, you’re all too familiar with that feeling of racing to catch up. But no matter how hard you push or how much you work, you never seem to reach the finish line.

There’s always more marketing to do, more emails to send, another meeting around the corner, more prospects to qualify…

Terminal “behinderness” is an affliction that generates heart-pounding stress and makes you wonder how the most successful founders and leaders manage to be so productive while you feel like you’re constantly drowning.

A lot of it comes down to how they structure their days.

Curious about how some of the top business leaders spent their time, John Rampton (CEO of Due) and Chris Stowell (VP of the International Center for Management and Organization Effectiveness) conducted a survey of 163 Fortune 500 companies to find out how leaders in the industry schedule their days to stay productive.

Survey respondents included leaders of Adobe, American Express, AT&T, Bank of America, Boeing, BP, Delta, DHL, FedEx, Google, HP, John Deere, Kellogg’s, Johnson & Johnson, and Twitter.

Here’s how the respondents’ average day stacks up – and things you could learn to make your day more productive.

The average leader rolls out of bed at 6:15 a.m. to get an early start on the day. Those early hours are important because they tend to be free of most distractions and give you an opportunity to get focused.

If you really want to maximize this window of opportunity, get up just a bit earlier. A 5 a.m. wake-up time will allow you to squeeze in more time for reflection, breakfast, exercise, and getting a jump-start on communication.

Apple CEO Tim Cook takes his early mornings to the extreme by starting each day sending and responding to emails at 4:30 a.m.

Anna Wintour, Editor-in-Chief for Vogue, starts her mornings at 5:45 a.m. with an hour-long tennis match.
You always hear that exercise should be a part of your daily routine because it controls weight, boosts your mood, provides energy, and can help you focus. Don’t ignore that advice.

Thanks to technology, we sit a lot nowadays. In fact, those working in tech-related jobs or office positions spend an average of 9.3 hours sitting each day. That doesn’t take into account the sitting you do at home after the workday ends.

This type of activity is so bad for your health and energy that Harvard Business Review has called it “the smoking of our generation.”

If you think you don’t have time to exercise, think again. Those extremely busy executives, CEOs, and founders fit in an average of 45 minutes of working out every day. If they can fit almost an hour of exercise into their jam-packed schedules, then you can manage a 30-45 minute workout.

In Tim Ferriss’ 2010 book The 4-Hour Body, Ferriss spoke about a meeting with Virgin Group CEO Richard Branson, where Ferriss asked him how he could be more productive. Branson responded with “work out” and explained that his workout routine gave him at least 4 more hours of productive time each day.

Leading by example, former National Geographic CEO John Fahey regularly invited his employees to join him on a daily afternoon bike ride.

70% of top leaders take the time to eat breakfast to fuel their day. Among those who eat in the morning, most will take something with them or eat on the go. Breakfast is a crucial part of getting a strong start each day, especially if your morning routine includes exercise.

Add a balanced, protein-rich breakfast to your routine and reap the health benefits, such as:

Balanced blood sugar levels, which helps maintain your energy throughout the day
Improved short-term memory and mood
Faster recovery and renewed energy after workouts
John Mackey, founder of Whole Foods, starts his day with a nutrient-rich breakfast smoothie consisting of kale or spinach leaves, soy milk, almond, oats, and fresh fruit. Take a cue from those Fortune 500 leaders and fill your tank before you head out.

Making Better Use of the Commute to Work

Being the boss gives you the freedom to work wherever you’d like, but most of the time, you’re probably in the control room at your business or traveling from one location to another. That means you have a regular commute to and from work.

The average leader has a commute time of around 25 minutes, and they make good use of that time as part of their workday. Some of the ways you can be productive during your commute include:

Catching up on podcasts or listening to business-related audio books
Hands-free calling to get a head start on critical or time-sensitive issues
Reading and responding to emails (for those who use public transit)
Researching and preparing for presentations
Any work-related activity completed during your commute can free up precious time for other projects later in the day.

The act of simply paying attention to other people while you’re on the go also offers a lot of insight and creative inspiration, which could help you be more productive at the office. “By simply keeping your eyes and ears open while you travel, you can get a grasp of what people are reading/wearing/listening to,” notes Paul Ellett on the popular Successful Blog.

Setting the Day’s Pace By Eating a Frog
When some founders and executives arrive at the office, they immediately dig into their email and jump into morning meetings, leaving the more complicated tasks for the afternoon. If that sounds like your typical morning, then you’re making a common mistake in managing peak productivity vs. optimal energy.

Research has proven that the first few hours after waking is the time when your brain is at its sharpest and you’re more likely to stay on task. Why waste that time on meetings or reading email?

This research is backed by other studies that found that participants perform their best early in the day.

Human psychology researchers confirm that our willpower is a finite resource. Once you deplete it, it’s gone for the rest of the day. That’s why you need to focus during early hours on the highest-priority items of your to-do list.

This is why many of the leaders who responded to the survey set aside their early morning hours for creating goals and strategies for the day, week, month, or year. The average leader dedicates about 25 minutes of their morning to strategizing and planning.

During that time, they tackle important tasks and projects while holding off on emails, calls, and texts until lunchtime.

A famous Mark Twain quotation goes something like this: “Eat a live frog first thing in the morning, and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.”

That should translate to using your energy and focus to get your biggest tasks or hurdles out of the way first and foremost.

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That’s the approach Lifehacker founder Gina Trapani takes. Each day she starts out with a list of critical items that need to be completed. When she finishes her day, she creates a new list for the next day.

Learning to say no is also an important part of managing your day and staying productive. Patty Stonesifer, former chairwoman of the Smithsonian Institution Board of Regents, has a secret for getting more done each day: know what not to do.

“…I do a short exercise with every request that comes through. I ask myself ‘If I had to do this today, would I be glad?’” says Stonesifer. “For most requests, the answer is no (because I know I should be working on the big stuff), which means I say no to most extraneous requests.”

Dealing with the Distraction of Communication

Email and texting have become the dominant forms of communication for business owners. The average leader of a Fortune 500 spends around 2.5 hours each day reading and responding to emails and text messages. Some spend even more time. That’s acceptable as long as it contributes to your daily productivity and keeps the workflow going.

Here are some ways the most successful leaders handle email and communication to stay productive:

Respond with brevity. Be concise in every response to reduce time spent on communication.
If a response will be lengthy or has the potential to require a discussion, make it a phone call instead.
Schedule time for emails. Leaving email open all day makes for quick responses but creates constant distractions.
Only spend time on communication when it’s scheduled. Don’t block out long, open windows, but rather small windows throughout the day to respond.
Hire a full-time or virtual assistant to handle your communications for you.
Taking Control of Meetings

The average Fortune 500 leader spends 2.5 hours per day in meetings. If you look at the previous statistic on time spent on email and the phone, 5 hours or more per day may not be allotted to direct work productivity, unless you design meetings and modes of communication to be highly productive.

In a 2011 interview with Wired, Google cofounder Larry Page discussed his decision to get rid of his assistant due to the excessive scheduling of undesired meetings. “Most people aren’t willing to ask me if they want to meet with me,” Page said. “They’re happy to ask an assistant.”

After that, if someone wanted a meeting, they had to approach Page directly.

Creating Structure and Order with a Winning Team

More than 50% of Fortune 500 leaders believe that teamwork is essential to meeting productivity goals, and they spend time each day directly engaging with teams and employees on their tasks. As a result, they only spend about an hour and 45 minutes on average on personal tasks and projects.

Cultivating teams and boosting collaboration are some of the most important skills of a successful, strategic leader. Team effort is important for any company with multiple employees to thrive, and it can significantly impact business strategies and productivity. The most effective leaders directly engage their teams and spend a good chunk of their time supporting employees and encouraging them to succeed.

Costco CEO Jim Sinegal is a normal guy loved by his employees. His name tag simply says “Jim,” he works in a plain office with no walls, and he has a single-page contract that clearly states how even he can be terminated for not getting his work done.

He even takes a modest six-figure salary, because he figured that he shouldn’t earn more than 12 employees working the sales floor. By working closely with employees and focusing on collaboration each and every day, Jim has grown the Costco brand at an impressive rate.

Bill Keller, former executive editor for The New York Times, understood that it took an exemplary team to get things done, and as such, he relied heavily on those who worked with him. “Of course,” said Keller, “that only works if you surround yourself with smart, competent people.”

Refueling During the Day

Leaders of some of the most well-known companies may not have the best dietary habits: 52% described their diet as “somewhat healthy.” Still, many understand the importance of keeping their energy up throughout the workday:

41% eat a snack in the morning
45% work an afternoon snack into their schedule
85% of leaders take a break for lunch in the middle of the day
Taking those breaks isn’t just about consuming nutrient-rich foods to maintain energy. Breaks for snacks and lunch are also some of the best times to reflect and strategize for the remainder of the day.

It’s also a good time to work on personal tasks. Jana Eggers, former executive for Intuit and cofounder of SureCruise.com, recommends dedicating some time each day to an activity or hobby that you find fulfilling.

“A fulfilling hobby can also be a healthy distraction from the day-to-day grind,” says Eggers. “It can be cooking, gardening, singing…something that you can focus on and master. The important thing is to pick something big and be dedicated to it.”

From Gaming to Gardening, Personal Development is Important

Maintaining some sense of work/life balance is crucial. Even the most successful Fortune 500 leaders and executives spend an average of an hour and 45 minutes each day on personal projects or tasks that are important to them.

That doesn’t necessarily mean that an entire block of time has to be set aside for personal development.

It can be scattered throughout the day, like the example above of using your break or snack time for personal projects.

Ram Shriram, one of Google’s founding board members, recommends keeping a diary to improve your personal performance. In an interview with Business 2.0, he said that you can’t focus on beating yourself up. Instead, use the diary as a point of growth to “create a kind of manual for what has worked and what hasn’t in your business. Documenting it ensures we’ll always remember it.”

This practice doesn’t have to be limited to workplace productivity, as it can improve other aspects of your personal life, too. When something comes to mind, find a pen and get it on paper.

Get it out of your head so you can focus on more important tasks.

Stephen Gillett, former CIO of Starbucks and “Guild Master” for Google[x] recommends that you fit some multiplayer gaming into your daily routine and use lessons from gaming to teach you how to be a more effective leader.

In an interview with Wired, Gillett talks about how his position as a top Guild Master in World of Warcraft translated to a total immersion course in leadership: “I used to worry about not having what I needed to get a job now. Now I think of it like a quest; by being willing to improvise I can usually find the people and resources I need to accomplish the task.”

Researchers and scientists have long theorized that multiplayer games can teach players both leadership and problem solving skills in addition to sparking creativity and innovation.

Some of the most successful Fortune 500 executives make time for games like World of Warcraft – and so can you.

Winding Down and Letting Go

Every workday comes to an end at some point. For some executives, that means switching off when they leave the office. Others keep working until it’s time to sleep, which is around 11:40 p.m. for most Fortune 500 leaders.

How time is spent outside of typical working hours can vary, and it’s a little different for everyone. Carol Smith, CRO for Harper’s Bazaar, has a useful tactic for balancing productivity and free time. She comes into the office on Sunday for around 4 hours to tackle a lot of work without distractions, “…so when I come in on Monday, it’s like my vacation day.”

Before leaving the office each night, Kenneth Chenault, CEO of American Express, takes time to reflect and write down three things that he wants to accomplish the next day. This effectively sets up his attack strategy for the morning.

But what about when it’s time for the work to finally end?

Arianna Huffington refuses to burn the midnight oil. In an interview with Slate she says, “My single most-effective trick for getting things done is to stop doing what I'm doing and get some sleep. There is nothing that negatively affects my productivity and efficiency more than lack of sleep. After years of burning the candle on both ends, my eyes have been opened to the value of getting some serious shut-eye.”

At the end of the day, AOL CEO Tim Armstrong flips the switch and puts his work away. After arriving home from the office around 8 p.m., Armstrong spends time reading to his daughters. “They usually…get two or three books.”

Bill Gates takes a similar approach and believes that reading in the nighttime hours is part of the routine process of winding down to sleep. He reads topics ranging from public health to shipping containers to pull his mind away from business.

Before finally shutting down each day, Buffer CEO and co-founder Joel Gascoigne relaxes with a 20-minute walk in the evening to get exercise and disconnect from the daily grind.

This is a wind down period, and allows me to evaluate the day’s work, think about the greater challenges, gradually stop thinking about work, and reach a state of tiredness,” he writes in a post on his blog.

Facebook’s COO Sheryl Sandberg believes that eliminating nighttime distractions will help you focus more on sleep, so she completely shuts down her phone at night even if, as she admits, it’s “painful to do so.”

Make the Most of Your Day

As you can see from some of the best, brightest, and most successful leaders’ daily routines, structuring your day to achieve maximum productivity isn’t just about what you do or how you do it between the hours of 9 and 5. The most accomplished business leaders create rituals for their days, starting from the moment their feet touch the floor in the morning, to the moment their head hits the pillow at night.

While everyone has a different routine that works for them, it’s important to formulate and sustain habits that will improve your work/life balance, professional focus, and personal development. These are all examples you can learn from and replicate in your daily schedule to achieve greater success both at work and at home.

WRITTEN BY 
Sujan Patel

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