Life could be made a lot easier if you know how to tackle areas that drive a lot of people nuts. Let’s look at how you can rise above the system in the three key essential areas and still remain sane.
Become a proactive learner
Become a time management expert
Set and Achieve your goals
We have heard this one over and over again because the first thing you must do is actually have goals. Lots of people simply cruise along in life and don’t take charge of the direction in which they’re headed. It’s your life! So get a grip on it! Decide what you want and go after it. But in order to do that, we must understand the different methods that you can apply in order to move forward. Here are some questions that should help.
Each time you have a goal you want to reach, take a moment and ask yourself:
– What is my priority? What do I most want to achieve?
– Why do I want this?
– What do I have to do to realistically achieve this goal?
– What could get in my way? (distractions, obstacles, other commitments?)
– How will I handle each of these obstacles?
– What are the exact steps in my plan? (Make a list and write them in order)
– What help (advice, materials, resources, mentors) do I need?
– Where is the best place I can obese these?
– How can I approach step one?
– How much time do I need for step one? For the next steps (Be realistic but set an exact date for step one.)
To reach your goals, prepare a ‘to-do list for yourself. These are the steps you must take to reach your goals. Make sure that you aren’t setting yourself impossible targets either relevant to the time you have. Your goals should be challenging but realistic, as each successful goal will build momentum for the next. Each time you reach one of your goals celebrate in some way. Dance around your room? Watch a new movie? Even affirm yourself with a simple ‘Yes! oh yes! I did it!’ Psychologists refer to this as Positive Reinforcement. If you achieve a major goal like finishing an assignment or reaching a milestone in your business, give yourself a well-deserved break or a reward. You deserve it, reset and then set another goal!
Become a Proactive Learner
Rather than wait until the demands of life suddenly hit you, how would you like to be a step ahead? Well, if you use your resources and become a proactive learner, you won’t feel that your life is being controlled by everything but you. Being overwhelmed with a mountain of work is an awful feeling. Proactive learning and engagement mean you take the initiative and actually prevent trouble from happening. Here’s how you do it!
– Catch up immediately if you’ve missed any work or deadlines. Don’t let work accumulate. Knock it over as soon as possible and you say in control!
– Make sure your booklets and notes are readable and well organized. Keep valuable handouts and summaries of important information filed in the right paces. There’s nothing worse than spending half the night trying to find your notes the night before an assignment is due or a work project is to be delivered. Instead, experiment and create your own system of filing (one that makes sense to you). The key is personal preference and over the years I have seen so many different systems, find your fit!
– Each night, look over the day’s work you have completed and make sure to highlight anything that isn’t clear. This shouldn’t take too long and you’ll be able to clear areas of accumulating pressure or potential trouble. The next day, go and seek more help if you need it. If you’re in school, go and see your teacher get clarity on an issue. If you’re working on a project, approach your manager with a possible solution and see where improvements could be made. You’ll make a great impression and this approach will save you heaps of time down the track when it comes to further pressures and demands that arise.
– Get a jump ahead. Always look ahead in your schedule to see what is coming next and get a read on it early. You’ll walk into all situations with an advantage.
Become a Time Management Expert
Have you ever thought, ‘It’s impossible There just isn’t time to do everything!’? I bet you have! Often, the problem is that little bits of time are simply escaping here, there, and just about everywhere. And boy, do they add up! If you ‘work smart, you’ll save heaps of valuable time which can be split between more work and having time for yourself. It’s not impossible. The more aware you are of how to save time, the more time you’ll have. Here are a few good strategies:
– Don’t procrastinate!
Putting things off is a bad habit. Break it. If you have to spend an hour cleaning up your desk, finding a folder, and sorting out your room, this is time lost. It is better to briefly lean up at the end of each night so that you know where everything is and you can locate things quickly. Take the plunge! The sooner you start, the sooner you finish.
– Prepare a daily planner.
First of all, write in all of the ‘unmissable’ things. One of these could be even your favorite TV show. Make time for life’s basics such as eating and any commitments you have like sport or part-time work and don’t forget to record when you should be going to bed at night. The key is to actually have a plan and stick to it! You want to look at each hour of the day and fit in when and what you need to get done. Preferably try to get the most important things done first and work your way down to the things that are urgent (emails, TV shows, phone calls). If you have a plan then you will know where your time is going. You decide it’s your call!
– Be flexible.
Each day organize what you should concentrate on that night. Identify important tasks and prioritize. If you realized you haven’t allowed enough time, don’t freak out. Reorganize. Next time you’ll do better, that’s life.
– Consciously eliminate the time-wasters.
Distractions will take your focus away from your work and drag the night out. During the time you have allocated to genuine ‘hustle’, cut out the phone calls, emails, and things like trips to get food. If you need a snack or drink, have it already available in your room or desk.
– Time yourself.
Have a stopwatch on your desk and actually time yourself. It’s a good feeling to really get stuck into something and to have a definite goal. This makes it much easier to concentrate and you’ll get much more done this way. See it as a challenge.
– Remember to plan breaks.
Most people will need a short break after 30 to 40 minutes of intense concentration. You only need a 5-minute break from what you are doing. Stand up, go for a little walk, stretch, do some push-ups, but whatever you do make sure you return within 5 minutes. If you don’t take the break after 30 to 40 minutes, you may feel that you are pumping out more work but it may not be quality work.
– Keep moving.
When you finish a piece of work, don’t dawdle by and drift off into non-productive things. Move onto a new subject or a new piece of work. Set yourself a time limit and off you go! remember, it’s easier to concentrate and motivate yourself when you can see there is an end in sight.
I hope you really get a lot out of this series 🙂 In the next article, we will dive into new areas such as self-concept and self-esteem to get even more out of life.