We often have a lot of things that we would like to do – some short term and some part of our long term goals. There are only so many hours in the day. Knowing how to dedicate those hours to goals that actually matter is very important to achieve success.
Everyone has the same hours given to them in a day and how we spend those hours defines what we are going to achieve. You see many people working non-stop yet some of them succeed while others don’t. What do you think sets these people apart?
The people who are crushing it have realized the importance of prioritizing the tasks they dedicate their time to. The importance of time management is something that when learned will help you achieve wonders.
“Think of your priorities, not in terms of what activities you do, but when you do them. Timing is everything.”
To achieve what you want, it is really important to learn how to prioritize – there will always be a plethora of things you want to do but they will never all be at the same level in the priority chart. You need to learn to teach yourself to decide on what is important and stick to doing that.
Under the guise to achieving success and doing as much as we can, we’ve all had that feeling where we’re working at an incredible pace and intensity. Even after that, we see ourselves making very little progress.
The reason it feels like our progress is low or we are making no progress at all is because it is exactly that. The notion that we can possibly be doing a million things back-to-back and still be effective is preposterous, to say the least.
People often mistake being busy with being productive. When you keep all your tasks at the same level of priority, it is easy to be sucked down the path of being busy rather than being productive. Busy without productivity is one of the major reasons for failure. It is sad because you won’t know that the issue is you, the feeling of doing a lot and still failing is enough to demotivate you into doing nothing.
It is Important to Remember That We Have Constraints
You need not be doing the most to succeed, you need to be doing the things that you need to succeed. Individuals and businesses alike need to prioritize their focus. As individuals or as growing businesses we have constraints in terms of resources and time.
None of these things come in abundance so we need to be highly vigilant when doling out our time and resources to certain tasks.
It is highly important for a person or business to spend their time on the most important areas that can drive success.
“In all planning, you make a list and you set priorities.”
To work our best and to make the most with the constraints we need to take into account, it is important to not take up unnecessary work. This applies to professionals heavily. When you are working with others, it can be difficult to say ‘no’ to extra work that keeps coming your way but you need to understand that it is not rude or unprofessional to say ‘no’ time to time when you have your own important tasks you would rather be doing.
We somehow grow up with the notion that we need to fill our plates as high as we can – that might come with attending weddings and buffets and trying to make the most of the spread. It doesn’t work in the professional sense though, all it will do is overwhelm you. Do not take on more work than you can manage to do.
“You have to decide what your highest priorities are and have the courage – pleasantly, smilingly, non-apologetically – to say ‘no’ to other things. And the way you do that is by having a bigger ‘yes’ burning inside. The enemy of the ‘best’ is often the ‘good’.”
Otherwise what happens is that all the unnecessary tasks keep us from doing the work that we are actually supposed to do. It also stems from our inability and hesitance to say ‘No.’ Most people have a hard time saying ‘no’ to requests, if you are one of them, then you better start asserting yourself and start turning down requests that take away from your productivity. If you start doing extra work for everyone else, you will never be able to get the free time you need to enjoy your life or take care of your priorities or to take care of yourself. No matter how busy you are, you need to find time for self-care.
How Does Prioritizing Your Tasks Work
Like we have already established, it is really important to know what tasks need to be done when. You can use any indicators that make the most sense to you when setting priorities. My process includes dividing all the tasks into high-priority, priority, and low-priority. You can also call them must-do, should-do, would-like-to-do – whatever clicks with you. Give them a number, or assign a letter or color to make it simpler for you to consult the list.
A is high-priority,
B is priority,
C is low-priority,
now write down the letters next to the tasks; now you know which ones to do first. This also helps isolate the tasks to further organize your tasks in a workable fashion.
One thing to keep in mind is to not add more than 2-3 tasks in the high-priority section. Chances are that the high-priority tasks are the most stressful ones and there is only so much stress we can handle in a day. If all your tasks for the day fall in that section then you are most probably setting yourself up for failure.
“When you have too many top priorities, you effectively have no top priorities.”
Also, try to get the MITs (Most Important Tasks) out of your way first. Many people just try to handle various activities as per their instinct or according to whatever they are in the mood for and end up never doing the important things. Later, they might blame it on ‘not having enough time’, which obviously is untrue.
It can be tempting to do all the smaller tasks first so that you have more completed tasks on your list. While it might seem like a good idea and might make you feel that that will make you feel accomplished and push you toward working more, it is rarely what will happen. The reality is that your mind will be tired doing a myriad of mundane tasks and by the time you reach the important and heavy work for the day, your mind will not be at the sharpest causing you to procrastinate.
“Things which matter most must never be at the mercy of things which matter least.”
-Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
For example, imagine that you are required to submit a report by tomorrow evening. But you have a few personal activities that are pending, including watching a movie, a send-off party, and visiting your friend who is in the hospital.
Now, if you give priority to your personal activities, then your report might not be ready by evening the next day. This can lead to various complications on the professional front while not tending to your personal work might do the same to your personal life. To avoid this, you have to arrange the activities as per their importance to you.
Here are the tasks you have –
- Complete the report
- Watch a movie
- Attend the send-off party
- Visit your friend in the hospital
Tasks like watching a movie can be done any other day so it has the least importance in the bunch. Next, visiting a friend who is at the hospital may be necessary. But again, since you can visit them on any of the upcoming days depending on how serious they are and how long they are going to be in the hospital, you can postpone it. If this friend is close to you, then it will be a priority. See that this particular task has a lot more branches to consider to make a decision than a simple root cause.
Next, the send-off party that is scheduled today can be one of your priorities since you won’t be able to attend it on any other day. And lastly, the report will come at the top of the priority list since it is related to your work.
“In all planning, you make a list and you set priorities.”
Now that you have identified the priority of the activities, the only thing left to do is to follow them. So, start doing your project today and check-in at the party later in the night for a few hours if you can’t put it off. Tomorrow, you can continue with the project and finish it off.
Then, you can visit your friend in the hospital after you submit your report. Most hospitals will have visiting hours so that is another thing you have to take into account. If the hours are in the evening, you can drop by before you go to the party.
You can then finish the day by watching a movie late at night. And by following this tactic, you will never make an excuse for ‘not having enough time’ when required to do something within a time limit. That being said, managing all the things in quick successions takes a lot of determination, self-restraint, and a sense of commitment and accountability.
This becomes easier over time. If you are new to the game, you might have to let go of the party altogether along with the movie because the report and a friend bound to the hospital will take precedence.
Without priorities, the tasks we have lose their luster. For us to do our best and keep working toward our goal, we need to identify the tasks that require most of our attention. Because without knowing what tasks will help us achieve our long-term goals and dreams, it becomes easy to be sucked into doing a lot of unrelated tasks daily without making an actual impact. Prioritizing tasks makes sure that you do not stray from the path of achieving success.
5 Non-Negotiable Things You Need to Do Before Your Bedtime
What you do before going to bed can help you end the day on a positive note even if it wasn’t a particularly positive day, and will also help you set the tone for the next day. The activities you do also help you to immediately fall asleep without lying in bed tossing and turning.
If you have had a good night’s sleep, most of your health problems will go away. The problem with the start-up and entrepreneurial culture is that we try to work as much as we can by sacrificing everything – food, sleep, fun, and eventually health.
“A well-formulated nighttime routine will help you wind down and sleep better.”
Good sleep helps you start your next day well-rested, bright, fresh and stress-free. If you have been trying to wake up early, the first step is to go to bed early to get in a full sleep cycle.
If having a morning routine is important to take care of yourself and make the most of your day, so is having a night routine. What you do at night helps you wrap your day up feeling satisfied and that helps you fall asleep better which then helps you wake up feeling energized and motivated.
A well-rested body and a well-rested mind will help you achieve a lot more than working 24-hours non-stop and this is why you should always do these things before you turn in for the night.
1. Express Gratitude
Expressing gratitude is an activity that is becoming more and more popular with the millennials. With fast-paced lives, always running to get somewhere or get something done – we have forgotten to stop and appreciate the little things in our lives.
In the race for getting what we want, we fail to show gratitude for the things we have. Being appreciative of what you have achieved, what you have, people you love and who love you can fill you with joy and optimism. An optimistic approach toward things helps you move forward with a renewed vigour and helps you lead a better life.
“When I’m worried and cannot sleep I count my blessings instead of sheep.”
You shouldn’t only be appreciative of external factors, you need to acknowledge and motivate yourself too. While I suggest giving yourself positive affirmations every morning, acknowledging your achievements for the day when you are about to go to bed will help you feel better about yourself and will help you curb the always rising self-doubt.
There are gratitude journals that give you prompts about things to write or you can write three things you are thankful for each day.
2. Set Goals for the Next Day
I have talked in detail about why you should prepare your to-do lists in the night, but here’s the gist. At the end of the day, you know what you have achieved and what remains. This gives you a chance to revise the list and make a new game plan for the next day.
When you make a list at night, you can spend your time in the morning focusing on yourself rather than working out a schedule for your day. You will wake up with a schedule and a sense of direction. Mornings should anyway be dedicated to your health and well-being.
3. Read for 45 Minutes to 1 Hour
If you want to learn about anything, read.
If you want to grow, read.
If you want to polish your skills, read.
If you want to sharpen your mind, read.
I have always loved reading and keep looking for ways to read more because there is so much to read and I never feel like I have enough time to read them all. Only reading isn’t important, comprehending what you read is as important, especially if you are reading non-fiction.
Reading isn’t limited to only books – with the internet comes a ton of reading material to choose from. With successful people telling the world what they read and with them sharing their reading habits, everyone trying to make it as an entrepreneur has started to pick up more books, which is a good thing.
If you can’t find time to read during the day, then allot 45 minutes to an hour before your bedtime to reading. This will make sure that you have a schedule and help you get some reading done every day.
Meditating is one of the easiest ways to get in touch with your inner self. It lets you spend time with your own thoughts and emotions. When you focus on your inner self, you give yourselves the opportunity to take time out to sort your thoughts and acknowledge your emotions. You don’t keep pushing things that are bothering you and you don’t file unacknowledged emotions to the back of your mind to crop up later.
“Man should forget his anger before he lies down to sleep.”
You start becoming more aware of your emotional and mental health and learn to let go of things that might have bothered you throughout the day. It also helps you become more focused and improves your concentration. It helps you feel in control of your life and yourself.
5. Go on a Walk
Walks are a great way to sort your thoughts while getting some exercise in. Going on walks after dinner helps with digestion and because your body gets worked up a little it always helps you sleep better.
Talking an evening walk or an after-dinner walk is one of the most common routines that people share – spending time in nature, getting some fresh air, working the food down, and getting some exercise are few of the many reasons.
Bonus: Set Your Alarm
This is an obvious one. But, I would suggest revising your alarms every few days. Waking at the same time if you recently have started needing to put in more hours at work just doesn’t make sense. Your body won’t be getting the full rest it needs.
“Finish each day before you begin the next, and interpose a solid wall of sleep between the two.”
-Ralph Waldo Emerson
Yes, waking up early is important, but what is more important is getting complete rest. If you need to wake up late then, by all means, change your alarm to a later hour.
Having a setlist of non-negotiable things you need to do before going to bed helps you be mindful of what energy you carry with yourself to sleep. Try going to bed pissed at things and try going to bed feeling peaceful – you will feel the difference in how long it takes to fall asleep, in the thoughts that enter your mind, and in the quality of sleep you get.
And of course, don’t forget to brush and floss and wash your face!
7 Reasons to Leave Your Comfort Zone
Everyone is afraid of leaving their comfort zone because your comfort zone is more comfortable, right? What we don’t realize is that we learn things when we find courage enough to step out of our comfort zones.
“The hardest thing to do is leaving your comfort zone. But you have to let go of the life you’re familiar with and take the risk to live the life you dream about.”
When you dream of something big, you will often have to do things that make you uncomfortable, that scare you. It doesn’t mean that those things are bad, chances are that they won’t be as difficult as you think. Some level of fear and anxiety is important for us to keep moving forward, to make progress, doing things that take us out of our comfort zone is a way to have those feelings propelling us forwards.
If things haven’t been working for you up until now, then you have nothing to lose by trying something new because to achieve something new, you have to do something that you have never done before. Take the first step, dabble your toe into the sea, if you still feel scared out of your minds then you can always return to your safe space.
As long as you keep trying to get out there, you are good to go. Here are some reasons to take the plunge.
“Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.”
-Neale Donald Walsch
1. You Won’t Regret Missing Out on a Potential Opportunity
When you refuse to level your comfort zone, there will be a lot of things you can miss. You cannot keep doing the same things you do right now and expect to achieve bigger dreams. If you have a big vision, then you will have to constantly be stepping out of your comfort zone.
Being a little uncomfortable means you are going to be learning a few new things. For example, if you have always been scared of public speaking then putting your ideas out there in meetings and presentations will be difficult. You will have to step out of your comfort zone, be a little uncomfortable, deal with a bit of anxiety, but eventually, you will be comfortable enough to speak up among people who hold power.
2. It Will Help Boost Your Confidence
When you get out of your comfort zone, you will learn new things, you will get new experiences, and eventually, you will put a new skill to your name. Having a new skill will boost your confidence because now you aren’t scared of doing something like you earlier were.
For the same example as above, now that you have learned to step out there and speak up, it will give you the confidence to put out your ideas and views in front of people and you will eventually get to take on bigger projects.
3. You Will Feel Self-Fulfilled
People who are stuck in their comfort zones often have a weight of the feeling of underachievement over whatever work they do. The regret that they couldn’t do something because it made them uncomfortable makes them feel that they are not quite living their life to the fullest.
When you step out of your comfort zone, you grow, find the momentum to move forward, find a better level of productivity – all of these things lead you to a sense of self-fulfillment, this gives you a feeling of satisfaction.
4. You Will Become More Productive
When you learn to be okay with the discomfort that comes in the beginning – when you do something that makes you step out of your comfort zone – you will eventually become more productive.
Getting out there requires you to be more focused, to develop self-confidence, and to believe in yourself – these things push you to do things you never thought were possible. When you learn to make yourself be heard even with the nagging discomfort of speaking in the public, you will eventually increase your productivity because you can get started on whatever it is that you wanted to discuss instead of waiting for someone else to come up with it or you to find someone alone or you to wait to develop enough confidence to broach the subject.
5. You Will Learn People Don’t Care a Lot
One of the reasons that people are scared of doing something is the thought of people judging them. Everyone has a lot on their plates, yes, they might look your way but nobody has the time to keep thinking about you. If they do, then you anyway shouldn’t be caring about their opinion.
You have to convince yourself to not let other people’s opinions sway your decisions. When you start doing things because they are going to help you grow, you will learn that what others say doesn’t hold much weight. You will learn to eliminate fear.
6. You Will Find New Things That You Love
You found your current passion by doing something you didn’t always do. Unless you try new things, you will never find things you enjoy that get your mind whirring. To learn more about ourselves, we need to keep testing our limits.
By stepping out, we are really connecting with our inner selves more. Because the more we go exploring, the more we are going to find out.
7. You Will Start Finding it Easier
As you start putting yourself out there more and more, it will start getting easier. You gain self-confidence and eliminate fear by venturing out of your comfort zone and these things that help you grow as a person will make the process easier.
The next time you have to do something uncomfortable to achieve something, it won’t be as difficult as the first time because now you know that the sense of achievement that follows the fear is totally worth doing it.
“The biggest rewards in life are found outside your comfort zone. Live with it. Fear and risk are prerequisites if you want to enjoy a life of success and adventure.”
The best things in life often happen just out of your comfort zone. It’s ok to be scared of new things. Being scared means you’re about to do something really brave and new, which will give you a new experience and will teach you a thing or two.
If you want to change, your life to change, then you have to be willing to be uncomfortable because by leaving your comfort zone behind, by taking a leap of faith, by risking something – you will find out who you are truly capable of. Unless you face something difficult, you will never know your truest potential.
5 Things that Can Make Your Anxiety Worse
Anxiety has become so common among people that common cold doesn’t seem that common anymore. Feelings of worry, nervousness, or unease about things are very easy to be found. Human emotions have become more suppressed with the want of succeeding in life, we have lost touch with our true selves.
We have become obsessed with uncertain outcomes that give us a feeling of anxiety. The strong desire or concern to do something or for something to happen that is not even in our control is what takes over our rational thinking most of the times. We aren’t helping it with our habits either.
Our lifestyles have become so cumbersome that things that worsen our anxieties have become more acceptable. We don’t even realize what some of the innocent-seeming habits we possess can be the cause of our anxiety. Let’s discuss some of those today.
1. Irregular Sleep
Everyone is after busy lives these days, having no time to rest has become the new hip. People brag about how little sleep they get. It is sort of becoming a competition where we top the other person by telling them how little sleep we are getting. Having no sleep pattern messes up our body, this is something that we will eventually realize.
Working hard is misconstructed as late nights and early mornings, meaning no rest whatsoever. Another reason that people have difficulty falling asleep is spending time on social media with fear of missing out (FOMO) lingering over our shoulders – this has been seen to be a reason for anxiety in many people.
“The minute anyone’s getting anxious I say, ‘You must eat and you must sleep.’ They’re the two vital elements for a healthy life.”
Worrying about our work, life, and whatnot already makes it difficult to fall asleep for people with anxiety, now, add to that spending hours scrolling through various apps that cause more anxiety – the result is irregular sleep.
Irregular sleep doesn’t only impact our physical health negatively, but our mental and emotional health is affected as well – anxiety being one of them.
2. Stress and Conflict
Stress has become a great part of everyone’s life. There are a lot of things that have started taking over people’s will to spend time for themselves, even when free there is something to think about. Personal and professional are not the only worries for people now, economical, political, environmental, etc. all take precedence because of people becoming more aware.
“It is not a daily increase, but a daily decrease. Hack away at the inessentials.”
It is a good thing, obviously, but we don’t know how to stop or when to stop. Knowing the line when we take our thinking to the level of it becoming harmful to us is becoming more difficult. Not only that people have been becoming less patient because of always being in a rush to be somewhere, but this has also disrupted communication among people.
Between what is said and not meant, and what is meant and not said – conflicts are rising – important things are often lost and actual thoughts forgotten. The fear of saying something other than what you want to, of offending someone, of uncountable other things – stops people from even trying to put their ideas across.
“Peace is not the absence of conflict, it is the ability to handle conflict by peaceful means.”
On the other hand, the ease of putting your thoughts out there easily through social media has also made people speak (or type) without thinking. Lack of communication can cause a lot of problems not only in your personal life but your professional life as well – so many people have lost jobs because of one wrong tweet they sent out without thinking. All of these things, make your anxiety worse.
Be mindful of what you put out and be mindful of what you let yourself invest your energy in.
3. Watching and/or Reading a Lot of Negative News and/or Stories
All of us have our fair share of problems. This makes starting our day with optimism difficult. Clearing our mind of negativity or negative thoughts is something everyone is seeking right now. You need a positive attitude to take on your day with vigour.
News usually doesn’t bring you happy things. Reading or watching News first thing in the morning isn’t a good idea because it somehow will set the tone for the day. There’s not much you can do about a lot of sad things that will be shown. You need to learn to not let it affect your day.
Some people fall into the rabbit-hole of reading or watching one sad story after another – may it be in the form of novels, articles, videos, audiobooks, etc. – this can often lead to us not feeling good about a lot of things. Anxiety reaches the roof as you go on reading. After you close the book or whatever it is that is bringing you the negativity, you can feel your anxiety levels rising.
“Quit sharing bad news and gossip you aren’t a garbage truck.”
If you are someone who doesn’t know when to stop when reading or watching what is wrong with the world or people or horrific situations, you might want to look for ways to not let yourself continue with the habit. It is detrimental to your mental health – it increases your anxiety which also happens because you become more paranoid.
4. Too Much Social Media
There is such a thing as “too much social media.” We have become so used to checking our phones every few minutes that if we don’t have our phones we immediately start feeling FOMO (Fear of missing out) which leads to anxiety. Following other people who flaunt their wealth will often make people feel dissatisfied from their own life.
“Social media is addictive precisely because it gives us something which the real world lacks: it gives us immediacy, direction, and value as an individual.”
People with insecurities can easily get their insecurities triggered which again leads to anxiety. This is why social media detox is becoming a thing. Social media detox allows people to gain perspective on their relationship with social networks. It also gives them a chance to deal with the anxiety caused by social media addiction.
5. Saying Yes to Too Many Things
You will often see “saying yes to things” in people’s goals list. The other extreme is a problem as well. Some people do not know how to say “no” which leads to them taking on more than they can deal with – overfilling their plates, biting more than they can chew – you can call it whatever you want, but it makes people more anxious.
Learning to say “no” is a skill all of us need to learn. Not saying “yes” might make us lose opportunities, but not saying “no” becomes detrimental to our health. Saying “yes” to everything also brings things we don’t want. Add saying “no” to negativity in your list so that you can learn to put yourself first.
“Learning to “just say no” to emotional reactions isn’t repression. Saying no means not engaging the frustration, anger, judgment, or blame. Without engagement, you won’t have anything to repress.”
When you understand that you are who you should be putting first, it becomes easier to accept or deny things. You don’t end up taking a lot more than you can do, and that helps you not be overwhelmed by things you need to do, which leads to our work not being associated with the feeling of anxiety.
We need to make lifestyle changes to make our life more meaningful and less stressful. You have to focus on things that bring more positivity in your life and help you achieve a state of mental peace. Habits that you form should help you become a better person, they shouldn’t be the cause of problems.
Learn to identify what causes you anxiety or even increases it a bit, and find a solution to either get it out of your life or at least find a way to deal with it better.
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