goals, motivation, performance, personal development, planning, productivity, success, time management, time usage, Uncategorized

Summarising. Planning. Organising.

This year was bad for many people but I think, and hope, we are more optimistic than ever before looking forward to the new year. Some say that their experience tells them the next year may be even worse but what do we really know? We all learnt the lesson that it’s hard or even impossible to predict … well, anything! Yet we have vaccines and emergency antibody treatments for covid-19 now, and modern technology and developments in medicine indicate that we should worry less and suggest that things should get better. Surely media coverage doesn’t help, but remember that tragic news sells a lot better than good news.

As they say, we don’t see the world as it really is but as we want to see it.

The more you focus on positive things such as your interests, helping others, exercising and spending time with supportive and inspiring people (even if only online), the better and more positive you will feel.

SUMMARISING. PLANNING. ORGANISING.

These are some of my favourite words.

What did I learn from previous years? What mistakes did I make while planning?

LENTGHY LISTS

Quite often I ended up complicating my goals too much – by listing too many of them and then breaking them down into more steps and aspects, and that was just too much. Often, in January or other months, I simply didn’t have time to go back to these lengthy lists to check my progress.

Highlight 1-3 goals that are the most important for you and try to focus on them more.

If you end up with a lengthy list then it’s good to book some days or a weekend off every quarter to go through it, reflect on it and if necessary, make adjustments. Don’t just say: I will check this around the end of March. Put the date in your calendar. Block some time to actually do it.

I think it’s also great to send yourself reminders/summaries of goals by emailing your future self. I use www.futureme.org but I know there are a few other similar websites too. You can send yourself some reflection or write down what’s happening in your life right now and send it to yourself, say, in five years! How exciting is that?!

MAGICAL DATE

The 1st January shouldn’t be a magical date and it’s okay to start your goals in March, September or even at the end of December! We tend to focus so much on the 1st January that it’s almost like we feel things will get partly done on their own as we have the impression that Future Me will definitely be more energetic, healthy, optimistic, and so on … Also, if we don’t manage to do something on the 1st or 2nd of January we already feel like failures. Did you know that over 90% of people give up on their New Year’s resolutions by the end of January each year?!

The changes must be small or creating new habits won’t work. It can take from 30 to … over 200 days to create new habits or turn the bad ones into good ones, according to different research studies. No wonder many people give up quickly when they don’t see results. It’s hard but it’s doable.

Start implementing little changes but consistently.

TIME

We allow ourselves too little time for accomplishing goals while not properly fitting in time for emergencies and other things that come up as we live. According to some clever books on time usage, we shouldn’t make plans for at least 40% of our time because it will be swallowed up by unexpected things – a call from a friend, a visit to the doctor, feeling unwell, an unplanned trip, etc.

PLANNING YOUR BREAKS

Except for holidays at Christmas or going abroad to visit family, or a day off for a child’s birthday, I never planned an occasional day or days off just to re-charge and focus and relax (without travelling and visiting others). And this can help so much with energy levels and motivation during the year. I decided to take at least a day or a few days off every 2-3 months just to have more time for myself and my family. It would be great to fit in a block of time summarising goals and reflecting on them in such quieter ME TIME.

DEADLINE!

On the one hand, while planning, I often gave myself too much time with no deadlines or no clear deadline, even though I knew they are important. I sort of struggled to predict how much time something might take me to accomplish it. When you have two jobs and small children there is so much unpredictability and change in your life! Sometimes, on the other hand, I tried to implement the opposite, and gave myself too little time to do something that would take me a lot longer.

The best way is to do some research and also speak to people who achieved similar goals – how long did it take them? Someone managed to do a course in two months. Okay, great, but the next, even more important, step is to find out whether their circumstances are similar to yours. Probably not. We are all different. A deadline doesn’t have to be perfect if you have no idea how much time it may take you to do something but you need to learn by trial and error what may be most suitable for you. So go ahead and think it through, and put at least some reminders and deadlines in your calendar.

CHANGES!

It’s frustrating if you need to change your goals or cannot finish them completely but then we are living in this culture and society in which finishing projects and completing goals is highly prized. We try to teach our children that things have to be finished. However, this year I asked myself: why? We don’t need to finish everything just for the sake of finishing it. We don’t need to finish an exercise from a textbook if we don’t feel it’s useful. We don’t need to carry on fighting about goals that we realised are probably not as desirable as we used to think.

At the end of the year, I no longer check only what goals from December the previous year I managed to accomplish but also what I have ACHIEVED this year. We may not meet all or even half of our goals, but also last December we possibly didn’t know all the people we know now and their impact on our life; neither did we know many things that were going to affect us. All these factors sometimes make us come up with new aims and accomplish things we didn’t think of before. What I’m saying is you might not have met any of your goals but still achieved a lot during the year!

Happy New Year!

career, Efektywnosc, performance, personal development, Uncategorized

We are all part-time residents of the future! – and this is not a science fiction post. 

We are often told to live in the moment. However, we are also aware how important it is to spend some time on planning our future and working on our present self so our future self is happier and more successful.

Future planning happens in the frontal lobe of the brain. And guess what? That’s where anxiety is born too. Actually, if we think of it, this seems right because our future is unknown and can create some anxiety:

* we might be afraid to go for an interview
* we might be counting our finances and worry that they won’t stretch till next pay day.
* we might be scared that we may lose our job due to the pandemic, regardless of how secure our job may seem in reality.

adult-displeased-businesswoman-with-papers-in-light-modern-3808822

I recently came back to reading a great book Stumbling on Happiness by Daniel Gilbert. The author mentions how once doctors used to remove frontal lobes to make patients calmer. The anxiety was gone. Brilliant! Although they soon realised that planning skills were gone with it. If you asked a person who had their frontal lobe removed or damaged what they would do in the afternoon or tomorrow they would probably answer, “I don’t know.” And this is not because they hadn’t made their plans yet. They said it because they saw even the near future as we see infinity: far too abstract and confusing to grasp.
What I find very interesting is that our frontal lobe is the slowest to mature when we are little and also the first that deteriorates in old age!

How much time do you think we spend “in the future” per day on average?

man-in-blue-crew-neck-shirt-wearing-black-framed-eyeglasses-3905604

“When researchers actually ‘count’ the items that float in the average person’s stream of consciousness, they find that about 12% of our daily thoughts are about the future. In other words, every eight hours of thinking includes an hour of thinking about things that have yet to happen … which is to say that in some very real sense, each of us is a part-time resident of tomorrow.”(Stumbling on Happiness, D.Gilbert)

There is surely a lot to think about in the present already so why do we spend so much time on thinking about the future? Of course, conscious planning is a fantastic skill as long as we plan in details no more than a week ahead, and if we make daily plans it’s best to include a few items a day rather than a long list of things that must be done. Lengthy to-do lists create anxiety; they are not always doable because we don’t allow time for interruptions and emergencies that require flexibility.

Planning is good but so is daydreaming. It can help us to relax. Life is always better in our daydreams: getting the work we want, looking better and feeling happier, having more energy. It’s a good way to recharge our batteries. Daydream for too long, though, and you may waste a lot of valuable time. It’s all about balance.

We now know that we tend to think approximately 12% of our time about the future, which is quite a lot considering how busy many of us are. Maybe that’s a reminder for us to stop focusing on the future so much, especially when many of these thoughts are worries and what-ifs , and are not necessary in most cases. Dealing with this issue can help to create some extra real time for ourselves.

And this has just given me an idea to one day write a post about dealing with “what-ifs” more effectively. Please let me know in the comments if this would interest you.

career, goals, grit, motivation, performance, personal development, success

Attitude is the KEY

I’ve started to exercise a little and drink a lot more water recently and this helps me to stay more positive and energetic for longer during the day. A friend of mine said that she would also like to start exercising to lose her post-pregnancy weight but I’ve noticed that quite often she feels overwhelmed, as though losing a bigger amount of weight while looking after two small children is almost like mission impossible.

I think that the first thing that bring us closer to reaching our goals is our ATTITUDE. Your mindset, attitude and outlook are more than critical in reaching your goals. Any goals that you set for yourself.

Without the right mindset and positive attitude you won’t ever start. Without them, what else will keep you motivated during your journey? How will you overcome any problems and challenges?

Try to not worry too much about the current situation if it isn’t the best and focus on what you can do to change this. Attitude can take you a long way. It can help you to “move mountains” and, as Robert T. Kiyosaki said in his book “Rich Dad Poor Dad”, remember that your thoughts are actually responsible for creating your life. You CAN live the life you want. You CAN do what you enjoy and achieve what you dream about.

The attitude is the key and this is emphasised by many successful people too.

You’ve probably heard or read some famous quotes, such as the one by Henry Ford:

“Whether you think you can or whether you think you can’t, you’re right.”

The best book I’ve ever read in the field of psychology, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol Dweck (available here), also stresses how the way you look at things and respond to different situations is important because this determines whether you will be (or rather allow yourself to be) a successful and happy human being.

Negative situations, bad circumstances, not enough resources (such as time or money) – that happens to EVERYONE in the world. EVERYONE. Yet, some people achieve a lot, even though it looks like everything is against them, even though they have no money and not much time etc. and some others choose (consciously or not) to use these unsatisfactory aspects and lack of resources as excuses.

An incredibly successful writer no-one had heard of around a decade ago, Haruki Murakami, had a full-time job and family, and hadn’t really much time for writing but enjoyed it so much that one day he decided he would spend 2 hours on writing every day after work. Now Haruki, whenever he decides to write a new book, gets up very early in the morning and spends 4-6 hours on writing. Every single day for a few weeks: 4-6 hours daily! Do you remember how energy draining and at the same time how rewarding it feels when you write a long essay? Haruki admits that spending so much time on writing his books is hard but without that he wouldn’t achieve his goals. And achieving goals is incredibly satisfying 😉 What’s interesting, although he is already 69, is that he enjoys running a lot and takes part in marathons. It helps to clear his mind, increase his energy and improve the creativity that is needed to write great books!

Image result for haruki murakami

Getting the right attitude is a crucial step before we decide what our priorities are and make plans!

You can do more than you think you can with a bit of hard work and consistency. You will need to get inspired and motivated. You will need to spend some time on your goals. You may need to make some sacrifices BUT remember that wherever you are right now, if you don’t know where to start, and if your situation looks overwhelming – you start with your attitude. You think of your outlook first.

How to improve your mindset and get the right attitude?

Try to keep all the negative thoughts away.

Try meditation.

Try to worry less.

Try to stay inspired and motivated by others and the things they create.

Try to connect/re-connect with nature as much and as often as you can.

Try exercising a bit every single day to stay energetic and positive for longer!

There is a lot you can do to improve your mindset and start working on your goals with the right attitude.

Just remember what the KEY is!

 

career, happiness, money, motivation, performance, productivity, work

Does money motivate people – what’s the truth?

Does money buy happiness in your opinion?

If yes, to what extent? 

If not, why not?

Many years ago, before I got into psychology, I thought that money surely can motivate people to work better, more quickly and efficiently; and no matter what your job is that money can enhance performance.

Many of us are trying not to focus on material things too much, but sometimes it may be really challenging. We know or hear about people who are driven by fame, power and money, but they don’t always seem to be happier with their life.

There are actually many rich and famous people whose lives are far from ideal, although at first they may look fabulous: they have public recognition, fans, attend parties, and are able to afford houses and fantastic trips all over the world. Then when we look at someone’s life deeper, even though it seems full of blessings, it actually may be an empty and dark place filled with anxieties, depression or drugs.

The rich and famous sometimes can’t handle the social pressure, the expectations from the public and the high standards imposed by the industries they work in.

We often think … if we were rich the bad stuff and feelings surely wouldn’t happen to us and we would certainly know how to keep sane, responsible and in charge of our lives. We may think this but life isn’t as easy as it seems, even if one has money. Even the nicest and most noble people get lost and need to fight loneliness, cancer or depression. And sometimes they lose like in the case of Robin Williams and many others…

What have academic studies recently found out about the impact of money on our happiness and motivation?

According to the Harvard Business Review, studies show that, even if employees decided how much they earn for their work, they probably wouldn’t enjoy their work more!

The link between money and motivation or performance is much more complex than we think. Tim Judge and his colleagues analysed 120 pieces of research on this topic and concluded that there is actually a very weak link between money and job satisfaction.

“Employees earning salaries in the top half of our data range reported similar levels of job satisfaction to those employees earning salaries in the bottom-half of our data range.”

What’s interesting, and no matter how ridiculous it sounds, in non-physical jobs particularly, financial rewards can actually distract and demotivate people, and some tasks can be done even more slowly and less effectively than before!

Scientists believe that we should focus on our intrinsic motivation (own satisfaction) because it is a stronger predictor of our job satisfaction and/or performance.

Of course, research findings are only average and we need to remember that everyone is different and has different motives. Financial goals motivated by the pursuit of power or boosting our confidence (using the money for cosmetic surgeries, for example) will be a lot less rewarding than seeking a bigger income to meet needs related to security or family support.some-people-are-so-poor-all-they-have-is-money

For employers, a far better prediction of an employee’s job satisfaction is their personality traits rather than income:

“The more emotionally stable, extraverted, agreeable or conscientious people are, the more they tend to like their jobs (irrespective of their salaries)… but … the biggest organisational cause of disengagement is incompetent leadership. Thus, as a manager, it’s your personality that will have a significant impact on whether your employees are engaged at work, or not.”

If you are interested to find out more about this fascinating phenomenon, have a look at the Harvard Business Review article HERE

You may be interested in this great book too: Art of Money: A Life-Changing Guide to Financial Happiness by Bari Tessler available here