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, goals, grit, learning, motivation, personal development, planning, Productive Mondays, productivity, success, time management, time usage, Uncategorized, work-life balance

JUST DO IT? WAIT!

action, air, balance

JUST DO IT – the famous phrase from NIKE’s advert has become popular in motivational posts, videos and speeches. Why wait? Stop thinking about it for ages. Stop procrastinating. Just do it! Right? No. Not really. Not always.

Some people tend to dwell too much on prep and planning stages or postpone things too much but taking actions mindlessly just to do something related to their goals is not the smartest move either.

You need to have an action plan; a good, well-thought-out action plan where you write down your goals, particular actions, steps and tasks.

Only 3% of adults actually write their goals down.

This is one of the reasons why over 90% of people fail working on their New Year resolutions by 15th January each year!

There have been a number of studies which indicate that people who write their goals down are 50% more successful in achieving what they plan.

You should always keep the note with your goals with you; for example, in your wallet. Why is it so important? If you keep your goals and action steps in your mind (especially if you have an active lifestyle):

  • you may forget about some of the goals or actions sometimes; an average human being has around 1,500 thoughts per minute – you can’t always ensure that your goals are kept on top of all these thoughts; often there is no energy & time for it
  • you may often feel that there are other more important or urgent things that are written, for example, in your emails
  • you won’t treat your personal goals as seriously as work or college/university-related assignments and projects (a lot of these are given to you in a written form or you are expected to write these things down!)

You need to come up with deadlines so your personal goals matter and are treated as any other, for example work goals. Once you have these important aspects sorted out then yes, take action!

And remember to book some time for reviewing your goals and plans because you will notice quickly what mistakes could be avoided, what works and what doesn’t, and what you can do to improve your working style.

Don’t JUST mindlessly DO IT!

book, books, career, goals, grit, learning, personal development, planning, Productive Mondays, productivity, success, time management, time usage, work-life balance

THE THREE BIGGEST PRODUCTIVITY MYTHS – Multitasking 1/3

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THE MULTITASKING MYTH

Around a decade ago some employers suddenly started to ask during work interviews: Are you able to multitask? Some still do this although many people are already familiar with the most recent studies which indicate that multitasking is impossible in humans and is merely switching from one task to another. On top of that, multitasking decreases productivity by up to 30-40%.

It may sometimes be okay to combine a physical activity with a cognitive one, e.g. listening to an audio book while riding a bike or washing dishes, but many employers got the idea of multitasking completely wrong. Some of them believe that multitasking is needed and can be done in busy office environments where one needs to answer a lot of phone calls, reply to emails and provide face-to-face customer service. No, it can’t.

Research shows that trying to multitask will actually make you slower and also … lower your IQ! Our human brain can focus only on one task at a time and people who try to work this way and avoid multitasking achieve the best results.

Researchers from the University of Sussex in England carried out a study using MRI scans. The findings revealed that people who spend time using multiple devices, for example texting while watching TV, had less brain density in a part of the cortex which is responsible for cognitive and emotional control. Emotional control is a simple term but some of you may wonder what cognitive control means. It basically means that your brain allows you to make decisions based rather on our goals than habits and reactions. It allows you to be flexible and adapt more easily in different situations.

If you are interested to read more about multitasking I’d recommend this book: The Myth of Multitasking: How “Doing It All” Gets Nothing Done by Dave Crenshaw (available here).

goals, grit, learning, motivation, personal development, planning, Productive Mondays, productivity, success, time management, time usage

Time Management myth

clock-time-stand-by-38267.jpeg

I was into time-management techniques a lot when, quite a few years ago, I came across some interesting reading which made a good point that we actually can’t manage, bend or control time in any way. Time exists there in the background of our lives, minutes are ticking and you can do ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to slow it down, stop it or allow it to move in a way you’d like.

You can only manage your life, your tasks and activities, your energy levels and perhaps motivation.

Many of us think, “If I only had 2 more hours a day I could accomplish SO MUCH!” As Tony Robbins puts it well: No, you wouldn’t! We wouldn’t do more if we had more time available on a daily basis because the problem is not the amount of time. Everyone has exactly the same amount of time which is 24 hours = 1440 minutes a day. No more, no less.

Some of us come from “nowhere” with no connections, money and other resources and manage to achieve great success, and others don’t.

We often simplify and say that we lack time and that’s the problem. I tend to say it sometimes as well which annoys me a bit, but I guess it’s like a common proverb or a phase that we use now and then to express simply that we can’t manage more tasks and responsibilities than we have.

I don’t like to use the phrase ‘time management’ but if you read my posts you can see that I use tags such as ‘time management’. This is to make the posts easier to find because that’s such a popular term nowadays!

Chris Bailey outlines in his book the Productivity Project that more important is how you plan your days, taking into consideration your energy and attention levels rather than just the time you have. While setting goals and tasks for next week, make sure that you plan to do your most important and difficult tasks when you feel you have most energy and, whenever you can, limit distractions (put your phone on airplane mode and don’t check your emails too often). It’s not always as simple as it sounds, though. Life is unpredictable and there may always be some new urgent tasks to do; however, if you have a flexible approach then you will be doing well.

Just make sure that you try to protect this special time like a lion. If people ask you to have a chat with them on the phone, or invite you for a meal, or try to ‘steal’ this precious time of yours in any other way you need to be firm and learn how to say NO to all these tempting and great offers and invitations. Use your time wisely, on meaningful and significant tasks and activities that matter to you a lot and that help you achieve your goals.