Thursday, March 13, 2014

Lists and Schedules - 8 Life Long Habits

Good habit quote

I'm a bum. Yep, I admit it. B.U.M. Now before you all think bum aka behind aka butt, let me just say none of that. I'm a bum because I tend to procrastinate like nobody's business. I will start off a project with enthusiasm only to get lazy and not get really give my best to it in the end. Now the problem is I'm also highly ambitious. So what my bad habit does, is hold me back from performing to my potential in all walks of life.

Last year was life altering for me in good and bad ways( a story for another time). I decided I needed to make some changes to my life and the way I was living it. I needed to discipline myself if I ever hoped to achieve my dreams. One way to do that was to prioritize and make a schedule. So off I went to consult the witch doctor that is Google search ( what would I do without you Google?!?) on how to better manage myself ( coz frankly I need the managing before I could start managing the world..)

I came to realize that I needed to cultivate good habits. Starting with just one.Like any habit, this would require persistence and effort. There would be times when I would want to give up or just not care enough, but I had to stay with it.And soon enough, I would be eating Broccoli with relish as well as any one else! No, no, I didnt really start eating Broccoli just in case your wondering..


The habit-of-successful-people-according-to-Google I chose, thinking it would be easy peasy, was making lists and schedules. I really went at it too. Making lists and schedules left, right and center. I'd have things planned and micro planned through out the day. Obviously that wasn't about to work out since drastic changes seldom do.However, after a month or so of thinking the whole thing wasn't working for me, I started noticing a difference. While I thought I was failing at keeping up with the aforementioned 'schedules', I was making some progressive. The progressive was in shape of clearly letting me know what I needed and what was just white noise I had filled up my time with.

I realized I could make this work if I could just stay more persistent. I tore up a whole bunch of unrealistic schedules and instead decided to divide my time according to the 5 areas of life I needed to change. I got myself a day planner and started utilizing Google calender.

2014 planner

Starting off small yet big, I changed my sleep cycle. Going to bed earlier and waking up earlier. After the initial period of disturbance, 3 weeks later I noticed how much more productive I became in the day time. I chose to give myself an hour every morning that I used  to just center myself and go over the plans for the day. Eventually this got me in the habit of better utilizing my time. I would sleep early, have a better idea where my time was going and was be able to spend time with friends and family without the vaguely guilty feeling of having other things/tasks to worry about.

The following are the 8 tips I would personally give to anyone asking for advice with regards to getting the most out of time.

  1. Prioritize. The most important task first.No matter how tempting it may be to do the easier tasks first.

  2. Practise saying NO.To others and to yourself. It's ok, the other things/ fun things will still probably be there tomorrow.

  3. Get an early start and get plenty of sleep. If that means missing an occasional outing with friends, that is fine.

  4. Focus on the task at hand one hundred percent. This, like so much else, will come with practice.

  5. Give your self a reasonable break between tasks to recharge.

  6. Stay organized. It will keep you de-stressed.

  7. Only think upto 2 tasks ahead. Don't let your to-do list overwhelm you.

  8. Dont get bogged down in petty details. Yes, it's good to be a perfectionist, only, not if it makes you late for your deadlines. The world wont wait around for your masterpiece.

So far I seem to be doing better then I was last year and the year before at this time. Hopefully some of you reading this would find the tips above useful.
Till next week!
Plan ahead