Make the most of your time

Life is meant for you
To enjoy;
Don’t waste it;
A day gone will never
Come back;
As the days go by,
You grow old;
Your energy declines
with every day that passes;
While you are strong,
Make the most of every opportunity;
Make positive use of every
Minute;
Do not regret
When it is too late.

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My blog, my passion!

Hi friends,

How are you all doing?  As usual, I am doing good. I am enjoying the change of season here.

I love the winters here as the weather is good and we get to explore all the places.  There are countries that slow down during winters because of the cold weather but this country is the most active during the winters.  There are people enjoying long walks and cycling, all around.

Anyways, something happened recently that changed my outlook towards my blog.  During one of my conversations with my husband,  he had told me how much he had loved cycling during his school and college days and the places he had gone cycling.  But after he had come here, he had stopped cycling.

One day my husband took me shopping.  I had no idea what it was all about until we reached a cycle shop.  We went inside and my husband started looking for a cycle.  I asked him was he serious about buying a cycle and he said yes.  This was not something that he had been thinking for a while because otherwise, I would have known.  That day itself we visited a few shops and bought a cycle.

Once the cycle was bought, the shop guy started getting it ready with seat, lights, bell, and helmet, that is when I realized how much my husband loved a cycle.  He was so carefully selecting everything to match his cycle.  He was also observing how everything was being done. I felt happy about the whole thing.

After that, he regularly started cycling which was good because it was a good exercise.  A few days back, we went to another shop for some other purchase and there he found a bell that matched his cycle. His cycle already had a bell so I asked him why he wanted to buy another one to which he replied that the new one matched his cycle color.

I can see so much passion in his eyes for his cycle.  He takes care of it really well. The cycle is his baby now.  The best part about the cycle is that he loves to cycle which motivates him to exercise regularly.

From this one experience, I learned to be passionate about my blog.  My blog is my baby, my creation.  I created it as a hobby to share my knowledge and experience so that it may help somebody in need.  I don’t earn anything from it, but that doesn’t make it less important.

Just as cycling is a passion for my husband which also helps him to exercise and stay healthy, my blog is my passion which helps me think better, write better and be of help to others.

When I realised this, I stopped feeling guilty about spending time on my blog and began to give it a lot of importance.

Blog and cycle are just two examples. There are so many things that we possess, hobbies that we pursue and things that we learn not for the sake of making money but merely out of interest. We shouldn’t feel guilty about them. Not everything is about making money. Yes, if you make money it’s good but that’s it.

Being passionate about something doesn’t mean you have to earn money from it. Both are two different things. It is important to understand this to be able to pursue things that interest us just for the sake of our interest.

When we pursue an interest just as a hobby it helps us relax and this in turn helps us build our skills and get better at it. We also know what we are good at and what interests us.

It is important to do certain things like buying a house, learn new things like pursuing a hobby, build meaningful relationships, keep in touch with people with the intention of enjoying them. Not everything should be about money or building business (this is not for people who pursue business but it is for people who stop pursuing their interest because they think that they should earn from it). It is only then that we will be able to enjoy our interests without worrying about making money.

I enjoy writing on my blog. This year onwards, I started working more seriously on growing my blog content-wise and building new relationships. I feel so good to be able to share my thoughts with you all and also read some good writings of my fellow bloggers. I feel good to be able to build a good community of like-minded people.

The blog made me realise my interest in writing and helped me make new friends. So now I enjoy learning about different forms of writing and also how to blog better.

Just like my blog and writing, there are other interests that I would like to pursue just for the fun of it. Just for myself.

What do you think? Have you felt relaxed while pursuing an interest just to enjoy it?

Love,

Rashmi

P.s. image taken from http://www.123RF.com

Life never excuses itself

“If you are waiting for life to excuse itself for giving you the contrary of what you think you deserve, you will never have it. Once life has decided, be it good or bad, it sticks to it and does not tender any apology to anyone for anything. However, you can force it to reverse its decision. If you ask for such a reversal with insistence, and refuse to take no for an answer, if truly it is reversible, you will have it.” (Romilia Quotes)

The Ambiance of the Season

The Ambiance of the Season cover

Ah… the ambiance of a warm, crackling fireplace at Christmas! Stockings are hung by the chimney with care, hoping St. Nicholas will soon be there. But, if you live in a Scandinavian or a European country, do not hang those stockings too low for they will go up in flames! You see, one of the oldest traditions of Christmas is the burning of a Yule log, and it’s not just any old piece of wood.

Enjoy “The Christmas Song” by Mary J. Blige!

In the 12th century, Norway kicked off the pagan custom of burning a Yule log on the day of Solstice. Norsemen believed the giant ball of fire, known as the sun, rolled away from the earth. Technically though, it was only the shortest and darkest day of the year, but their superstitions ran rampant. So they cut down an entire tree and dragged it into their homes. Yes, the whole tree! Families shoved the largest end of the tree into the fire while the other end of the tree laid in the middle of the room. As the Christmas season progressed, they continued to push it slowly into the flames while singing, dancing, and feasting on holiday goodies. It was a celebration of the sun’s rebirth, so it was important those flames never ceased before the twelfth day of Christmas; it was bad luck.

Victorian Yule Log Christmas card c 1870

Through the centuries, this tradition of prosperity spread as far west as Ireland, as far south as Greece, and as far north as Siberia. Each country individualized the Yule log custom. In France, folks stored any remaining pieces of the cherry tree log at the end of the twelve days, inside their home to protect against lightning strikes. The UK appears to be cleaner about their holiday mess. They dry out an oak tree and strip the bark off before it comes inside to burn. Some Europeans scatter the ashes of the flames inside their home to ward off evil spirits, and others spread them around their plants to encourage blooming. In Holland, the Yule log is stored under a bed in the home as a safety against bad luck.

The Ambiance of the Season pic 2.jpg
Yule Winter Solstice Celebration

Moving away to a modern civilization known as North America, is there a doubt we commercialized the Yule log? Walk into Hobby Lobby or any craft store, and you will spend a lot of money on Yule log centerpieces or the supplies to make one. But like the French, I think it’s much yummier to whip up a rich, chocolate Yule log, Bûche de Noël, dripping in chocolate icing and filled with cream. I would much rather sit in front of the fireplace, celebrating the ambiance of the season, eating this sponge cake. How about you?

The Ambiance of the Season pic 3

 

Let us remember, as Christians, the yule we celebrate today is the reality that God became man in order to bring the man to God. Happy Holidays!

Please join us again on Sunday for another “Everything Christmas Blog”!


It’s still not too late to purchase this perfect gift!

Christmas ad for book FB

Guy in a train looking outside.

What Consumes Your Mind, Controls Your Life

Guy in a train looking outside.

Ten years ago, if someone told me to think positive, I would break eye contact and walk away. Whenever I found myself in a tough situation, either at work, college or in social life, I would be in a bad mood and push people away. My whole mindset became dark and I could only hear were my own negative thoughts. I didn’t realise the damage I was doing to myself and others around me. When I do realise, that’s when my life started to change. I wanted to change the way I think and more importantly, the way I live my life.

In those ten years, I started to read books and blogs on self-improvement and dealing with challenges. From everything that I’ve read, there is one sentence that stayed with me:

“What consumes your mind, controls your life.”

That’s when everything made sense to me. I know now that my negative attitude and thinking attracted more negativity. I was self-destructive, and I needed to break out of this loop and adapt positivity in my life. And I did. The trick was to let go and forgive myself. This small spark has changed my whole mindset from being negative to positive.

I discovered the power of positive thinking and its life-changing benefits. I think positive not because it makes life easier along the way. It’s because of all the hardship that life brings, making it all the more important that I need to stay positive.

We all need a positive mindset to overcome hardships and keep growing to the full potential that we are. Not only has positive thinking proven to work from my own experience, but research is revealing that positive thinking can create true value in life to help build skills that last much longer than a smile.

Barbara Fredrickson, a positive psychology researcher at the University of North Carolina, published a landmark paper that provides amazing insights into positive thinking and its impacts. Her work is among the most referenced and cited in her field and it is surprisingly useful in everyday life.

Let’s dive into her work on negative and positive thinking.

What Negative Thinking Does To Your Brain

Whenever you find yourself in a difficult situation or stand face to face against a major challenge, your brain registers a negative emotion — in many cases, this can either be fear, anger, sorrow, frustration or envy.

Researchers have long known that negative thinking evokes negative emotions, which programs your brain to do a specific action that moves you away from a challenge. In other words, negative emotions narrow your mind towards escaping, avoiding, procrastinating or anything else to drive you away from confrontation. This is part of the human instinct when in survival mode. However, the problem is that your brain is still programmed to respond to negative emotions in the same way by shutting off the outside world and limiting the options you see around you.

For example, when someone insults you, your anger might consume you to the point where you can’t think of anything else. Or, you have a few deadlines today, you procrastinate everything till the last moment because you’re paralyzed by how long your to-do list has become. Or, you feel bad because of not hitting the gym today and all you can think about is how little willpower you have, and how you’re not driven.

In each case, your mind focusses on the negative emotions — it prevents you from seeing other options and choices around you.

Now, let’s compare this to positive thinking!

What Positive Thinking Does To Your Brain

When experiencing positive emotions like joy, love, contentment and gratitude, you will see more possibilities in life by opening your mind up to more options. The real impact of positive thinking is the build up skill sets that come afterwards in life. Fredrickson refers to this as the “broaden and build” theory.

Here are a few simple examples we’re familiar with.

  1. Children playing and running outside, swinging on branches (physical skills);
  2. At the same time, they play around with other children, sharing toys and communicating with each other (social skills);
  3. Furthermore, they explore and examine the world around them (creative skills).

The positive emotions of joy and love encourage children to build skills that will be useful and certainly valuable in everyday life. These skills last longer, perhaps a lifetime, compared to the emotions that initiated them.

A Push In The Right Direction

It’s great to fill your mind with positive emotions. However, those moments of happiness are also critical for opening your mind to explore and build the skills that become so valuable in other areas of your life.

I challenge you to find ways to build happiness and positive emotions into your life, whether it’s through hitting the gym, meditation, writing, painting or anything else. Phases of positive emotion and unconstrained exploration occurs when you see the possibilities for how your past experiences fit into your future life. From here, you start to develop skills that bud into useful talents later on.

Orriginally published at ye-chen.com.

The Liebster Award! So…, What Is it?

The Liebster Award

Hi Dear Bloggers,

So, I received an email from Prerana from the “Inside Travellers Shoes,” where she nominated me for the Liebster Award!

Thank you Prerana! I feel honoured to be nominated by you for this award. It really does feel good to be recognised. Do check out her amazing weblog where she shares her view on life, people, places, travelling and everything in between.

What Is The Liebster Award?

In short, it´s like a chain mail where bloggers nominate fellow bloggers. The Liebster Award provides both new and experienced bloggers with the opportunity of being discovered. In addition, this award aims to support bloggers and connect with the blogger community.

And yes, as you may have guessed, there are rules and challenges included. So, let’s get to it!

Here Are The Rules Of The Liebster Award

  1. Thank the person who nominated you and put a link to their blog on your blog.
  2. Display the award on your blog.
  3. For the Liebster Award 2018, write a small post about what makes you passionate about blogging.
  4. Provide 10 random facts about yourself (optional).
  5. Nominate 5 – 11 blogs.
  6. List these rules in your post.
  7. Inform the people/blogs that you nominated that they have been nominated for the Liebster award and provide a link for them to your post or The Global Aussie.
  8. Create new questions for your nominees to answer.

What Makes Me Passionate About Blogging

We all have a personal life, and that comes with ups and downs, some expected and some unexpected.

When I blog, during my ups, it’s just fun to be a part of the blogging community and to interact with bloggers. It´s also about being able to help other bloggers when they face adversities, which I gain a lot of positive energy from to help me write even more.

However, during my downs, it helps me clear my mind and put things in perspective. Sometimes, I have this thought that something I want to do is right, but a thought is just that – a thought. Once I put it out there, on paper or whatever, it helps put everything into a relatable context and give me even more reason to take actions.

What I´m really passionate about is to positively influence people who find themselves in a tough transition in their lives through content published on this website. I want this website to be our go-to place when we stand face-to-face with adversity – where we openly share the changes we have been through and going through. At the moment, blogging is my preferred tool to make this happen.

10 Random Facts About Me

  1. I don’t like sweets; I prefer something bitter. I think my taste buds just change as I grow older.
  2. I prefer coffee over tea.
  3. I’m a cat person, but I’m allergic to cats. I haven’t always liked cats but my girlfriend made me change my mind.
  4. I’m a bit obsessed with cleanliness. I can’t stand living or working in a place where it’s not clean or organised.
  5. I don’t celebrate my birthday. I just don’t like to have all the attention on me. If it’s just a normal day where friend and family gather, I would be totally fine with it.
  6. I’m the worst drinker you will ever meet. Yes, I’m that typical Chinese who can’t drink.
  7. I think making eye-contact is awkward.
  8. I hate bullying. I was bullied for a few years and I know how shitty that feels.
  9. I don’t like when pictures are taken of me. I don’t like too much attention.
  10. I have a big scar on my left upper arm. Something went wrong when I got a flu shot and my upper arm got infected.

Bloggers I Nominate

  1. Disha at Disha Discovers – Disha provide travel tips and destination ideas for fellow adventure seekers.
  2. Stace at Full-Time Wanderers – Stace will show you the secret to how you can travel on any budget.
  3. Donna at The Upward Blip – Donna is dedicated to delivering high-quality baby bandana bibs.
  4. Kyle at Kyle Colman – Kyle writes about personal finance, business, relationships, and forming good habits.
  5. Dani at This Village Girl – Dani’s weblog is a collection of her personal struggles, misadventures, heartaches, random thoughts, hopes and dreams as she embarks on this journey she chose.
  6. John at Business and Life Tips – A website for sharing information on social media marketing & optimization, personal finance, business start-ups, blogging, entrepreneurship, personal development and also offer tips to WordPress users, especially the beginners.
  7. Breeta at A Voice – A personal weblog on understanding this world around and all its complexities through personal experiences of family, career, mental health, society, economy and the cultural world.

Questions Prepared For Me

  1. How has blogging helped you evolve as a person? It’s similar to what I mentioned above at the “What Makes Me Passionate About Blogging:” It helps me clear my mind and put things in perspective. Sometimes, I have this thought that something I want to do is right, but a thought is just that – a thought. Once I put it out there, on paper or whatever, it helps put everything into a relatable context and give me even more reason to take actions.
  2. What is your fondest memory from childhood? I don’t have a specific fondest memory. It’s more a collection of small things and moments, such as having dinner, running around, playing games at my childhood friend’s place, collecting Pokémon cards, watching cartoons, and so on.
  3. If you could change anything about the way you were raised, what would it be? Honestly, I wouldn’t change anything.
  4. If you could wake up tomorrow having gained any one quality or ability, what would it be? If superpowers are included, then it would be to time travel. The idea of being able to travel through time just excites me.
  5. If you knew that in one year you would die suddenly, would you change anything about the way you are now living? Why? If you would ask me like five years ago, I would answer to live my life more happily on my own terms and not on my family’s or peers’. Now, I wouldn’t change anything.
  6. What is the greatest accomplishment of your life? That would be the decision I made to live my own life on my own terms, without the opinion from family or peers and be comfortable with it.
  7. What would constitute a “perfect” day for you? I have stepped away from perfectionism, but a great day, however, would be when I can do my morning routine which is to wake up at 7:30 AM and hit the gym for an hour. Afterwards, have a big breakfast, check my emails, and head out to the office by 10 AM.
  8. Before making a telephone call, do you ever rehearse what you are going to say? Why? No, I don’t. If it’s an important call, I do make an outline about the topics. I feel much more comfortable when I have a spontaneous phone call instead of a rehearsed one. The difference in quality is clear as well.
  9. What do you value most in a friendship? I don’t have a specific word for it. It’s the kind of friendship that lasts through time. There have been times where I haven’t talked or seen my friends for a long time (months), but when we do talk or see each other, we simply pick up where we left off as if time itself stood still. It’s the timeless and unconditional kind of friendship that I value the most. 
  10. For what in your life do you feel most grateful? That my previous start-up failed. It was really eye-opening how much that had pushed me towards my passion for writing and blogging.

New Questions For The Nominees To Tackle

  1. What does success mean to you?
  2. What was the best phase of your life?
  3. What’s your favourite book?
  4. What’s an ideal morning for you?
  5. What’s the one thing that people always misunderstand about you?
  6. Where is your favourite place in the entire (fantasy) world to go?
  7. What are your top five favourite movies?
  8. What’s something you can’t go a day without doing?
  9. If you could get away with anything that you do?
  10. What fictional character do you most relate to?
  11. What is your favourite day of the year?

Best of luck to all the nominees on answering these questions! I’m looking forward to reading your answers.

Originally published at ye-chen.com.

Journey and destination

Hi friends,

How are you all?   I know the preparations for Christmas must be going on for many. I am in the midst of my annual holidays with my family and friends.

Some time back  I read a wonderful poetry by Pat Cegan titled “No Destination”. The lines were as follows.

“What if there is no
destination, only the
journey endlessly repeating
and varied only by change?
Would your decisions be
different, your nows chosen
with care, or would you still
float adrift battered by
passing storms and crashing waves?”

https://patcegan.wordpress.com/2018/06/24/no-destination-2/

I even commented on her blog post asking “But if we don’t have a destination, what is the fun of undertaking a journey in the first place?”

Journey of life!

Later on, the poem really got me thinking about journeys and destinations. I realized that, from the moment we come on to this earth, we start our journey called life. We undertake so many journeys in our lifetime. Not all journeys are planned. Some have planned destinations called goals while some lead us to unplanned destinations.

Journeys and destinations are like the two sides of the same coin.  The moment we begin a journey, we have a destination – be it physical destination or goal (to achieve something in life, to travel and see places, to create wealth and so on) or an emotional (intangible – something that cannot be seen but only felt) destination.

The emotional destinations are mostly unplanned, because we experience them during the course of the journeys, that we undertake.  For example, I like going for long walks when I am stressed. I may not have a physical destination of where I am going but I do have an emotional destination (of being calm and peaceful) where I reach.

Another example is of me having a physical goal of buying a house. The whole journey starts with the idea of buying the house, planning the type of house, the fund availability, the city, the area, etc. to actually buying the house. This not only leads me to my physical destination of buying the house but the whole process (journey) also gives me a lot of happiness and satisfaction which is my emotional destination by the time I buy the house and so I end up being emotionally attached to my house.

We, humans, pay more attention to our physical destination and so we think that if we don’t have a physical destination we are just floating and going on with our life.  But even when floating, we are actually undertaking a journey, which will take us to an unknown destination.  How many times has it happened that we go to a Shopping Mall just to pass time and end up meeting an old friend, recollecting old memories?  Do try to remember the sheer joy we feel long after we have returned home.  Though it was not planned, we ended up feeling happy and satisfied.

In everything we do, with a physical destination in mind or not, we are reaching somewhere. We are either learning a new lesson or experiencing a particular emotion which ultimately makes us grow.  So we do reach somewhere – a place that makes us feel. Journeys undertaken with or without destinations have their own learning element.  All the lessons learned and the emotions experienced will prepare us to start our big planned journey towards a known destination – our purpose.

When I started blogging, I didn’t have any destination – I just wanted to write whatever I learned. Back then, I didn’t know if anybody would read my blog or not, but still, I started my journey of writing and it lead me to an emotional destination called satisfaction – satisfaction of – being able to write, that I had a lot of ideas to write about, that I could make a difference, that people appreciated my writing and so many other things. Who knows what this journey has in store for me? But at the moment, I am enjoying the process.

Not all journeys in life are planned.  We, with our limited vision, cannot plan more than what God has planned for us.  That is why, we sometimes undertake a journey, without any destination, but with full faith and belief that the destination will unfold itself in the due course of time. And when the destination unfolds, who knows what treasure is in store for us?

Love,

Rashmi

p.s. This post was first written on my blog rashu2015

Everything You Want Is On The Other Side Of Fear

Boy peeking to the other side of fear.

For one moment, right now, imagine what you would be able to achieve if you just went for it. Anything you put your mind to, it would be accomplished. Of course, this comes with struggles and challenges. Can you remember something you wanted to achieve badly or a goal that you set for yourself, and followed up by the thought of “I cannot do this,” or “What if I fail,” or “I’m not good enough?”

Firstly, it’s a natural human reaction to have those thoughts occur when you set big goals for yourself, goals that will make you grow as an individual and stretch your current way of thinking. Secondly, just know that those feelings of fear are completely natural and happen to everyone who has achieved greatness or done something remarkable. However, what mustn’t happen regardless of how rough it may be, is to not let those same exact feelings prevent you from taking massive action and constantly moving forward.

Therefore, it’s essential to understand the need to control fear itself. You might be wondering “Why? My life is all good right now.” Well, here are three major reasons:

1. Fear Limits Your Full Potential

Being driven by fear prevents you from growing and progressing in life. According to Dr. David Hawkins in the book ‘Power vs Forces’, he developed the ‘Map of Consciousness and described that fear means you are being held back from growing to the higher levels of Courage, Acceptance, Love, Joy, Peace, and eventually Enlightenment.

“When you let your thoughts, feelings and decisions be driven by fear, you’re reduced to a slave of fear.”

I’ve come across people whose lives are centred on the theme of fear. Their fear drives their thoughts, feelings, decisions and behaviours so much that their life has become a result of fear, rather than their own desires. They are stuck in protecting their lives in the illusion of safety. He or she lives in reaction to fear, rather than proactively lead his or her life. If they’re just reacting to fear, they can’t be reaching their fullest potential.

2. You Can Never Run Away From Fear Completely

If you run away instead of dealing with it, it will always be there, haunting you in everything you do. Running away only gives you an illusion of security. You may feel safe for a short moment, but it’s only for that short moment. The more you run, the more fear will try to catch up with you. When that happens, you either must learn to deal with it, or cower in its presence eternally and become a fraction of the person you potentially can be.

Since you must deal with fear at some point, you might as well learn to overcome fear now, rather than avoid it again and again only to deal with it eventually. It doesn’t make sense otherwise — not only are you draining yourself emotionally, you waste time and energy avoiding the fear. Time is the most precious asset in your life — don’t go wasting it.

3. Fear Will Drain You Mentally

Each moment you spend cowering in fear, you’re feeding a seed that brings forth similar thoughts. The more you do it, the more fear adds up. Instead of calmly processing the situation and identifying solutions to move forward, you’re feeding energy into something destructive. Think about how much more you can do if you’re not spending your energy counteracting that fear and its aftereffects.

Also, remember that for each moment you spend around fear, you have one less moment for positive thoughts and feelings, which can bud into a whole other spring of positive aftereffects. Choose how you would rather spend your time — being positive and happy, or being negative and scared?

Find Your Courage

I challenge you from here on out to constantly expand your vision as to what’s possible in your life. The more we can see ourselves victorious and not being paralyzed by fear, the more that will prompt us to act and get going.

Mel Robbins, who is an American on-air CNN commentator, television host, life coach, author and motivational speaker, explained the science behind ‘The 5 Second Rule‘ she came up with, a form of metacognition that beats every trick your brain plays fear on you to cause hesitation, overwhelm, procrastination, and overthinking.

I hope to inspire you to make a change in your life. Changes don’t have to be big. Changes always manifest from small steps — small changes. The next time fear pops up, find your courage, get up, start moving and just go. You were born to be great, so live your life even greater!

Originally published at ye-chen.com.

  • What is your fear?
  • When does your fear take over?
  • How do you deal with fear at the moment?

Have your say in the comment section 🙂

AND if you like this blog, don’t forget to Like and Share, and subscribe to my Weekly Newsletter.

Time Management Really Is About Self-Management

Woman holding clock at 4:20.

The idea of time management is typically defined as one’s ability to use time productively and efficiently, especially in cases such as school and work.

However, David Allen, productivity consultant and the inventor of the “Getting Things Done” method, says time management is a misleading term. “You can’t manage time anyway. Time just is,” David said. “But you can manage yourself during time, so what you manage is your attention, your focus.”

Managing Ourselves During Time

Every single one of us has the same amount of time each day. There’s no way to store, to borrow, to save, or to increase time. The only thing we can do is to decide how to use it, and we all want to use time on activities of higher value rather than lower. What it all comes down to is that time management is a game of choices, or in other words, knowing how to manage ourselves during the time that we have.

We are continuously squeezing as many tasks as we can into our days, when in fact, it’s really about simplifying how we work, getting things done faster, and doing things better. By doing so, we’ll have more times for play, rest, and doing the things we love. Isn’t that what we all want?

Instead of working harder, try investing in working smarter.

Write Your Own Time Management Rulebook

Below, you’ll find five of my preferred and favourite techniques. They are a combination of principles, rules, and skills that allow you to put your focus on the things that matter. It will also allow you to get more done and help you be more productive.

But keep in mind that everyone is different. These are the time management or self-management techniques that I find useful in my life, but you might not. Adopt the ones that work for you and always seek to refine your own practices by regularly thinking about how to improve in managing yourself.

When you write your own time management rulebook, you’ll find out that there are really enough hours in a day for everything you’d like to do. It just takes a bit of rearranging and re-imagining to find them.

1. Plan Around Your Energy Level

You may not realise this, but productivity is directly related to your energy level. Get to know yourself and find your most productive hours. When you know that, plan your work around those periods. Schedule it in such a way that you first do the high-value and high-energy task, and then followed up by low-value and low-energy tasks.

For example, I’m a morning person, so I do my most critical work from 9 AM till noon. I know that after lunch, my energy level will crash a bit, so it’s a great time to clear my inbox, make some phone calls and read some articles or blogs.

It’s also good to know your energy levels by day. Some hate Mondays, just because. Tuesday may be your most productive day? Wednesday…, anyways, if you don’t have a clue, map your work and energy levels in a spreadsheet for a couple of weeks until you identified your productivity patterns.

2. Identify Your Most Important Work

“If it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And If it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first,” Mark Twain once said.

That frog is your Most Important Task (MIT) for the day and it’s best to tackle that first, because your MIT should be that one task that creates the most impact in progression on your work. When you get it done, it will give you the momentum and a tremendous sense of accomplishment early in the day which sets up the rest of your day. That is how you can achieve big life goals, day after day, with continuous efforts.

Look at your ‘to-do’ list and decide which tasks help you get closer to your goals and make progress in meaningful work. Put these at the top of your list so you can focus on them first and resist the temptation of tackling the easiest tasks at the start of your day.

3. Set Time Constraints For Yourself

Learn to set deadlines, because you become more productive when you allocate a specific amount of time to complete a specific task. Parkinson’s law states: “work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion”. So, in other words, if you reduce the time you have to complete a task, you force your brain to focus and complete it.

Set deadlines even when you don’t need to. What happens is that you force your brain to focus. This way, you create a sense of urgency that pushes you to focus and be more efficient, even if you end up having to go back and add more time later.

For example: When I edit an article or a blog, a task that normally takes me around 60 minutes, I reduce the time available to 40 minutes. I create an urgency for myself, so I can increase my focus to work as hard as I can to beat 40 minutes. Also, knowing I only have 40 minutes to complete editing will ensure I don’t waste 20 minutes on checking the feed on social media.

4. Eliminate Distractions Around You

Get rid of all potential distractions, because they will hurt your productivity and focus. A study from the University of California Irvine found that it takes an average of 23 minutes and 15 seconds to get back to the task after getting distracted.

In addition, let’s say that you have found your focus, but you got interrupted, it can take you twice as long to get back into the rhythm. Half an hour completely focused on a task is more productive than two hours switching between tasks. Let that sink in for a bit. That’s nuts, right?

Meanwhile, eliminate distractions from your work to avoid switching tasks.

5. Work From A Calendar

I have recently picked this one up: to work from a calendar instead of a to-do list. What I find useful is that a calendar forces me to rethink my work from tasks to time units. It is a small change, but it increases the chance of getting things done.

Basically, a to-do list is where you list and define “what” your activities are, while a calendar is where you identify “when” you’re going to do those things and how much time is needed to complete them.

Here’s why it works: the more you plan and schedule your time with purpose, the less time there is for others to take over your schedule. Do this mindfully and leave enough room for unexpected tasks that require immediate attention. There’s no way you’ll get it right immediately, so move things around and reschedule when needed as you progress.

Enjoyment Is Your Fuel

We all want to spend more time doing things that we enjoy, and that includes our job. Work can and should be fun. Nowadays, it’s so easy to get caught up in our busyness that we forget to enjoy what we’re doing.

Therefore, use time in activities you value, such as spending time with your family, visit your dear friend who misses you, or practising a new hobby. The enjoyment you get from these activities will become your productivity fuel at work.

Originally published at ye-chen.com.

  • How do you manage yourself?
  • Do you have any other tips?
  • Do you find enjoyment in what you do?

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