Author

Waheeda

Browsing

work-life balance using Eisenhower matrix work from home

As a work-at-home parent you need to take many decisions on a daily basis.

But do you find yourself trying to do everything, and still not being able to achieve anything?

Crossing off those items on your to-do list at the end of the day is such a relief.

But are you sure those things really matter? Do they add value and growth to your mission?

To really grow as a person, you need to have all aspects of your life balanced. Work-life balance is not hard to achieve. But for that, you need to plan your days wisely.

 If you know your priorities, you can balance your work-from-home career and life easily.

I have found Eisenhower Matrix works effectively when I need to set my priorities.

How to Achieve Work-Life Balance Using Eisenhower Matrix?

Eisenhower matrix- how to set priorities

Dwight D. Eisenhower was the 34th President of the United States from 1953 until 1961.

He developed this matrix as a tool to help himself decide and focus on the most important tasks he should do each day.

This matrix was popularized by Stephen R Covey in his book, ‘7 Habits of Highly Effective People’.

The matrix has 4 quadrants.

Let me explain what each quadrant stands for.

Eisenhower matrix to set priorities work from home

Q1 – Urgent, Important

The tasks in the first quadrant are urgent and must be dealt with right away.

Examples: 

  • Your kid is sick. Take him to the hospital.
  • You must submit the project report today.
  • Finish and send your guest blog post by evening.

Q1 activities have time constraints.

Q2 – Not Urgent, Important

This is the second quadrant. Everything in this quadrant should be scheduled.  It is the tasks in this quadrant that we tend to postpone more, since they are not urgent. But they have a direct impact on our job, relationships, health and happiness.

Examples: 

  • Working on your home based business
  •  Spending time with family
  • Exercise
  • Journal writing
  • Daily planning
  • Household chores
  • Retirement savings
  • Preventive maintenance at home
  • Preparing healthy meals for family

According to Covey, if you spend more time on this quadrant, you can most probably avoid things that fall in Q1.

Let me elaborate.

If you spend time to plan your days, and put it into action, you get things done on time (Q2). Thus, there is no urgent work waiting for you (Q1). 

If you take your time to do preventive maintenance and service at home (Q2), you can prevent damage and thus reduce the risk of breaking down of appliances or motor vehicles (Q1). It also saves your time and money down the lane.

 If you spend more quality time with your spouse and kids (Q2), you wouldn’t have to worry about spending time and energy later on mending the damage caused by the lack of your presence (Q1).

Since activities in Q2 are not urgent, most people spend less time here. They spend most of the time in Q3 and Q4, thinking they are busy and productive. But the truth is they are ‘busy’ doing nothing.

To bring true value and growth in your life, you must decide what is truly important.

Starting a journal can help you in this. Take your time and reflect on what it is that you want to achieve from each of your roles, that is, as a spouse, parent, a homemaker or a businesswoman. Write them down.

Now you will begin to understand what your priorities are.

Related: 10 reasons journaling will transform your life

Unlike other quadrants, Q2 tasks might not give instant results. But those tasks will help you succeed in the long run and have a secure life.

Q3- Urgent, Not important

Quadrant 3 tasks are those that are urgent but not so important that you yourself have to do them.

 But these are still urgent and should be done. I would say these are tasks that do not require your presence as such, so that if you can delegate to a trustworthy person, they will be done perfectly as you would have done them.

Examples:

  • Unimportant meetings
  • Requests by other family members
  • Technical issues
  • Answering certain emails

People spend more time than needed on this quadrant thinking they are doing urgent work. And it is also because they get the satisfaction of accomplishing the tasks. This is where you  need to distinguish between “urgent” and “important”.

It helps to check constantly if the tasks you have in hand, align with your goals. If not, do not ever hesitate to delegate.

Q4- Not urgent, Not important

The time spent on quadrant 4 activities should be avoided or reduced to the minimum.

Examples:

  • Watching TV
  • Surfing web mindlessly
  • Spending too much time on social media
  • Shopping

If you are spending more of your free time on social media and not with your kids, you know it is going to reflect on your relationship with them in long term.

But I am against completely eliminating Q4 activities, as you should get to pamper yourself after a long day. I always look forward to the end of the day, after I have done the work on my blog and kids are put to sleep. And I can relax with my favorite TV show with something to munch on. It is my reward to myself for working hard during the day.

But be aware of the time you spend in Q4, as it should be the minimum. I would aim for 1 or 2 hours a day, according to the availability of time and if my day’s work is done.

If the important tasks for the day are not done for some reason (life happens!), I am willing to let go of the Q4 activities for the day, since I know my priorities.

Journaling has had a huge effect on my work-life balance, as it helps me remember what my priority tasks are, for each day. I note down the important tasks for each day in my bullet journal. I have always felt that writing down in a journal gives me a push to do the tasks, even if I feel lazy or want to procrastinate.

In fact, research has proved that writing down goals increases the odds of achieving them.

I must say, you should consider journaling when you set out to find your priorities in life when you have to balance between work and life.

 

 

When it comes to planners, bullet journal is the buzzword these days.

If you are a Pinterest or Instagram user, you must have stumbled upon this term many times.

I did too and hopped onto the bandwagon a year ago.

I am an over thinker and a confused person (due to over thinking) and it overwhelms me sometimes (read all the time!). I definitely needed to unwind and put all the thoughts, tasks and to do lists into a place and relax!

That’s when I found out about bullet journal system and fell in love with the idea.

I started soon and bought a notebook and supplies as “they” said.

I created colorful layouts and drew cute little pictures on the corners of the pages.

Did I keep up with it?

Noooo!

I kept up with planning in the bullet journal, but not the beautifying tasks.

I am not an artistic person or a doodler, though I am fascinated by the talents of many people. And I admire those beautiful layouts and wish I could do the same.

I could if I tried. But I found out it beats my purpose of keeping a bujo (that’s what a bullet journal is lovingly called).

What I want is to get things done and to jot down important points or events in my life so I can revisit them when I want.

I am not against embellishing the bullet journal. And I also draw weekly spreads which is different from the original bullet journal system. And I do use some supplies to add some color. Because I find it easier to sort through my writing if I want to come back to it later. Sometimes I use sticky notes or bookmarks inside the journal because it is more convenient for me.

But all these are not necessary.

So here I wanna talk about how to start a simple bullet journal, the maintenance of which is not overwhelming. It is completely okay even if you are no artist.

How to start a simple bullet journal with no artististic skills

Bullet journal supplies for beginners

What you need: A notebook and a pen.

If you ask which notebook to buy for a bullet journal, I would say, it depends on your budget and necessities. If you want to keep your completed journals with you for a long time, better opt for a good quality one.

The most preferred notebook for a bullet journal is Leuchtturm 1917. It is the book endorsed by the creator of bullet journal, Ryder Carroll. And the company has an official Leuchtturm notebook for bullet journal.

Other popular notebooks in the bullet journal community are:

·        Scribbles that Matter

·        Lemome

·        Moleskine

·        Rhodia

You will get these books in different sizes like A4, A5 and A6. The most preferred size is A5 as it is neither big nor small and convenient to fit in your bag and easy to carry around.

You can choose between ruled, dotted or blank notebooks. My first bullet journal was a blank page notebook. Now I use a dotted one and I find it very useful when I need to draw lines or tables.


Start a bullet journal: The pages you need

The following are the pages you need to start a bullet journal.

1.     Index

2.     Future log

3.     Monthly log

4.     Weekly log/Daily log

5.     Collections

Index

Bullet journal is a very flexible system that you can tweak to your needs. Its possibilities are endless and it becomes what you want.

The beauty of a bullet journal is you can write in it whenever you want. Even if you don’t write on some days you don’t have to leave the pages blank, unlike other planners.

So you definitely need an index to keep tabs on the pages you write.

Leave the first four pages (that fall side by side) for index.

(The official bullet journal notebook features numbered pages, an index, a bullet key and 3 bookmarks).

Write “Index” on top of it.

Now if you are not using a numbered notebook you number each page as you go.

When using a bullet journal it is better to get used to write each page’s topic (heading) and page number first. And immediately add it to index before making an entry.

I highlight some topics in index ( I use highlighter pens or brush pens for this). Those are my collections. It helps me to find the collection I need to find easily (more on collections in a minute).

Index of bullet journal

Future log

You can use the next two pages for future log. Write “Future log” on top of the page.

Future log is the place to write down your events, tasks and goals for the next six months. It helps to have a quick glance at the upcoming events in the future log.

Divide each page in 3 equal parts by drawing horizontal lines. Write down the names of the months in each column. Add your entries.

You can note down birthdays, anniversaries, meetings, vacation trips etc.

I also have a page called “Year at a glance” to note down the past events which are important for me.

Like the day I went on some trip, the day I visited someone, milestones of my kids or career etc.

Future log of Bullet journal

Monthly log

Next we create the monthly log. Take two pages that fall side by side. One page is for calendar and second one for monthly tasks.

Write the name of the month on top of the first page. Write the days of the month (1, 2, 3….30/31) downwards. You can write the starting letter of the corresponding day of week next to each date, like in the picture.

Monthly log of bullet journal

Now you can write the month’s events and appointments corresponding to each date in the calendar page.

The second page is for monthly tasks and goals. You can draw two columns with headings ‘Tasks’ and ‘Goals’. This is where you write what you want to achieve that particular month.

I write my goals in all areas here. Like relationship goals, goals for my blog, spiritual goals, health goals, parenting goals, self care etc.

It gives an idea of how my month is going to be (or should be).

After each month I do a monthly review and evaluate how much I did accomplish. And set new goals for the next month and migrate tasks (if any) to the next month.

Weekly log/ Daily log

The original bullet journal by Ryder Carroll doesn’t have a weekly log. But a lot of bullet journal enthusiasts have it. It depends upon your needs. If you have a lot of tasks, meetings and appointments to take care of, you need a daily log.

You can also have both logs, if you have a busy week. Write the important tasks in advance in a weekly log, and elaborate all the mini tasks that come under each important task in the daily log. If you are using both logs, you can do a “brain dump” by writing all the events in advance in the weekly log. And each day you can expand each task in the daily log. This way, you don’t miss anything.

If your days are mostly the same or if you don’t want to enter every task you do into a bullet journal you can go for a weekly log.

I mean, come on, you do many of the chores out of habit. You don’t need a reminder for every task.

I don’t do daily logs. I do only weekly logs.

I usually draw a weekly spread in advance between every Friday and Saturday. I write down all those tasks that need to be done on specific days and additional tasks if any, goes to the spread each day.

It helps me to dump my thoughts “off my head” and visualize my week in advance.

I usually plan the night before. But even then, weekly spreads are enough for me to write down the tasks. This is an example of a weekly log.

Weekly log/spread of bullet journal

In a daily log, you write each day’s tasks as you go. If you have to juggle lots of things at home and work, you can plan accordingly in your journal. You can separate work and personal/home into two columns and add respective entries.

To create a daily log, take a fresh page and write down the date as the heading, and add your entries.

The daily log gives you the freedom to take more space if you want, for busier days. If you do not record daily it’s better if you keep a daily log rather than a weekly log, as you will be leaving blank spaces in the weekly log. Here is an example of a daily log from tinyrayofsunshine.com

Daily log of bullet journal

It is okay even if you don’t record in your journal daily. You can pick back up where you left off without feeling guilty of leaving blank pages.

That’s why people love bullet journal, because of the flexibility it offers.

Now you need to know how to make entries so that it’s easier to identify different tasks.

Let me walk you through the language and elements of a bullet journal. Hope you are with me.

Rapid logging: The language of a bullet journal

Unlike traditional planning systems or diaries, you don’t need to write elaborate sentences in a bullet journal. It takes time and a bullet journal is here to make journaling easier.

Rapid logging consists of 4 components:

Topics, page numbers, short sentences and bullets. (Source: bulletjournal.com)

  • Topics– The heading of each page. With each fresh page, you give a heading so that you are clear what it is about. Example: Future log, Monday 12th March, Index etc.
  • Page numbers– As soon as you give a page a heading you mark it in the index with the page number. It can be a hassle to number each page later and add it to index. (Believe me, I have done that).
  • Short sentences & Bullets- You need to write only short phrases for each entry. Example: laundry, workout, order the book.  

You can use abbreviations to represent the tasks you do often.

Example: ST for strength training, NR for night routine

Bullets are used to make each entry.

Depending upon the nature of each entry, 3 types of bullets are used.

  • for tasks

     O   for events

     –   for notes

And depending upon the completion of tasks, there are additional bullets used like,

     X   for task completed

     >  task migrated

     <    scheduled task

Signifiers

Signifiers are symbols which add extra information to a bullet. Commonly used signifiers are,

  *   shows task’s priority

  !    inspiration (for ideas and insights)

Eye symbol” for explore (a reminder for topics you need to research more)

Example: *• Send email to John

! You compete only with who you were yesterday

But these bullets are not set in stone. It means you can use the symbols that are easy for you. Some people use squares to denote tasks, and color the squares to indicate completed tasks. Again, it’s your choice.

You can create a page called ‘Key’ in the beginning to help you remember the bullets. As I use only 3 or 4 bullets, I have not created this page.

Task Migration

According to Ryder Carroll, migration is the cornerstone of bullet journaling.

Migration means, reviewing unfinished tasks each month and move them to the next month. You note it down in the tasks page of monthly log at the beginning of each month.

But monthly migration doesn’t suit me. I do it every other day because some tasks cannot wait for a month. I highlight the task with my brush pen (you can also use the bullet >), so that it stands out.

Migration in a bullet journal

But if I migrate some tasks repeatedly, I don’t see the need to do it anymore. In that case, I cross it off. That’s another benefit of bullet journaling. It causes you to reflect on what is important and what you should give your time to. If you are postponing repeatedly, it might not be worth your time. Or think about delegating.

Collections

Collections in a bullet journal pretty much talk about your life. It gives the journal a touch of your personality.

Collections are pages dedicated to topics, other than a log.

Example: Meal Planning, Grocery list, Habit tracker etc.

To start a collection, you take the next fresh page, write the topic, add the page number to your index, and start writing.

Some collections in my bullet journal are:

·        Habit tracker

·        My bucket list

·        Packing checklist (Thanks to this, I don’t miss a thing in my travels now. Also, I don’t have to think before packing)

·        Gratitude log

·        Uncomfortable things I did (My goal for this year is to get out of my comfort zone as much as possible and do the things I fear. I note down such acts in this collection to boost my confidence and for future inspiration).

·        Goals for 2018

·        Inspirational quotes

·        Affirmations

·        Self care log

·        My vision board

You see, starting a bullet journal was one of the best decisions in my life. Now I have a place to dump my thoughts and free myself. You should do it too!

Now that you know what collections are, you need to know about threading too.

Threading

Threading is a method used to connect pages of similar topics together. In a bullet journal we fill in the pages as we go. For example if you have a collection called ‘Project notes’, and your notes lie on page 20, and the continuation is in 25, you can make use of threading. Simply add 25 to 20 and vice versa.

Threading in a bullet journal

Conclusion

Starting a bullet journal is easy. It need not overwhelm you if you keep it simple. It increases your productivity and helps you plan and organize your life.

You have enough information to start a bullet journal in this post. If you have any questions or comments please let me know below. Happy to help!

journaling can change your life-10 benefits of journaling

Before you dismiss of journaling habit as something only the intelligent ones or the creative ones do, let me tell you something:

Journaling can be for everyone.

Great men like Benjamin Franklin, Theodore Roosevelt, Mark Twain, Winston Churchill and many more, had journals.

So what is the relation between writing journals and becoming great?

It’s not that simply writing in a journal can make you great. It is how you use it, makes the difference.

If you think you don’t know what to write in a journal or don’t know how to start, let me help.

Here are some of the things you can write in a journal (or 10 benefits of journal writing)

1.Record daily insights that touch you

Benefits of journal writing

As humans we have an average of 60-65k thoughts per day. Among them there might be some wonderful thoughts, ideas and life lessons that we learn from our experiences on a daily basis.

You can record them in your journal. We grow as a person when we learn from our lessons. Recording them on your journal helps you to remember them more.

Another benefit, journaling sometimes gives you interesting revelations about yourself which you wouldn’t have normally thought about.

2. Write about your goals and record progress

Instead of simply writing about your days, you can also use journaling to keep track of your life. It helps in planning your life as you want it to be.

You can have a goal tracker or a habit tracker drawn (or dedicate a separate section for it). And at the end of each day, evaluate how much you did accomplish.

As the saying goes,

What gets measured,  gets done.”

It helps in not losing your focus on your goals, and acts as a reminder why you want to achieve a certain goal. When you write down your goals, you are committing yourself to do it. It reminds your brain that this is important for you and thus your brain causes you to notice more opportunities which help in achieving them.

Having a written plan in your journal will help you kick procrastination habit and bring more order in your life by getting things done.

Related: How to overcome procrastination caused by fear?

3. Write about your desires

As humans, we all spend some time wishing about future; the list of things we want to do, or want to have.

It can be about ideas for expanding business, the kind of body you want to have, the places you want to go, the activities you want to check off your bucket list, the new dish you want to make etc.

A journal is a great place to jot down all these. Research has proved that what we write down we retain more. Thus, there are more chances of taking action. And you definitely want to have those wonderful experiences, right?

4. Lessons from your past experiences

Don’t let your past dictate who you are, but let it be part of who you will become.

Your journal is a little window to your past.

Looking back you have those memories to smile or cry or learn.

It also helps in analyzing your growth as a person. Like what made you upset years ago doesn’t even have a place in your life right now or you realize you cried over trivial things. Such things make you realize how important it is to spend your time more wisely. And manage your emotions in a new light.

You can also write about daily events, not necessarily daily, but the memorable events of your day. The ones you would like to revisit later in life.

5. A tool to release pent-up emotions

Journal writing habit benefits

Today we have all kinds of journals planners and apps to help us do our tasks, but we are distracted more than ever because of the temptation to give in to the social media notifications. This virtual escape does not help in dealing with our thoughts and problems.

When we get overwhelmed due to our circling thoughts, we try to numb our minds with social media. It has become a new medium for relaxation.

But time spent on social media doesn’t always relax our minds and give focus. It gives only distraction.

We should rely on a medium that helps us channel our thoughts onto a focused solution. You can dump your thoughts in a journal, or you can just use it for brainstorming. It helps us to clear our minds, relax and take better decisions.

When my mind is overwhelmed with difficult emotions, I do freewriting in my journal (more on this in a moment).  And I write about how to solve it, how I should approach this problem and how I should improve myself so that this doesn’t occur again (being proactive). Trust me, it is super comforting. I learn about myself more on these journaling sessions and I get actionable tips for self-improvement.

It’s like having a personal therapist.

6. Organize your thoughts

You can create separate sections in your journal for each area of your life. Because to evolve as a person and be a better version of yourself, you need to grow in all aspects of life. A journal is a tool where you can plan to improve.

In my journal, I write about making improvements in career, relationships, parenting, spirituality, health, exercise etc.

I have goals for each part of my life. And it will blow me away if I were to keep all those aspirations in my mind. If it is on my journal, I know I am going to do something about it (and I do!)

You can even have different journals for different subjects but I recommend using one(or two) for everything as you can take it everywhere.

 After all, after a while you will find that your journal turns out to be your constant companion who agrees to whatever you say, be with you in everything, gives you feedback and guards your secrets like a loyal friend.

7. Write about what  you are grateful for today

Benefits of journal writing-express gratitude

I cannot stress enough how important and powerful gratitude is. I first found out about it from Rhonda Byrne’s famous book “The Secret” two years ago. There are people who scorn Law of Attraction. Even I don’t believe in sitting at one place “wishing” for things to happen and hope that a magical genie would come fulfill my desires. No! You have to move your butt and work for it. And then expect the results.

But feeling gratitude daily has changed my life.  I used to be a pessimist and would spend my days thinking about ‘lack of things’. The downside of it is, I failed to notice the good things happening in life. But when I started practicing gratitude, I found out I have more things to be happy of, than things to worry about.

Gratitude makes me ponder about the blessings I have and I never let my mind to drown in disappointing thoughts which drain the positive energy out of my day. Gratitude makes me see the good side of life, even in the most difficult circumstances.

It has really changed my life. I am happier, became more optimistic and I find more blessings come around.

For all those who want to know more about the power of gratitude, I highly recommend the book  ‘The Secret’.

You can buy the audio version here from Audible.com. (You’ll get it free along with another book, if you sign up for a free 30 day trial.)

8. Increases self discipline

Self discipline is one quality you should develop if you want to succeed in life. Successful people have one quality: they do their tasks even if they want to or not.

We all have days on which we would like to stop the alarm, pull the covers and sleep more. But showing up daily, no matter what, is what going to help you create the life you want.

With journaling habit, you are creating a habit where you are expected to show up. And self discipline is a muscle which grows as you flex it more and more.

9. It helps in healing your emotional wounds

Writing is therapeutic. It also helps you to tap into your intuitions to get answers.

It is an outlet to let flow even the most difficult and painful experiences or feelings, that you might not want to tell anyone. (Though I recommend getting an expert help if there is something you can’t solve yourself). It helps in confronting the situation and finding a way out.

You get to listen to your thoughts and feelings and express them rather than creating a storm in your head going in circles.

It is powerful because when we let our feelings out, we get more emotional clarity.

10. It helps in problem solving

Too often, we struggle to take action because of our fears and self doubt.

In the primitive age, our body would produce fear to protect us from external danger ( like wild animals ). The truth is, still today, our brain triggers fear when we are about to step into the unknown. But we get engulfed in our fears without realizing there is no such potential danger.

Often we choose to stay in the safe zone, even if it doesn’t give us the happiness we deserve. We choose unhappiness over uncertainty.

But, a journal could help you in fighting your fears. And control the fear which is affecting the quality of your life.

How is it possible?

Tim ferris, a bestselling author and blogger, teaches an exercise called “fear-setting”, in his book Tools of Titans.  He says, fear setting helped him in overcoming difficult fears in life. Here is an article to learn more about fear-setting.

And also watch Tim’s TED talk(2017) on it, here.

You need not do this exercise in a journal. You can do it in a piece of paper too. But, a journal is going to be with you always and you can always refer back to it when needed.

Finally, there you are.

You have 10 reasons  to start journaling today. Grab a book and start writing. If you are still unsure about what to write, you can try freewriting in the beginning.

Freewriting means writing whatever comes to your mind for a set period of time, without regard to spelling or grammar.

Set a timer for 10-15 minutes. Write what you are thinking right now, even if it sounds stupid. Write even if you don’t get anything to write. It can go like this.

I don’t know what to write about. Nothing comes to my mind. Right now, I’m freewriting. I think this will help me in putting my thoughts onto paper. I bought a journal. In it I will write about …….

You see often it will give you ideas that you might have not got if you stayed in your mental chatter. Freewriting is usually used to warm up writing routine when you face writer’s block. You don’t worry about grammar, spelling, or any error here. Neither should you stop to read what you wrote. Do not lose contact of your pen with paper.

I’d like to hear about your journaling habit . How has it helped you in other areas of life?

Comment below.

 

Have you ever stopped to wonder why years pass so quickly?

I have.

Though I don’t make New Year’s resolutions, I think the start of a new year is the time for reflection for many. About the goals set last year and evaluating their success rate, and making new commitments.

What makes a new year special?

I think it’s the fresh start that motivates us to set goals. A fresh start gives us a new energy. Be it a relationship, a school, a business or even a habit.

In fact a study shows that people are more likely to tackle their goals immediately after temporal landmarks (start of new year, birthdays, holidays, new week/month, semester etc). It’s called ‘fresh start effect’.

And most of us like to imagine how we will make each area of our life better, beginning from the new year. Like changing our diets, exercising more frequently or even taking up a new form of exercise, changing our thinking patterns, control anger etc.

Here I have compiled a list of best habits to have in life. If practiced, they will cause positive and remarkable changes in your life.

10 best habits to have in life for a better you

1. Gratitude

There is a reason gratitude tops my list. I have been practicing gratitude for over 2 years now. It doesn’t mean I wasn’t grateful before. But I didn’t do it as a practice.

But when I started practicing it, I can say my life changed.

I used to worry about small things in life to a large extent. And fair enough, the things I worried started showing up too.

But after starting my gratitude journal, I began to approach life more positively.

There is an old adage which says,”Happiness is not a destination, but a journey”. We postpone happiness thinking achieving a certain thing can make us happy. Or something is going on in my life right now due to which I can’t be happy.

No, it doesn’t work that way.

Even when something is not right in your life now, there are numerous other things that are perfect. Count them, express gratitude for them, to the God you believe in or to the Universe.

You can buy a gratitude journal or a simple notebook will do. Express gratitude for the things you are grateful for, each day. Don’t hesitate to write about even the smallest things that made you happy each day.

Like how your daughter told you that she loves you or even for the flower that bloomed in your garden today. You will be amazed by the changes it will bring to your life.

 Examples:

  • I am grateful to have a healthy body.
  • I am thankful I have a beautiful home to live. It keeps me warm and I have a place for all my belongings.
  • I am grateful for my kids’ health.
  • I am thankful my boss was happy with my work today.

gratitude habit- best habits to have in life

2. Inspire yourself

Zig Ziglar once said:

People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing – that’s why we recommend it daily.

No matter how fired up you are to work towards your goals, there are always days you don’t feel like moving a finger. You might even feel like may be this is not something you’re meant to do. It can happen especially on the days you don’t see the results you expect.

It happens to everyone.

Therefore, it is essential to inspire yourself with motivational content every other day.

Have some books of your favorite authors handy. Or, you can listen to motivating podcasts or watch YouTube videos or Ted talks.

You can read about the lives of successful people, how they sailed through failures and learn from them.

Make a habit of reading at least two pages of a self help book or watching a short YouTube video as part of your morning routine.

3. Get out of your comfort zone more often

This year, one of my goals is to make a habit of doing uncomfortable things more often.

Comfort zone is the best place to be, right?

Who wants to have butterflies in stomach and feel fear?

No one.

 It is when you stretch your comfort zone you get to discover your true potential. It helps you to grow in life, thus achieving more.

Along with butterflies, it will give you new experiences that you would have missed out on, meet new people and explore new places. Never leaving your comfort area means staying stagnant.

So next time, when you want to say “no” to something that you wish you could do, think twice.

get out comfort zone- best habits to have in life

4. Journaling

Journaling helps you record your life. It helps you to plan your days, ensuring you are not wasting the precious 24 hours given to you.

Sometimes our thoughts can overwhelm us. A journaling habit helps in dumping our thoughts into paper, thus clearing our mind.

It’s also a great tool to plan your days and write your goals. Successful people recommend the habit of reviewing your goals on a daily basis to track your progress.

You can start on any notebook or diary. And set a time daily for performing this. Most people prefer to journal first thing in the morning, or just before bedtime.

Related:

5. Exercise

If your body is a vehicle, fuel is the food you give it to run. But you also need to do regular preventive maintenance to keep it in good shape and to prevent a sudden break down.

Exercise is the preventive maintenance you give your body to run smoothly and help you live life in the best possible way.

Regular exercise helps in improving energy, improves blood circulation, controls weight, combats diseases etc. It even boosts your mood by producing endorphins which makes you happy. And the best part is, it also reflects in all other areas of your life too.

Such habits are called keystone habits.

Charles Duhigg in his book The Power of Habit, calls exercise a keystone habit. According to Charles, it helps in creating chain reactions that helps other good habits take hold.

I have found this to be true. If we exercise regularly, we would want to eat healthy and avoid junk food as much possible. And also we get increased energy and good mood to continue with our daily chores.

6. Reading

The ultra successful people are also the ones who read a lot. If you look at Warren Buffet, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs or Elon Musk, they all swear by reading habit. It has influenced their success to a large extent.

Reading opens to you new perspectives you didn’t know existed. If school gives you basic education, reading good books gives you a means to progress, improve your life, change your outlook, gives you new information that you wouldn’t get from schools or other sources.

It is a powerful habit that will give you immense benefits.

If you don’t want to read, you can listen to audiobooks. You can read this article to learn about some of the best audiobook services.

7. Set goals

For many, life is living on autopilot without new aspirations or growth, just going with the flow. Needless to say, it leads to a mediocre life.

If you want to achieve greatness in life or be remembered for something, you should have a vision and work for it. And setting goals will help you in it. It gives you a direction to follow.

Only if you have the destination mapped out, you will know when you get there.You get to measure your work against a set standard. And measuring is important since you get to know if you have attained it or not and find out what to improve.

You can set goals in all areas of life like health, work, relationships, spiritual, hobbies etc.

set goals-best habits to have in life

8. Meditation

Meditation has numerous benefits on your mind and body. It reduces the stress of daily life. Stress can give you many diseases, thus it’s important to keep it under control. When we meditate we observe our thoughts passively, without letting ourselves involve in it or have feelings.

This helps in real life, where we observe stressful events keeping a distance and thus we are more calm and we can make better decisions. Starting a meditation habit is one of the best investments you could give yourself.

Read more:

9. Be proactive

Stephen R covey in his famous book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, says being proactive means, taking responsibility. If you are proactive you never look at the problem and worry, but you try to look for a solution. You do not blame people or circumstances for causing it.

I certainly believe this as one of the best habits to develop. Because when you take responsibility of the negative events happening in your life, you will look for solutions. If you blame others, you give away your power and play victim. It sabotages you and your path to success.

Proactive people create their own opportunities while reactive people wait for opportunities to come their way.

What do you want in life?

To be carried away by events, or control your responses to them and take charge of your life?

be proactive-best habits to have in life

10. Get off the online world more for real life experiences

Our smartphones, rather than being a tool of convenience, has turned into something that rules our time and our days.

Do you always feel something is missing if your phone is not near you?

If so, it’s high time you get hold back of your priorities.

What you can do is, create time blocks for you to use internet. Check e-mails, social media updates and do web browsing only in the allotted time.

You can check your emails or social media if it’s urgent, but don’t get hooked up. Log out as soon as your work is done.

 

So this is my list of 10 best habits to have in life. Habits which, if implemented, can lead you to a more productive and fruitful life.

What do you think? What other habits would you add to the list?

Please comment below.

Unlike what many think, meditation is not meant only for the spiritual people.

Benefits of meditation starting meditation habit-Buddha meditating
Source: Benjamin Balázs- Unsplash

Instant connectivity to anyone around the world, and the ability to bring any information you want on your screens just by typing a few words onto your devices, have reduced the size of our world.

But what has it done to our inner connectivity?

Are we really in sync with our inner self or just distracted every few seconds?

For most of the people, any time they take break from an activity, their hands automatically reach for the phone. And it shows distraction to the core.

Do you want to live a more fulfilling life?

Meditation could be the key to it.

I am all for habits that can positively enhance your life and help achieve the success you deserve. And I have found that meditation is one such habit that can change your life in a dramatic way.

Let me explain what meditation is and how meditation can help to change your life.

What is meditation?

Meditation is a science. It is training your mind to be still, to be conscious of the present moment and focusing inwardly by warding away the incessant mental chatter.

Even though you are awake and fully aware of your surroundings, you choose to focus inward. You do not allow your mind to let anything else disturb your focus.

Wonderful, isn’t it?

Who wouldn’t want to escape the stress of daily life and experience calm?

Mastering your mind is essential to achieve success and meditation is a tool that will help.

This ancient method developed centuries ago in India, helps us to gain control of mind and produce a sense of well-being.

benefits of meditation and how to start a meditation habit

The benefits of meditation and how it can change your life

Ian Gowler, in his book, 48 Creative Meditations, talk about the effects of meditation as:

Meditation is a key to positive thinking. The more often and the more deeply you enter into the simple silence of profound meditation, the more you return to your natural state of balance. The more balanced you are, the more it seems you connect with your own inner wisdom and all it has to offer. This is another reason to recommend you maintain a regular practice of meditation.

There are different types of meditation. Meditation is nothing but observing your thoughts passively. You can focus on any outside object or simply observe your thoughts.

You observe your thoughts and feelings coming and go, detached from them. When you make it a daily practice, you can gradually see changes in your life as well.

You don’t react to situations as you used to. When something or someone angers you, you tend to observe your thoughts calmly.

It raises awareness of how you are feeling in a moment and stay detached to any negative feeling. But unlike common perception, meditation doesn’t make you feelingless, it simply makes you more in control of your emotions.

Often when we react in the heat of the moment, we tend to say things that we don’t mean to. And the worst thing is, we can’t take them back once they are out in the air.

Imagine how good you will feel if you can remain calm in most negative situations. Mediation gives exactly that.

Researchers have proved that meditation changes the response of amygdala (a part of brain highly involved with different emotional responses). It has been proved before that the response of amygdala to emotional stimuli is lower when a person is in a mindful meditative state.

But this study took it further and has proved that amygdala response to emotional stimuli is lower even when a person is in non-meditative state.

In short, meditation affects the way our brain processes emotions even when we are not meditating. It has long term effect on our emotional responses. It also increases immunity and slows ageing. These are enough reasons to start meditation today.

But I can hear you.

Are you saying that you don’t have enough time to meditate? Or maybe don’t know how to start.

Let me help you.

How to start a meditation habit from scratch?

If you are a person who has never meditated in life, you can start easily like this.

All you need is two things: a quiet place and 2-3 minutes. You can try this even while you are reading this, now!

Though there are different types of meditation, I am talking about mindfulness meditation here. This is what I practice and my favorite. And it is an easy one to begin with.

Are you ready?

Choose a posture you are comfortable with. You can either sit on a chair or on a cushion on the floor with folded legs. Different kinds of meditation cushions are available in the market today. But if you are a beginner I suggest sitting on a chair. You can even lie down on your back, but only if you’re sure you wont sleep.

This infographic below will help in getting your posture right.

how to start meditating-meditation posture
Source: mindful.org

Now, pull out your phone or any timer and set a timer for 2 minutes.

Start focusing on your breath. Take note of each inhale and exhale. Notice how you take breaths. When your mind wanders, gently bring back your attention to breathing. No judgement here or frustration for lack of focus.

Try to stay present with your breathing, not forcefully but gently.

When you catch yourself thinking something else, acknowledge it, but don’t judge. This teaches you to observe your thoughts even when you are not meditating and helps you see things from different perspectives. And it also helps you attain that calm before reacting aggressively to different situations.

Our goal here is to be aware of whatever thought that comes into mind, not removing them.

How to make meditation a habit?

Choose a time when you can practice daily. And set a reminder to do it daily. Start with 2-3 minutes. Be consistent with the practice and slowly increase the time duration.

Choosing a small time duration will help you in establishing the habit. And also, in the beginning you might not be able to focus for 10 minutes or more.

It is better if you choose a particular time everyday and stick with it. It will help you remember the new habit.

When  you are trying to form a new habit, there is a possibility in forgetting to do it. Especially if there is no cue associated with it to remind you.

I do meditation right after journaling at night. So writing in my journal is my cue here.

I have been journaling for almost a year now. So it is an established habit. Thus I remember my meditation habit. You too should associate it with some established habits like

  • Right after brushing teeth in the morning
  • Right before going to bed
  • When you reach home from work
  • Before meal

You can also keep visual reminders by writing on post-it notes and sticking on your fridge or mirror; the places you are likely to pass by daily.

There you are, you have enough information to start meditating.

What are the challenges you face while meditating? Or even when trying to establish any habit? Let me know about it in the comments below.

 

 

You must complete the project today.

But no matter how hard you try to focus, your mind keeps wandering to the la-la land.

Frustrating, isn’t it?

Improving your focus can greatly increase your productivity.

Whatever task you are trying to do, be it working on a file in office, or studying for an exam or even if you are a mom trying to cook a new dish in the kitchen, you need focus to complete tasks in the best manner.

What is focus?

Focus is defined as a center of activity, attraction or attention.

When we decide to focus on one thing, we set aside everything else and work on it. But the problem arises, when our mind starts wandering and we can’t just get it done.

Here are some tactics to increase focus and concentration.

1. Declutter your mind and work environment/home

how to increase focus and concentration declutter

Clutter affects your brain and its ability to focus. Clutter can be physical as well as mental.

Sometimes, your mind is filled with items on your to-do list for the latter part of the day. Or you are thinking about the behavior of your kids.

The solution?

Identify the most important tasks for the day.

Schedule these tasks so as they get done in the morning.

When the most important tasks are done, you can be relieved from the mental clutter.

When other tasks come up, schedule them for another time, may be in the evening. So if you know it will get done later, you can focus on the current task with full attention.

But, when you schedule an important task for the evening, it is all you can think about from the morning till evening. It makes you lose focus on whatever you are doing in the morning.

For night owls, they wake up after having done the important task at night. For them, it’s the right time to be distraction free and get the creative juices flowing.

The key is in finding the right time that suits you to reduce the mental clutter to increase focus.

Also, you must get rid of the physical clutter.

According to a study done at Princeton University Neuroscience Institute, clutter competes for your attention and it affects your ability to focus.

So clean your desk on a daily basis.

Imagine working in a neat and tidy environment. It frees up your mind giving space to think. When there is nothing to distract you, your work can be done easily.

It also helps in finding things easily. If everything in its place you can save time and energy. Or else, you may stress out looking for things when there is work to be done.

2. While working keep the distractions away

Technology can be a boon or bane depending upon how you use it.

If you keep your smartphone near you while working it can cause you to check emails, or social media feed frequently.

Smartphones have made our attention span short and we always crave for stimulation of something new. This keeps us making check it frequently. Sometimes this is an automatic behavior. We do it unconsciously.

It’s because all activities that give pleasure make our brain release dopamine. It controls the reward and pleasure centers of our brain.

Once we get the hang of it, we crave for the pattern again which leads to habit formation. Thus we repeat the behavior again and again.

Solution: Keep your smartphones away unless you don’t absolutely need it for work.

Or turn off all the push notifications.

Or even better, turn your mobile data off.  I switch on my mobile data only when I want to check notifications. This helps me from getting distracted by the notifications.

Cal Newport, the author of Deep Work says:

Efforts to deepen your focus will struggle if you don’t simultaneously wean your mind from a dependence on distraction. Much in the same way that athletes must take care of their bodies outside of their training sessions, you’ll struggle to achieve the deepest levels of concentration if you spend the rest of your fleeing the slightest hint of boredom. Constant attention switching online has a lasting negative effect on your brain.

3. Get enough sleep

how to increase focus and concentration sleep better

Lack of sleep can make you tired due to reduced availability of oxygen. It is hard for you to focus and make decisions when you are tired. It can also affect your creativity.

An average person needs to sleep 7-8 hours daily.

Avoid screen usage at least an hour before bed as the blue light from it can interfere with the quality of sleep.

4. Get moving more often

Dr. John Ratey, the author of the book “Spark-The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise” and the Brain speaks about the relationship between exercise and optimal brain functioning here.

Exercise turns on the prefrontal cortex of the brain, also known as the CEO of the brain. A quick burst of an aerobic exercise turns on that part of the brain increasing the level of neurotransmitters like dopamine in our body and flooding the brain with oxygen. This helps in increasing concentration and focus.

5. Meditation

It s okay even if you can’t spend hours sitting still on a mountain. You can spare at least a few minutes a day to do meditation.

It works in increasing focus, time and time again research proves it.

If you are just starting out, you can meditate for 5 minutes. Or even 2-3  minutes will do.

It depends on you. It’s not the time that matters in the beginning, but consistency. And what matters is you get started. Start with small time duration so that you don’t feel overwhelmed or unmotivated to continue.

6. Have brain foods

Food has surprising benefits apart from helping to survive and provide energy. Food can affect our mood, increase energy, mental clarity and remove brain fog.

Most of the time we overlook the wonderful benefits that food provide, and even don’t recognize our lack of focus could be due to not eating proper food items.

Stay away from sugar and trans fats as they can make you feel depressed and mentally foggy.

These are some of the foods that help in increasing your focus and concentration. Or rather, they can be called brain foods and they are berries, eggs, fatty fish rich in omega-3s, avocados, celery, dark chocolate etc.

For more information on brain foods I suggest this article.

proven ways to increase focus and concentration

7. Pomodoro technique

Pomodoro is a great technique to stay focused on a particular task. I recommend this technique if you are working on a task that requires focused attention like writing, solving a problem at work or studying.

I use Pomodoro technique to write and has helped me in improving my focus on the task at hand.

How to use Pomodoro technique?

Set your timer to 25 min and start doing focused work till the timer goes off.

It is important to avoid reacting to any other thought asking you to do this or that. Like, checking a mail that just came, or searching about something you have been thinking yesterday etc.

After 25 min, take a 5 minute break.

Continue this again for 3 more sessions with a 5 minute break in between.

This works for some while there are people who can concentrate for more than 25 min.

According to Wikipedia,

Common estimates for sustained attention to a freely chosen task range from about five minutes for a two-year-old child, to a maximum of around 20 minutes in older children and adults.

If you are like me and can’t focus for a long period at a stretch, you can use this method.

Conclusion

These are some ways you can increase focus to get more productive work done.

 

Sure I have left out some points. What other methods work for you in increasing your concentration?

Please comment below. I’d love to know!

How to overcome procrastination by facing your fears

Can you think of a valuable asset you have with you right now?

No matter where you come from, everyone is given this asset.

It’s nothing else, but time.

But, think about how we take care of it.

Are you living in a way, where each day of your life is as productive as possible?

No, I’m not suggesting you live like a robot and live only from a list. But as humans, to be successful in life, you need to plan your days and have an ongoing system to get things done.

But we tend to procrastinate on some important tasks no matter how hard we try. The reason may be deep without us realizing it. 

Laziness isn’t the only reason we procrastinate. It could be the underlying fear of failure.

Read on to find out how to beat your fear to overcome procrastination.

Why fear makes you procrastinate? 

Fear of failure haunts you when you have one or more of the following fears.

We fear failure when we doubt our abilities. Self-doubt and lack of self confidence lead to inaction. Even when we think it’s something we should do, we are unable to take action. We procrastinate.

As a result, many people go to their graves with their dreams buried in them.

Don’t die with your music still inside you. Listen to your intuitive inner voice and find what passion stirs your soul.

-Dr. Wayne W. Dyer

 How to overcome fear from killing your potential?

Take a sheet of paper and write down the most important task or dream that you tend to procrastinate. And come up with 5-10 reasons why you think you can’t do it (these are your fears).

Now for each reason, think about what can be done to solve each one. Here you get an idea on what’s causing you to procrastinate and you are identifying the solution to each problem.

You can brainstorm more and get more ideas on how you can solve each one. Google is your friend here. You can find tons of articles on solving literally whatever problem you have.

It might be learning new things about your subject, acquiring new skills, or having to figure out about setting aside more time for it.

Writing by hand is important as it gives you more clarity to your thoughts.

Here is a list of some of the fears you might be having.

1. Fear of losing time and effort if you fail

Everyone can have this fear when starting anything new.

What if all my effort goes under the drain? I will lose everything I spent on it. I could spend it on something else.

Such thoughts cause you to procrastinate and paralyze you from taking action. But how do you know what will work for you? Unless you don’t try something, you never know.

It can work or not. If it works, hurray!

But if it doesn’t, I would say it’s still better than not trying and wondering what would happen if I had tried. If you fail,you now know what works for you and what doesn’t. You might learn something in the process that you can use in future.

Napoleon Hill, in his bestselling book, Think and Grow Rich, says

how to overcome procrastination-Napoleon Hill quote

If you don’t try new things, you never grow. Think about being in the same place exactly a year from now.

You don’t want that, do you?

Jack Ma, the founder of Ali Baba failed many times before becoming a billionaire. He is a master of perseverance. You can be too.

2. Fear of being ridiculed

You are afraid you will make fun of yourself and you worry about what others will think. Especially if you fail, you think you won’t be able to face others.

 Truth be told, nobody gives a damn about what you do in life. Except for a handful of people. And they will always count on you no matter what happens.

Leave the rest of the people whom you worry about. Everyone is worried about their lives and what they should do. Even our loved ones think mostly about themselves in a day.

Don’t you think it’s true?

What do you think about mostly in a day?

We are worried about our work, family or health. And we worry about how we come across to other people. Even if people say something about you it is their opinion, it need not be the truth.

No matter whatever you do in life there will always be people who don’t think highly of it. Everyone may not like you or your work. And you know what?

It’s okay.

They don’t need to and you don’t need everyone’s acceptance to succeed in life.

I used to worry about what people think of me all the time. The biggest breakthrough came to me when I  learned that they don’t think about me all the time. What a relief!

So forget about people. Be your own boss.

3. Fear of not being good enough/smart enough

Self-doubt can be crippling.

It prevents you from taking action, even when your heart screams you want it.

First of all, know that you are not alone in this. Everyone feels they are not good enough/smart enough at one point or the other, especially when starting something new.

Solution:

1. Acknowledge it

Let that thought come and go. Acknowledge that you have it.

The key is in not letting it overpower you.

Remember everyone has it and it needn’t be the truth.

2. Analyze the thought

Think about why you have it.

It may be because you are looking at people who have had massive success in their field and comparing yourself with them.

But it is absurd.

Because you are not seeing how they reached there. They started like you, at the lowest rung of the ladder.

Everyone has to start somewhere. You polish your skills and acquire more knowledge as you go. You can never start being an expert.

3. Come up with ideas on how to solve it

Look up to your leaders with a curious mind. Learn how they made it to the top. Find out how you can do the same. At the same time don’t be intimidated by their success.

It’s when you think about only the end result, you get the fear.

Here is a task for you.

Break down your goal into simple steps.

For example, if you want to become a singer, instead of doubting your ability, think about what you can do now to pursue this goal.

As the first step,  you can join a music school and start learning and practicing.

You can surely do that.

But if you look at Beyoncé or Lady Gaga you will feel overwhelmed thinking you can’t be them. Remember, they started like you.

4. Fear of not having enough skills

Make a list of all the skills you need in your desired field. Read books or blogs on how to improve those skills.

In this age of instant connectivity, it should never be a problem. You have numerous courses available on any skill you want to achieve. Sign up for a course online or offline.

You can gradually build those skills. It doesn’t matter if all the skills cannot be attained together. You can learn new skills in a step by step manner.

Conclusion

Conquering your fears one by one is essential to stop procrastinating. Hope this article has helped to understand your fears and inspire you to take action.

What is it that you struggle with and makes you procrastinate? Please comment below.

I’d love to know!

More reading:

how to set and achieve your goals
Image credit: Stocksnap.io

What will you tell me, if I ask you what’s the major goal in your life right now?

What? You don’t have one?

Hmm…okay.

But I am sure you have dreams. Who doesn’t dream about their ideal life?

The job you must have, the kind of partner you want, the places you want to see.

It can go on and on.

Well, goals are nothing but these dreams given a direction, plan and a deadline.

If that’s the case, it is easy to set goals, don’t you think?

But the truth is, only a small minority of people have well defined goals in life.

It’s in their mind, but not on paper; or on screens (for the Millennials).

Here I want to tell you why you should set goals and how to avoid these mistakes.

Have goals that will make a difference in your life

You can stick to your goals if you realize it’s something that’s going to make a remarkable difference in your future.

If you want to stick to your goals until its completion, your goal must mean something to you. You should know in your mind that it is something that really will change your life or at least make visible changes over time.

Those are the goals you should be aiming for.

I am stressing this because once you set out on working on your goals, there could be many roadblocks.

There can be challenges in the form of your health, or relationships at home/work. You have to overcome all those to achieve your goals.

How to have goals that you feel like working for everyday?

Brian Tracy, in his book Goals, talk about a method called Wave a Magic Wand.

Quoting him:

In determining your true goals, use the “Magic Wand” technique.

Imagine that you have a magic wand that you can wave over a

particular area of your life. When you wave this magic wand, your

wishes come true!

Wave a magic wand over each area of your life (health, relationships, work etc). If you could have any three wishes in that area, what would that be?

This exercise will help to find out your high priority wishes in each area.

You can set goals in those area.

But don’t make these mistakes when setting goals.

How to set goals in life and achieve them

1. Setting vague or unrealistic goals

As I said, the reason we set goals and want to achieve them is to have a sense of direction. We should know what to focus on and what not to.

If you say you will start a diet from next week, it is too vague.

Specify which day of the week, specify what kind of food you are going to include in your diet, what to exclude and how much portion.

Now you have a clear idea of what you should do.

It is easier to take action on such well defined goals.

And if you are a beginner in something, don’t set unrealistic goals.

Like, I am going to do 60 minutes of yoga starting from tomorrow, when you haven’t flexed a muscle in your life.

It will cause more harm than good and can be detrimental to your health.

Also, it will not help in establishing a habit.

Always start small.

Aim for simple poses in the beginning and gradually work your way upwards.

You can say like this, my goal is to do 60 minutes of yoga thrice a week before breakfast.

But to reach there for the first month you could start with simple poses for 20 minutes and work upwards as your body gets used to it.

This will instill confidence in you and you will keep doing it. But if your goal is too unrealistic, chances are it will scare you off after the initial excitement wears down.

That’s why many New Year resolutions fail by the first quarter of the year.

According to Statistic Brain, only 9% Americans who set resolution in  2017 felt they were successful in achieving their resolution.

It is because people set too big goals and they expect to have a transformation from day one. They get discouraged if they don’t see the results and think they are a failure.

So always set an achievable goal and once you accomplish it, you can plan for the next step.

2. Not having a system

Once you have determined what your goal is, you should have a system in place.

For example, if you want to finish reading a 600 page book in a month, you should read at least 20 pages a day. That is having a system in place to achieve your goal.

Similarly, if you want to do 150 minutes of exercise in a week (which is the prescribed minimum amount of activity in a week for an average adult), you should do 50 minutes of exercise thrice a week or you can plan accordingly. You can decide on which days you are going to do it and the time.

You have more chances of success this way.

Even if you miss a day, get back on track as soon as possible.

This will keep you going till you reach your goal.

If you find that you couldn’t achieve your goal as within the planned period, you can reschedule it.

This will give you an idea about how much time you need for each activity and can plan better in future.

Planning is a skill that you can master by practice.

3. Not writing them down

Are you a person who has goals but don’t think it’s not important to write them down? You might be thinking, I know what I want. I’ll achieve my life goals anyway.

You might be wrong.

A Research by Dominican University of California psychology professor Dr. Gail Matthews proves that written goals have more chances to be achieved.

According to her study, you are 42% more likely to achieve your goals if you write them down.

I can personally vouch for this because I complete almost all tasks in a day that I have written down the previous night.

It really works.

But on those days where I have only thought I should do a task, I mostly forget it, or I simply procrastinate it.

What happens when we write down goals?

It is said that an average human being has an average of 12k-60k thoughts a day.

And most of the time we are thinking the same thoughts again and again.

With so many thoughts floating around in our brain, it is difficult to focus and take action.

When we write down our goals, these thoughts become concrete. They take a form. Our brain knows this is something serious.

So our conscious mind tend to remember them more and we notice more opportunities and ideas coming our way to accomplish them. That doesn’t come when just thinking.

The idea in our mind gets clearer and we get an actionable plan to act upon. Thus we have more chances of doing anything we write down.

Think about what you want in life the most. Choosing that desire as the destination, make step by step plan to reach there. Write down each step. Take consistent action.

You can make any dream a reality this way, if you work long and hard enough.

You might also like:

You have this idea and fire in your belly.how to get motivated when starting new habits

You are sure you are going to do it and get all the necessary items.

First week goes well, second week is okay even though sometimes you doubt if it’s gonna work.

Suddenly you don’t seem to have the interest you started with. You are guilty of spending money on all those stuff.

Even though you occasionally do it, you tend to lose motivation and have lost interest.

It lies there in your to-do list or I-will-start-again-someday list.

Why does this happen?

We all want to be successful, stay fit, and have healthy habits.

But even if we take an initiative and start working on it, we sometimes lose interest. We don’t have the fire we started with.

But when you look at other people doing it consistently, you don’t think they go through this.

Let me tell you the truth.

Everyone has those days when they just don’t feel like doing it, even the most successful people.

Here, I am going to help you to take action even when you are unmotivated.

Ready to start?

How to keep yourself motivated?

Staying motivated often doesn’t need to be a power of our mind.

It’s not.

The reason you are not feeling motivated might be because you don’t have a pre-planned routine. To have a productive day and get your work done, you should have some routines or cues that trigger the desired habit.

Identify what area in your life is you are struggling to have motivation in.

It might be starting a new fitness habit, a reading habit, practising your sports/cooking skills, or anything under the sun you wanna achieve.

Even the most committed person can face this trouble from time to time. It’s human.

But one thing differentiates them from the rest of the people.

It is, they have learned how to deal with it and stick with their routine.

The problem you face is, you know what you should be doing. But you find it difficult to execute.

Difficult. Exactly. The solution I suggest is make it simple.

You see, it’s easier to start a habit than sticking to it.

Sticking to it needs your putting effort into it.

Staying disciplined.

I am gonna tell you exactly how to do it.

how to stay motivated when starting new habits

How to stick to your habits after starting them?

First of all, you should have the passion towards it.

I know it’s a no-brainer.

Whatever your goal is, if you really don’t want it and you are doing it just because someone else is doing it and really successful in it, the chances are you won’t be much motivated to stick with it.

You should fall in love with the idea of doing it.

But you might say you are not in love with the idea of working out. But you love that super fit healthy body, right?

You might sometimes feel lazy to practice your skills, even if it’s something you are passionate about. But you want to be the best in your field, right?

I hated every minute of training, but I said, don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.”

-Muhammed Ali

Always keep the end result in your mind.

Visualize yourself having succeeded. It helps to get motivated.”

Associate cues to your desired routine.

Derek Doepker, in his book, The Healthy Habit Revolution suggests to have cues to remind you of your new habit.

For example, if you want to practice your writing skills put your pen and book somewhere it’s easy to see daily (cue). It will remind you to perform the habit.

If you want to start working out, put your running shoes near your bed before sleeping. Or, put your workout clothes where you can see in the morning as soon as you wake up (existing habit).

The key is associating cues to your existing habits.

Once you have the cues placed, start small.

In the beginning, your focus is on establishing the routine and not about getting much value.

To create a workout habit, commit to doing 5 minutes of workout a day. Or just do a warm up.

You can’t really find excuses to not do 5 minutes of an exercise a day. You can do it even while watching TV.

But you might ask who is going to benefit from a 5 minute exercise. Our aim is not to benefit from it in the beginning, but form a new habit.

These are called micro-habits or mini habits.

A mini habit is, the tiniest version of your big habits.

That is, take a big habit, make it incredibly small so that you can’t say no to doing it.

For example, if you want to start a reading habit, commit to reading a paragraph a day.

Or if you want to clean the clutter in your room, commit to put away one or two things in its place daily. Who knows, you might get in a cleaning frenzy and the whole room is shiny and bright as new.

Even if you don’t do that, don’t worry, our goal is to build a habit of cleaning the room daily.

According to a research conducted by Phillippa Lally and her colleagues, it takes an average of 66 days to form a new habit, when you do it consecutively. It was published in the European Journal of Social Psychology in 2009.

But don’t worry if you miss a day or two. It can stress you out and you might think you are a failure and not try again. What you must do is get back on track as soon as possible.

Because I know when you wanna do something consecutively for two months, life can interfere and you simply might not be able to do it.

This is where practising mini habits can help you.

It’s easy to do and doesn’t take much time. But you have the sense of accomplishment that you did it.

Most of the time you would be doing it more than the intended time because you have created momentum by starting it.

And motivation follows momentum.

If you are like me, and if it’s something you really have been nurturing in your mind, you don’t wanna stop soon.

Creating a routine is more important in the beginning. Once it’s a habit, you won’t feel the need to get motivated daily.

Habits are automatic behaviors that you do on a consistent basis, once the cue/trigger goes off.

I mean you don’t need motivation to brush your teeth right?

(Or do you? I hope not!)

That’s the power of habit.

Takeaway

When struggling with motivation, remember mini habits. I bet you can’t say no to it.

ways to increase productivity

How many times have you wished if you could have a few more hours in a day?

I always wish to have those extra precious hours to catch some more sleep or do some more of my favorite activities.

But, let’s face it. We all have the same number of hours in a day.

When learning about time management, what you should know is we are never going to get enough time for all the things we want to do.

Hard truth, isn’t it?

But we can plan our days in a way that the most important things get done, and of course have enough time for leisure too.

The fact that all the great achievers of all time have done remarkable work with the same time window as us shows we can do it too.

Let me share some tips to increase your productivity. As a result of these techniques, you can have more work done in a day than you have ever done.

1. The Pareto principle

The Pareto principle or the 80/20 principle is named after an Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto who found that 80% of the land in Italy was owned by 20% of the population.

The significance of this finding is that it occurs commonly in other areas too.

For example, 20% of your customers will give you 80% of your sales.

Similarly, 20% of your tasks will be responsible for the 80% of the value of what you do. It means in a day, you would be doing many things, of which some produce very good results.

Instead of spending whole day on many small tasks which don’t produce much value, identify which of the tasks give you the best results. The ones that help you get a step closer to your goals.

Write down your goals. Decide which of your goals are high priority ones and you want to see the most results in. It is your 20%. Spend more time on it. Cut back on all the other unimportant activities (80%) that consume your time.

For example, if you have a goal to learn a new subject, plan your day in such a way that you block some time for it daily. You can do it by cutting back on the time you spend using social media. Using social media doesn’t give you much value, but you know that learning gives more value to you.

Most great achievers spend maximum time on what matters most. They don’t spend their valuable time on things that don’t give much value; they outsource such tasks to people who are good at it.

Hold it, I know that everyone doesn’t have the luxury to do that.

Especially if you have only started working on your goals you might not have the means to have a personal assistant or staff to do such work.

In such cases, what you should do is identify your most productive hours in a day.

For some it might be in the morning, for some in the evening/night. Aim to find one or two hours. And do focused work avoiding all the distractions. You will produce your best work in those hours.

Remember the 80/20 principle is just an observation and not a law. And it’s not always the same ratio. It can be higher or lower. But it gives you an idea about what you should be concentrating on more.

2. Eat that frog first

The title of this section is derived from Brian Tracy’s book, Eat That Frog!.

In it he talks about the importance of doing difficult and important tasks first thing in the morning. Trust me; it works wonders in increasing your productivity.

Using the Pareto principle, you should identify which tasks are the most rewarding ones in your day. Schedule them at the earliest hours in the morning when you feel the freshest.

Once you have done the most complex and important task of the day first thing in the morning, you will feel much relieved and have a sense of accomplishment. This increases your confidence and energy level.

But, we have a tendency to postpone the difficult tasks as much as possible. It’s because either we are afraid of the task itself or we don’t have a definite plan. This takes me to the next point.

3. Plan your days, weeks and months

use journal to increase productivity  

The secret to getting things done is planning, planning, and planning.

I can’t emphasize it enough because no matter how beautiful and realistic dreams you have, nothing much happens unless you have a clear idea of what you want to achieve.

Even if you are the CEO of a company or a stay-at-home-mom, you need to plan your days to have your work done in time.

Imagine not having time for anything you want to do for yourself. You want to take care of your health, start a fitness regime or simply finish reading that book.

But you are always bogged down by the work at office or home and you are simply tired to do it once you get free time.

Familiar with this scenario?

Plan your days the previous night or early in the morning.

Write down how many hours you want to spend on each activity, and make sure you block some time for your leisure activities.

Either you can plan your days daily or weekly.

I like planning for a week as it gives me an idea about how each week is going to be.

4. Set deadlines for your goals

For each of your goals, set deadlines because it provides a feeling of urgency. If you don’t know when are you going to complete the task or achieve a particular goal, you are surely going to postpone it.

Setting deadlines is very important to improve productivity and overcome procrastination.

For example,

I am going to start working out from next month.

I am going on a holiday next year.

State when; the date. You always have a next month or year. If you know the date, you can start saving for that trip.

If you don’t, your mind starts giving you reasons to not do it because starting a new habit is not comfortable. Your mind likes the easiest route.

It’s easier to sit on that couch and watching TV rather than start a working out and have aching limbs, right?

But if you have a deadline in your mind, your brain tells you it’s something urgent. You automatically tend to take action.

So take out a small notebook and pen, and start planning.

I have done more tasks when I have written them down than the tasks that I just wish to do.

5. Clean your desk/home

Nothing puts us off than a messy atmosphere. Think about your bedroom/desk where everything is in its place, neat and organized.

Such a happy place to be.

Research shows that clutter creates stress. In order to stay productive, consider cleaning your place on a daily basis. It gives us a clear mind and it’s important for us to be able to think properly.

Conclusion

These are five tips you can start implementing to increase productivity in your day.

If you take the time to implement each of these you will see positive results in your days and life.