Friday, 23 November 2018

10 Things To Remember In Life

Llife/Rules/10 things to remember in life

Back with an article that will bring my readers to reality. I just had to write this piece because it’s something that affects everyone despite race, gender, color, sex or disposition. I took months from writing due to personal issues that were beyond my control. In living your best life, there are certain rules to follow to be happy, these are little rules which I will just outline and they are basically self- explanatory. The first thing to remember in life is:

1.     The Past is the past: I made this my first rule because it’s what holds a lot of people back, when things happen in our lives, we tend to ponder and become sad especially when it’s a bad experience due to a mistake or poor decision we took. The past cannot be changed so why not suck it up and move on. You learn from the experiences and move on. Most people can’t move on from the past that’s why they resort to all forms of negative actions such as suicide, crimes etc. there’s a reason why it’s called the past. Be strong and stop wallowing in your foolishness.

2.     Opinions don’t define you: why do people care about other people opinion. The moment we stoop so low to listen and allow peoples comments and views affect us then we become slaves to them. This is an inherent character seen among our young ones especially in high schools. This can stick with them for life and cause a stigma which will in turn lead to low self-esteem. Be proud of who you are despite whatever flaws you may have. Don’t listen to people who do not have the power to make or mar you.

3.     Everyone’s journey is different: yes, all our fingers are not equal so is our journey in life. Do not compare yourself with your friends because it’s going to make you feel like a failure. Appreciate life and go with your pace, do not use this as an excuse to not seek an education or get a job. You might notice your friends getting a master or getting married, but that’s how life is. Your time will come just keep focused and be strong and be ready for it.

4.     Things get better with time: Time heals all wounds; eventually everything will fall into place and make sense. Time is a factor that cannot be challenged. Even great men were not born great, they developed themselves and worked hard to be recognized in the society and it was all a factor of time. Give it your best and time will tell where you will be in 5 to 10 years from now. But why not plant the seed of success today.

5.     Positive thoughts are your friend: Positive thoughts create positive things. When we find ourselves thinking positively it impacts positively in our lives. I do this all the time and it has helped. Try to be optimistic and see how things turn out to be good.

6.     You fail only if you quit: Never say die attitude has earned the best deals for us. Never give up even if the situation is dire and needs a life line. Keep on hustling and never quit because if you quit you fail. Keep on going and the universe will reward your hard work eventually. Remember Quitters don’t win.

7.     Do not Overthink: Overthinking is not good for us because it leads to sadness. Action people accept the failures and move on. Pondering on issues puts a break in our lives. Hence it is important to think less and act more.

8.     Kindness is free: It pays to be good and when we are good to ourselves and to others we attract favours from the universe. It is free to be kind. Positive energy begets positive outcomes. As we mark Thanksgiving today go out there and give the less privilege some food and clothes to keep them warm. Many of us have a lot of spare clothing we don’t use. Give them out; unclog your closet and show someone love today.

9.     Smiles are Contagious: Smiles are contagious and it helps uplift our spirits and that of others. It relaxes our nerves and makes us look beautiful. When we do not smile we push people away and keeping a sad demeanor won’t do you any favours as it makes you miss your luck and opportunity. So keep smiling and affect someone’s life positively today.

10.                        Happiness is found within: There’s a lot to be happy about, for instance looking at this scenario, if you have food in your fridge, clothes on your body, a roof over your head and a place to sleep, you’re richer than 75% of the entire world. If you have money in your wallet, a little change and you can go anywhere you want, you are among the 18% of the world’s wealthy people. If you are alive today with more health than illness, you are more blessed than the million people who will not survive this week and die. Life is not about complaining a pain and sorrows. It’s about a thousand other reasons to be grateful and happy. So why are you not happy?

If you can actually “READ” this message and understand it, you are more fortunate than the 3 billion people in the world who cannot see, cannot read or suffer from mental retardation. There you have it 10 things to remember in life. Keep striving and one day you will be where you want to be.

Thursday, 28 June 2018

10 Best Time Management Skills You Should Learn Today

Time Management/ Productivity/ Skills

I decided to write about time management, I am guilty of this too always doing things at the last minute and sometimes sucking up when I am not able to complete the days job. So I came up with some time management skills that I adopted which helped me meet up my schedule and become more prompt and efficient. Successful entrepreneurs wake up early in the day, some as early as 4.00 am to plan their day and make the best out of it. It all depends on your mindset and what works for you. Some become more active in the evening and some in the morning. Am not going to dwell on the cliche of whether early birds are more successful than others;

You may often feel like there is not enough time in a day. Perhaps you even find you constantly have to work late hours to hit your deadlines. Maybe you even feel too busy that you miss meals and sleep. These are all classic signs that you may not be managing your time effectively. Benjamin Franklin once said that time is money. Just like money, time must be managed properly. If you manage time properly you find the right balance between your work, leisure and rest time. You effectively accomplish the things that matter most in your life. On top of that, you reduce your stress level and feel a lot happier. To help you manage time more effectively, here are ten proven time management skills you should learn today.

1. Set Goals: Goals give you a vision, focus and destination to work towards. They help you have a clear mind on where you want to go and how best to manage your time and resources to get there. By setting goals, you are able to identify what’s worth spending your time on and what’s a distraction to avoid. Start by asking yourself where you want to be in six months time. You can go further and look at where you want to be in the next year or even decade from now. Set personal and professional goals that are realistic and achievable. This is a crucial step toward ensure you manage your time better.

2. Prioritize your goals: Prioritizing cannot be overemphasized when it comes to effective time management. It can be difficult to know what tasks to tackle first, especially when a flood of tasks all seem urgent. It is, however, relatively easy to prioritize activities if you have clear goals already set. Ask yourself three basic questions to know what tasks should take first priority: Why am I doing this task or activity? How does this task help me achieve my goals? To what extent does this task I’m doing help me achieve my goals? Do the most important things first.

3. Keep a Task List: A task list (or “to-do list”) is a reminder system that tells you when you need to do what. Keeping a to-do list helps you remain organized and on top of things. It helps break things down into small, manageable tasks or steps so that you never forget to do the important stuff. Don’t try to remember everything you need to do in your head. In most cases, trying to remember everything won’t work. Instead, keep a to-do list. A simple daily, weekly or monthly planner on a note pad or diary can do. Write down the things you need to do, including meetings, appointments and deadlines. Prioritize items on your list by listing items in order of importance from high priority to low priorities items or highlighting urgent or important tasks on your list with an asterisk. Cross out completed tasks as often as you add new tasks on your task list to ensure you keep moving forward.

4. Schedule Tasks: A schedule defends from chaos and whim,” says author Annie Dillard. If you are a morning person and find you are at your most creative and productive early in the morning, schedule high-value tasks in the morning at your peak creative/productive time. If your creativity and energy picks up when the sun is setting, schedule high priority tasks then. Your “down” time can be scheduled for less important tasks like checking e-mail or returning phone calls. Understand your rhythm of peak and dead times and schedule tasks appropriately to make the most of peak times. Remember you don’t find time for important things; you make time for important things best by scheduling.

5. Focus on One Task at a Time: You get more done in the least time possible when you toggle between talking on your cell phone, browsing the internet and jotting down notes, right? Wrong! According to a study published by the American Psychological Association, you actually spend between 20 and 40 percent more time when you multitask. Besides costing you time and efficiency, multitasking can also reduce the quality of your work, you don’t get on top of your workload by multitasking. Focus more on completing one task at a time. Completing tasks in sequence one at a time leads to better use of time, says I find out that doing one task at a time saves me on time besides, I allow my brain focus and rest in between as so many things can go wrong when you multitask too much.

6. Minimize Distractions: Whether it’s client e-mail alerts, phone calls from friends or IM chats with prospects while working, distractions are a hindrance to effective use of time. Distractions break your concentration, lower your productivity and often prevent you from completing important tasks on time. They can also cause stress .Identify what is distracting you from doing core tasks and put a stop to it. Kill that television and turn off your Internet connection and IM chat. Put up a “Do not disturb” or similar sign at the entrance of your dedicated work space to prevent interruptions. Just do whatever it takes to minimize distractions. This ensures you take control of your days and maximizes your productivity.

7. Overcome Procrastination: Procrastination to me is a sin however you may think of it, I don’t like doing that because I tend to forget to do that it later. I believe in just doing it when it comes. Edward Young, the English poet best remembered for Night Thoughts, once said procrastination is the thief of time. Don’t put off tasks that you should be focusing on right now and let procrastination steal your time. Remind yourself that the best time to do somethings is usually NOW. Push yourself a little harder to beat procrastination and get what needs to be DONE. An effective strategy to beat procrastination is to tell yourself you are only going to embark on a project for a few minutes, say ten minutes. Once you start the project, your creative juices will start flowing. You will then find you want to continue with the task and quite possibly take it to the end. The trick to beat procrastination can be as simple as devoting a small amount of time to start. 

8. Take Breaks: Unless you are Superman, you can’t sustain working long hours on end without burning out and sacrificing on quality. However tempting it may be to work to a deadline for 8-10 hours straight, take breaks in between work. This way you give your brain valuable time to rest and recharge. Taking breaks from work is not time wasting. It is smart time management. You produce top quality work when you are well rested. Squeeze short breaks in between work for down-time. Ideally, take a five minute break every hour or two to rest and think creatively. You may set an alarm to remind you when your break is due. Stop working and just sit and meditate at your desk or go out for a cup of coffee or short walk. Don’t forget to give yourself ample time for lunch too. You can’t work optimally on an empty stomach.

9. Say “No”: This is my favorite one , One skill that many high achievers like President Obama, Bill Gates have mastered is the gentle art of saying “no” to things that are not a priority. Saying “no” to things that are not a priority allows you to focus on those things that are really important. You only have exactly 24 hours in a day to do the things that matter. If you don’t learn to say “no” to things that are not important, other peoples’ priorities will precede your own and you will be swamped with far too many projects and commitments. Say “no” amicably to everything that doesn’t support your values or help you achieve your goals. You have the right to say “no” no matter who you are talking to. When you get better at saying “no,” you put you time to good use and defend yourself from rushed work, poor performance and work overload.

10. Delegate Tasks: The old adage by 17th century author John Donne that no one is an island still holds true today. You can’t manage everything on your own. Sometimes it is prudent to let other people help you with tasks, especially when you are swamped. You save time, reduce stress and accomplish a lot more when you assign tasks to the right people. Relinquish your grip on the wheel and grant authority with responsibility to qualified people. Delegating is not dumping. Give tasks with consequences. This way you promote accountability and ensure goals and deadlines are met.

Thursday, 24 May 2018

What To Do When You're Stuck in Making a Decision

Why do we have doubts in our minds when it’s time to make a very serious decision that will go a long way in affecting our minds? What holds us back from saying yes to a potential date? What influences our response and our decision making? All this lies in our mind, it’s the fear of failure and the unknown. Most times I tell my friends that the worst thing to do is not to do it.  It’s better to go for what we want rather than wasting time being indecisive.

All of these sound intuitive, but can be overwhelming at the outset. If you have trouble deciding what comes next, it may be because you have not decided what you want. You might have studied for several years, or been in a relationship even longer, before realizing that you did not want to continue. Sometimes because of sunk cost bias, we will forgo the opportunity we truly desire because we believe we have already committed too much to another alternative.

If you list out the pros and cons of both your options, you will see the pros of one getting longer than the other – usually, your innate desire or your gut will be making the decision for you. Go with your gut and just leave everything else to the cosmos.

Choices are like a dynamo. When you make one decision, it paves the way for other situations to occur, which you will then have to deal with. Making a tough decision in life can have many ramifications. Taking certain paths can affect your finances, your relationships, your friendships and your career. Think things through, and decide whether you will be able to cope with the consequences of your decision, and how you will deal with the fall-out.

If I am stuck between two choices, the best thing I do is take a day or two to weigh the pros and cons of each choice. What can really go wrong if I make a wrong choice? The decision lies in the ability to withstand the effects if I make the wrong choice. If making the decision will give me more experience and expose me to opportunities to learn then I will choose that above any other. Every day in life we are faced with one decision or the other like a toxic relationship, bad job, financial issues, personal growth etc.  Fact remains that when you make decisions you should put yourself first and what you want before considering others because the truth is nobody cares.

I’ve written about this before, so I won’t say too much about it this time around, but have you ever said to yourself, “oh, I could never do that because what would so-and-so think?” That mindset is keeping you stuck. In fact, I would argue this is the most common, most socially-acceptable way we keep ourselves stuck. Most of us are living our lives to impress someone else, all the while denying or distracting ourselves from what we really want.

Do what makes you better and happy, do not fret and second guess yourself on what others will think. Life is not a race it’s rather a journey and we are free to take detours and shortcuts with the end goal in mind. So make a choice today and if you’re stuck do what I advised in this article. When we do nothing and procrastinate, things will just get worse. Remember we miss 100% of opportunities we don’t take.

Thursday, 25 January 2018

Why Working Smart is Better Than Working Hard

There are times when I sit down and reflect on this question - working hard or working smart. I have been a proponent of the first scenario and I can categorically say working hard has its pros and cons while working smart is the way of life of the successful men. When you work hard and break your back for a meager pay cheque you are drained at the end of the work week. But the reverse is the case when you work smart, you will have time to do other things. 

working-smart- is- better- than- working- hard

Traditionally, working hard is considered to be the cornerstone of achievement. You work hard at something, burn midnight oil, sweat and out run everyone else around you, to reach your goal. Maybe it's school, or grad school, or looking for a job. Maybe its learning a new skill, or improving an existing one for that manner.

It has been well known, said a hundred thousand times and drilled into our heads - "if you want to succeed, work hard". "You have to burn midnight oil". "Life is not easy; you have to work very hard to achieve something ". I completely am a fan of this thought, yet so many of us miserably fail at achieving our goal even after working so hard at it. We sometimes fall just short by inches, left to bite the dust. I have personally tasted this failure, even though I worked so hard at things. I just did not succeed. What was wrong? Was I not working hard? I was working very hard! So what was wrong! Oh no, was it about being smart? Being smart is about making smart choices. It’s about making the right decision, the right step or the right choice.

Smart people move up the ladder real fast. They also are the ones that have great cars, lot of money, and everything else the rest of us desire. Right? These are people that played smart and won big times. Seems so easy. But does that also mean they did not work hard to be where they are. Consider some very famous people, your idols, and your heroes. Did they just work smart and not hard? My honest opinion is they worked very hard. They worked so hard that we cannot even imagine what they went though.

People, who are successful in business life, work, or a profession typically go through hell before they can reap the rewards of success. Take the example of musicians, training for 8 to 12 hours a day is not uncommon among the top highly paid musicians in the world. Similarly performers, artists, professionals spend hundreds of hours honing their skills, without taking any shortcuts to perfect their art and to stay at the top. As you reach the pinnacle of success, you start making fewer mistakes. As you grow more experienced, you make fewer errors and these results in something that saves you lots of time, effort and energy. You have now become smart. You now make smart choices.

You now play smart! Working hard or working smart cannot be separated from each other. Even when working hard you have to make smart choices. You cannot just wake up one day and say to yourself, "Today I will make smart choices". No, you should be saying that to yourself every day and work "hard" on it. Give anything your best shot and work towards your goals like there is no tomorrow.

Be strong willed and work hard to get what you want, because the desire to achieve something is only as strong as the smallest distraction that can take you away from it. Be smart about setting your goals and planning how to achieve your goal. Be smart about making choices in life and then work on making those choices spring you good things. Work hard in making smart choice and work even harder to learn how to make smart choices. Make mistakes but be smart enough to learn from them. Try to be smart in making your choices in life and work hard towards fulfilling your dreams

There is a common misconception in the world, especially among younger people, that you have to work hard and pay your dues, even if it means being miserable.  For some reason people seem to think that they have to be miserable for the first few years of their work life in order to get to where they want to be; either professionally or personally.  Lots of younger people have this notion that if they work hard that everything will be okay and fall into place for them.  This is the wrong way to go about trying to succeed.  There is a fine line between working hard and working smart. I used to think this way and the first few jobs I had out of college were horrible.  Everyone used to tell me, “well kid, you have to pay your dues,” to which I would reply, “why?” and the response I always got back was, “you just have to.”  This is the most illogical, useless, counter intuitive and counter productive type of thinking that boxes you in and makes you feel like you are worth nothing.

why- working- smart-is-better-than-working-hard

People who work hard and people who work smart have different measures of success. Those that work hard usually evaluate success based on inputs such as the number of hours they work and the number of tasks they accomplish in a day or in a week and ultimately seek a large paycheck. Typically hard work means something like 60 or 70 hours a week (sometimes 80 or 90), working at home in the evenings and weekends, and continuously juggling multiple projects in a frantic attempt to get them all done. This is not hard work; this is simply poor management of your time and a clear lack of understanding of your strengths and skills.  Not to mention the inability to balance your work life and your personal life.  I don’t have anything against people that work hard and slave away day to day, it’s just not the type of person I want to be.  There are many successful people in the world who call themselves hard workers, and that they are.

Those that work smart usually evaluate success based on the amount of discretionary time they have to do whatever it is they want to do. Smart workers don’t focus on inputs they focus on prioritizing in order to achieve the most valuable outputs in the most efficient ways. Smart workers usually have a much better work-life balance, are entrepreneurs, are able to identify their strengths and weaknesses, and manage time effectively.  For example, a smart worker will realize that they are more productive during a certain time of day and will batch their tasks based on difficulty to match with when they are most productive.  A hard worker has a long list and just checks off tasks one a time as he goes down the list. There isn’t a better or worse way to get things done it’s based on preference.  Personally I’m not capable of bulldozing through a long list of tasks, working ridiculous hours, and sacrificing my life for a paycheck, it’s just not me.  I don’t really admire people that make a ton of money and work ridiculous hours (if I want to make a ton of money I can just get two full time jobs and sleep 3 hours a day), I admire people that are successful yet still have discretionary time and a solid work life balance. I think there are a few key things that can help people work smart (if they so desire) Understand your strengths and weaknesses and try to take on projects that match your strengths while delegating or outsourcing projects or tasks that fall within your “weaknesses” category.

Don’t focus on completing a lot of tasks; focus on completing the most important tasks that will have the greatest impact on whatever it is you are doing.  Prioritize and manage your time effectively, this means understanding when you are most productive, what tasks take you the longest time to complete, etc.  Batch the hardest most tedious tasks with the times you are most productive. Check email only twice a day (and is possible once a day).  I do this at 11am PST and 4pm PST.

I batch my email time and when I’m not checking email I’m actually working on getting things done that need to get done.  The trouble with email is that when you send an email you get one right back and email then becomes this glorified chat messaging program (which it isn’t).  I let people get ahold of me on skype if they really need me but email is only at 11 and 4. Don’t waste emotional currency in return for financial currency.  What I mean here is don’t work at a job that makes you feel miserable just because they are paying you well.  Now, you can’t just up and leave a job that is responsible for your financial security so the smart thing to do here is to start saving and aggressively looking for another job that you can transition to.  Pick up some small side projects on Craigslist (or wherever) just to supplement your income.  When you have enough money to cover your expenses from side projects (or saved up cash), then you can quit. Education is your best friend.  Working smart is all about understanding the big picture.  You need to constantly learn and evolve your skill set so as to make work easy and you become sellable within a short period of time.