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How Our Siblings Greatly Influence Our Success

How Our Siblings Greatly Influence Our Success

As an introspective and psychologically curious middle child, I’m fascinated with how siblings can affect each other, not just as children, but also into adulthood. As more statistically based studies are conducted on birth order, psychologists are finding that order itself isn’t as powerful as once thought. Instead, the affect siblings (as people) have on each other is more important.

“Growing up with each other generates differences” says Dr. Sylvia Rimm, Psychologist and Director of the Family Achievement Center in Cleveland Ohio. She speaks of the push and pull of relationships which generate a psychologically polarizing affect between siblings. We naturally want to individuate ourselves from our siblings.

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I remember this from my own childhood and teenage years. I was upset that one of my sisters borrowed my clothes. I still remember the way it felt to this day. I somehow felt that people would see my sister wearing my clothes and I would lose a unique aspect of myself.

I think this especially bothered me because I saw my sister as prettier than me, and I adopted my unique fashion sense to be special. It sounds funny now, but this desire for individuality is backed by research. It can have a strong affect on each person’s approach to themselves and situations in life. This sibling differentiation is reinforced by parents by labeling children “the smart one” or “the sporty one”. This differentiation is especially powerful in siblings of similar age and gender. On a positive note, our differences feed competition.

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This competitive feeling can translate into our adult and work lives. We may be acting on old rivalries or reacting to people in ways we learned growing up with certain people for siblings. The type of person our sibling is makes a huge difference in who we are and choices we make in life.

Let’s say your older sister was always a grade A student right from the start. With teachers, parents, and friends pegging her for Dartmouth since grade school, a couple of different outcomes can unfold, depending on your innate personality. First, it could set a pattern in your life for under achieving as the particular ability of being brainy is “already taken”. Secondly, it could set a pattern for an alternative (but just as achievement-oriented) success route from you sibling, like sports versus academics.

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The number of siblings has a huge affect on our interaction with the world according to the research in “Money and Success – Sibling and Birth-Order Affects on Positional Concerns” It notes how single children are more pre-occupied with their social positioning or “positional concern” than children of multiple child families. Single children grow up with more pressure of living up to parental expectations.

Not having any siblings makes them the center of attention, and the central focus of hope and parental projection of their own aspirations. For people who did grow up with siblings, the more siblings we had the more positional concern we tend to develop and therefore, the more we care about relative income and relative successfulness, regardless of birth order.

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The more people you have to individuate yourself from as a kid, the harder you tend to work to succeed as an adult. Siblings are our first interaction with the world beyond our parents.

The sibling relationship is really the place where we develop social skills with peers, rather than authority figures. These early interactions can spill over into our lives as we grow into adulthood and age. Our approach to other people is our approach to the world. So if we have learned to function well with our siblings, we can implement that success into our new relationships throughout life.

Whether we emulate siblings, learn from their mistakes, or deviate from them as much as possible, it’s clear that siblings have a huge affect on each other from a psychological and sociological perspective. However, no matter your birth order, how much you have bonded or pulled away from your sibling as a person or in interests, you are never limited to anything. You have every opportunity to develop in ways that make you unique and happy. All you need is a little perspective to recognize behavioral patterns and work on them.

It’s absolutely possible for siblings to be mutually successful; maybe in completely different ways. It all depends on who you are as individuals and how you decide to interpret and act on the interactions you experienced with those we so fondly (or sometimes not fondly) called our siblings.

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Hannah Glenn

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Last Updated on November 19, 2019

20 Time Management Tips to Super Boost Your Productivity

20 Time Management Tips to Super Boost Your Productivity

Are you usually punctual or late? Do you finish things within the time you stipulate? Do you hand in your reports/work on time? Are you able to accomplish what you want to do before deadlines? Are you a good time manager?

If your answer is “no” to any of the questions above, that means you’re not managing your time as well as you want. Here are 20 time management tips to help you manage time better:

1. Create a Daily Plan

Plan your day before it unfolds. Do it in the morning or even better, the night before you sleep. The plan gives you a good overview of how the day will pan out. That way, you don’t get caught off guard. Your job for the day is to stick to the plan as best as possible.

2. Peg a Time Limit to Each Task

Be clear that you need to finish X task by 10am, Y task by 3pm, and Z item by 5:30pm. This prevents your work from dragging on and eating into time reserved for other activities.

3. Use a Calendar

Having a calendar is the most fundamental step to managing your daily activities. If you use outlook or lotus notes, calendar come as part of your mailing software.

I use it. It’s even better if you can sync your calendar to your mobile phone and other hardwares you use – that way, you can access your schedule no matter where you are. Here’re the 10 Best Calendar Apps to Stay on Track .

Find out more tips about how to use calendar for better time management here: How to Use a Calendar to Create Time and Space

4. Use an Organizer

An organizer helps you to be on top of everything in your life. It’s your central tool to organize information, to-do lists, projects, and other miscellaneous items.

These Top 15 Time Management Apps and Tools can help you organize better, pick one that fits your needs.

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5. Know Your Deadlines

When do you need to finish your tasks? Mark the deadlines out clearly in your calendar and organizer so you know when you need to finish them.

But make sure you don’t make these 10 Common Mistakes When Setting Deadlines.

6. Learn to Say “No”

Don’t take on more than you can handle. For the distractions that come in when you’re doing other things, give a firm no. Or defer it to a later period.

Leo Babauta, the founder of Zen Habits has some great insights on how to say no: The Gentle Art of Saying No

7. Target to Be Early

When you target to be on time, you’ll either be on time or late. Most of the times you’ll be late. However, if you target to be early, you’ll most likely be on time.

For appointments, strive to be early. For your deadlines, submit them earlier than required.

Learn from these tips about how to prepare yourself to be early, instead of just in time.

8. Time Box Your Activities

This means restricting your work to X amount of time. Why time boxing is good for you? Here’re 10 reasons why you should start time-boxing.

You can also read more about how to do time boxing here: #5 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity.

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9. Have a Clock Visibly Placed Before You

Sometimes we are so engrossed in our work that we lose track of time. Having a huge clock in front of you will keep you aware of the time at the moment.

10. Set Reminders 15 Minutes Before

Most calendars have a reminder function. If you have an important meeting to attend, set that alarm 15 minutes before.

You can learn more about how reminders help you remember everything in this article: The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder That Works)

11. Focus

Are you multi-tasking so much that you’re just not getting anything done? If so, focus on just one key task at one time. Multitasking is bad for you.

Close off all the applications you aren’t using. Close off the tabs in your browser that are taking away your attention. Focus solely on what you’re doing. You’ll be more efficient that way.

Lifehack’s CEO has written a definitive guide on how to focus, learn the tips: How to Focus and Maximize Your Productivity (the Definitive Guide)

12. Block out Distractions

What’s distracting you in your work? Instant messages? Phone ringing? Text messages popping in?

I hardly ever use chat nowadays. The only times when I log on is when I’m not intending to do any work. Otherwise it gets very distracting.

When I’m doing important work, I also switch off my phone. Calls during this time are recorded and I contact them afterward if it’s something important. This helps me concentrate better.

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Find more tips on how to minimize distractions to achieve more in How to Minimize Distraction to Get Things Done

13. Track Your Time Spent

When you start to track your time, you’re more aware of how you spend your time. For example, you can set a simple countdown timer to make sure that you finish a task within a period of time, say 30 minutes or 1 hour. The time pressure can push you to stay focused and work more efficiently.

You can find more time tracking apps here and pick one that works for you.

14. Don’t Fuss About Unimportant Details

You’re never get everything done in exactly the way you want. Trying to do so is being ineffective.

Trying to be perfect does you more harm than good, learn here about how perfectionism kills your productivity and how to ditch the perfectionism mindset.

15. Prioritize

Since you can’t do everything, learn to prioritize the important and let go of the rest.

Apply the 80/20 principle which is a key principle in prioritization. You can also take up this technique to prioritize everything on your plate: How to Prioritize Right in 10 Minutes and Work 10X Faster

16. Delegate

If there are things that can be better done by others or things that are not so important, consider delegating. This takes a load off and you can focus on the important tasks.

When you delegate some of your work, you free up your time and achieve more. Learn about how to effectively delegate works in this guide: How to Delegate Work (the Definitive Guide for Successful Leaders)

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17. Batch Similar Tasks Together

For related work, batch them together.

For example, my work can be categorized into these core groups:

  1. writing (articles, my upcoming book)
  2. coaching
  3. workshop development
  4. business development
  5. administrative

I batch all the related tasks together so there’s synergy. If I need to make calls, I allocate a time slot to make all my calls. It really streamlines the process.

18. Eliminate Your Time Wasters

What takes your time away your work? Facebook? Twitter? Email checking? Stop checking them so often.

One thing you can do is make it hard to check them – remove them from your browser quick links / bookmarks and stuff them in a hard to access bookmarks folder. Replace your browser bookmarks with important work-related sites.

While you’ll still checking FB/Twitter no doubt, you’ll find it’s a lower frequency than before.

19. Cut off When You Need To

The number one reason why things overrun is because you don’t cut off when you have to.

Don’t be afraid to intercept in meetings or draw a line to cut-off. Otherwise, there’s never going to be an end and you’ll just eat into the time for later.

20. Leave Buffer Time In-Between

Don’t pack everything closely together. Leave a 5-10 minute buffer time in between each tasks. This helps you wrap up the previous task and start off on the next one.

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Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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