Stop beating yourself up. You are a work in progress, which means you get there a little at a time, not all at once.
We all want to be brilliant, fully-motivated and active, and we want to do as many things as possible in 24 hours. But we all complain “I wish I had more time,” “I wish I had more energy,” “If only I could take that course once a week,” and we give up on half the tasks and commitments we had.
So, we all have many dreams and projects but we don’t achieve a lot. When you feel that we are not able to get things done, and this is immensely frustrating. What prevents us from crossing half or more the items off our daily to-do list is something simpler than you think, it’s something very close to us: it’s actually our state of mind.
All of our actions start in our mind. With the right mindset, we can get everything done on our to-do list. As a result, what we need to do to get our things done is to change our mental approach to time management and organization. This is especially difficult for women and men with both a family and career to care for. For example, a woman with all these challenges needs to be perfectly organized, she needs a lot of energy and the right attitude to face all her daily tasks.
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Keep Your Mind Clear And Stress-Free
If your mind is empty, it is always ready for anything; it is open for everything.
— Shunryu Suzuki
The most important thing is trying to have as few distractions as possible to let our mind work properly on our projects and organization. Worries bring confusion and inefficiency, they slow down our productivity and they don’t let us focus on our daily activities – they make us waste time on thinking, worrying and trying to remember what we have to do. We are like computers, our brain is our hard disk, and it needs as much space as possible to work efficiently and productively.
What if your whole day were completely under your control? What if your mind were completely clear and stress-free? I guess you would be able to focus entirely on whatever you are working on. And you would know perfectly where things are headed. This would let you achieve both your short-term and long-term goals without feeling exhausted.
Eliminating all the useless worries and thoughts is crucial to make more space in our mind. This actually makes our brain work 100 percent efficiently. But how can we do this?
It’s simpler than it seems. According to David Allen, the author of “Getting Things Done,” in order to have everything under control, we need to “get things off our mind.” We need to create a trusted management system outside our mind, and we have to use it as our most important tool where we capture all our thoughts, projects and worries. This way our mind will be clear, stress-free and ready to work efficiently. Whether you use a list to organize yourself or a phone app to help you remember what is important, getting things off of your mind are essential.
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Don’t Forget To Dream
If you can dream it, you can do it.
— Walt Disney
I cannot stress enough how important it is to dream. In all this chaos, we need to feel motivated in order to go through our challenging days. And there is only one thing that can powerfully encourage us to work for the achievement of our goals: having a dream.
This means being ambitious, and having that strong motivation that makes us work hard day and night to attain what we really want. So, what you really need to do is putting yourself in the state of mind where you strongly believe that you will soon turn your dream into reality and that you are working every day on it. You need to wake up excited every morning because of the goals you are working on, and you can do it only if you are in the right state of mind.
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What you should work on…
Your sacred space is where you can find yourself again and again.
— Joseph Campbell
As we mentioned before, being a working woman can be really challenging, if you are not well-organized or are overlooking some elements of your life, you can easily feel overwhelmed by your daily to-dos.But, what are these important elements?
The most important part of your life you should care for, especially if you are a working mother, is yourself. With this I mean that you must find some time to dedicate to yourself. During this time you could for example go for a walk, read a book or enjoy a hobby. The important thing is that you spend some time alone and do something that you really enjoy. You need to do something nice for yourself, every day.
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Another important part is taking care of your social life. This means that you have to make sure that you are surrounded of good people with a positive mindset, and spend time with them organizing nice activities to enjoy together.
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The last aspect I would like to highlight is your well-being. This is very similar to the first part we talked about, but it’s not the same thing.
This has nothing to do with time. This refers to the habit of regularly taking care of yourself, eating well, exercising, meditating and spending time with the people you love, understanding and believing that this has a positive impact on your life.
Image: Giuseppe Chirico
Featured photo credit: markus spiske via flickr.com
Last Updated on July 21, 2021
The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)
Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.
Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system.”
A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.
Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.
In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.
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From Creating Reminders to Building Habits
A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.
For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.
This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.
The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.
That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being 6 hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.
Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!
The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.
Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.
But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?
The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.
The Wonderful Thing About Triggers — Reminders
A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.
For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.
But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)
If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.
For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself) can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.
These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.
For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.
How to Make a Reminder Works for You
Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.
Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.
Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.
My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.
Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.
I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.
More on Building Habits
- 16 Everyday Habits of Highly Productive People
- How Long Does It Take to Break a Habit? Science Will Tell You
- How to Break Bad Habits: I Broke 3 Bad Habits in Less Than 2 Months
- How to Break a Habit and Hack the Habit Loop
Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com
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