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If You Invest In Yourself With These 4 Steps, You Can Achieve Much More In Life

If You Invest In Yourself With These 4 Steps, You Can Achieve Much More In Life

There comes a time in life when we want to improve ourselves and invest in our self-development. Perhaps you’ve reached a crossroads in your career, looking for love or arrived at a point where you want to start making serious changes. You may have gone as far as to read numerous self-help books in the hope that a new perspective or approach will give you the magic formula for improving your life.

Sometimes you can get lost in the vast sea of information or the advice you seem to find just doesn’t resonate with you. Wouldn’t it be simple to just have a useable framework that can set your self-investment goals into motion and keep the momentum going? Here’s a four-step process that will do just that:

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1. Create A List of 100 Things

Find a quiet spot and think about all the things you’d like to achieve in life no matter how big or small. These could include losing a certain amount of weight, writing a novel, attending a cooking class, or learning a language. Keep going until you have 100 things on your list, then categorise them into three parts: things I need skills for, things I can do straight away and things I need time for.

The point of this exercise is to get you thinking about what you would really love to do – take your time, walk away and come back to it, let your inspiration take over. Having this list will help you establish different ways to expand, grow and achieve self-development.

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2. Be Honest About Your Skills And Create A Chart

This bit can be met with a bit of resistance, but being honest about the skills we have, and more importantly, the skills we don’t have can go a long way in achieving our long-term growth and self-investment.

You may need to acquire some new skills to achieve some of the items on your list in which case making a chart or spreadsheet can help identify these more easily. Make a list of what you need to learn and create columns for research, action and progress. What research do you need to do to gain these skills? Find courses you could sign up for or potential books you could buy. Next, in the action column write down every single step you’d need to take to reach the goal of gaining the skill. The progress column will mark how near you are to achieving each step.

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3. Take Some Immediate Action

The point of this step is to create motivation. We all love the feeling of ticking off a to-do list and by acting on the things on your list that can be done today, tomorrow, this week or this month will start off the momentum of that achievement feeling.

By doing this, your list is going to look a whole lot less intimidating – book that cooking class, start jogging, swimming or any exercise regime for your weight loss goal. These small steps can gain big rewards for our mindset moving forward so start planning and researching ways to achieve them and give them deadlines.

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4. Put Aside Time For The Long-Term Goals

We all know how easy it is to procrastinate and get distracted, but take some time to streamline your routines. Keep an eye on your procrastination habits throughout the day especially during morning and early evening. Carve out specific time when you can concentrate on your goals – create a timetable if needed. All this can help you keep on track, especially for your long-term goals.

Of course, your list of 100 things to achieve may change slightly over time, but if you only accomplish 4 things a year you will have worked through the entire list over 25 years and lived a life where you can say you achieved a huge amount of your goals and dreams.

Featured photo credit: Start Up Stock Pics via pexels.com

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Jenny Marchal

A passionate writer who loves sharing about positive psychology.

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Last Updated on September 11, 2019

Why To-Do Lists Don’t Work (And How to Change That)

Why To-Do Lists Don’t Work (And How to Change That)

How often do you feel overwhelmed and disorganized in life, whether at work or home? We all seem to struggle with time management in some area of our life; one of the most common phrases besides “I love you” is “I don’t have time”. Everyone suggests working from a to-do list to start getting your life more organized, but why do these lists also have a negative connotation to them?

Let’s say you have a strong desire to turn this situation around with all your good intentions—you may then take out a piece of paper and pen to start tackling this intangible mess with a to-do list. What usually happens, is that you either get so overwhelmed seeing everything on your list, which leaves you feeling worse than you did before, or you make the list but are completely stuck on how to execute it effectively.

To-do lists can work for you, but if you are not using them effectively, they can actually leave you feeling more disillusioned and stressed than you did before. Think of a filing system: the concept is good, but if you merely file papers away with no structure or system, the filing system will have an adverse effect. It’s the same with to-do lists—you can put one together, but if you don’t do it right, it is a fruitless exercise.

Why Some People Find That General To-Do Lists Don’t Work?

Most people find that general to-do lists don’t work because:

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  • They get so overwhelmed just by looking at all the things they need to do.
  • They don’t know how to prioritize the items on list.
  • They feel that they are continuously adding to their list but not reducing it.
  • There’s a sense of confusion seeing home tasks mixed with work tasks.

Benefits of Using a To-Do List

However, there are many advantages working from a to-do list:

  • You have clarity on what you need to get done.
  • You will feel less stressed because all your ‘to do’s are on paper and out of your mind.
  • It helps you to prioritize your actions.
  • You don’t overlook so many tasks and forget anything.
  • You feel more organized.
  • It helps you with planning.

4 Golden Rules to Make a To-Do List Work

Here are my golden rules for making a “to-do” list work:

1. Categorize

Studies have shown that your brain gets overwhelmed when it sees a list of 7 or 8 options; it wants to shut down.[1] For this reason, you need to work from different lists. Separate them into different categories and don’t have more than 7 or 8 tasks on each one.

It might work well for you to have a “project” list, a “follow-up” list, and a “don’t forget” list; you will know what will work best for you, as these titles will be different for everybody.

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2. Add Estimations

You don’t merely need to know what has to be done, but how long it will take as well in order to plan effectively.

Imagine on your list you have one task that will take 30 minutes, another that could take 1 hour, and another that could take 4 hours. You need to know the moment you look at the task, otherwise you undermine your planning, so add an extra column to your list and include your estimation of how long you think the task will take, and be realistic!

Tip: If you find it a challenge to estimate accurately, then start by building this skill on a daily basis. Estimate how long it will take to get ready, cook dinner, go for a walk, etc., and then compare this to the actual time it took you. You will start to get more accurate in your estimations.

3. Prioritize

To effectively select what you should work on, you need to take into consideration: priority, sequence and estimated time. Add another column to your list for priority. Divide your tasks into four categories:

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  • Important and urgent
  • Not urgent but important
  • Not important but urgent
  • Not important or urgent

You want to work on tasks that are urgent and important of course, but also, select some tasks that are important and not urgent. Why? Because these tasks are normally related to long-term goals, and when you only work on tasks that are urgent and important, you’ll feel like your day is spent putting out fires. You’ll end up neglecting other important areas which most often end up having negative consequences.

Most of your time should be spent on the first two categories.

4.  Review

To make this list work effectively for you, it needs to become a daily tool that you use to manage your time and you review it regularly. There is no point in only having the list to record everything that you need to do, but you don’t utilize it as part of your bigger time management plan.

For example: At the end of every week, review the list and use it to plan the week ahead. Select what you want to work on taking into consideration priority, time and sequence and then schedule these items into your calendar. Golden rule in planning: don’t schedule more than 75% of your time.

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Bottom Line

So grab a pen and paper and give yourself the gift of a calm and clear mind by unloading everything in there and onto a list as now, you have all the tools you need for it to work. Knowledge is useless unless it is applied—how badly do you want more time?

To your success!

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Featured photo credit: Emma Matthews via unsplash.com

Reference

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