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Ten Strategies to Transform Your Dreams into Reality

Ten Strategies to Transform Your Dreams into Reality

Many of us live for our dreams. Oftentimes they are what keep us going. Our dreams are embedded into us from when we are small children. We don’t have them by coincidence and more importantly, the precious dreams in us are meant to be realised.

Here are ten strategies to transform your dreams into reality.

1. Be honest.

The truth shall set you free: free from worries, guilt, or anything that’s been holding you back from achieving your dreams. At any given time you can become honest with yourself by committing to the truth. It may hurt your feelings but it will change you forever. Be real with yourself if you want to make your dreams real. If there’s something about your character that you’re not happy with, look for ways to improve it.

For example if you’ve been struggling financially, admit to yourself that you’ve made some mistakes and are not in the best position, but straightaway look for ideas to emerge from that situation. It could be phoning your bank in order to obtain some guidance. Whatever the case may be, if you become truthful the world will become more helpful.  At times being honest is not easy, but if you can master it I believe that you will excel at everything else.

“Honesty is the first step to prosperity.” – Michael Demadema

2. Do the little things first.

Oftentimes it’s the little things that can stand in the way of achieving the bigger things. Maybe you need to take out the trash that’s been sitting for the past week. Maybe you been putting off arranging your clothes in an orderly manner. (I know I have!) Or maybe you’ve been meaning to reach out to someone. Take care of business. Do the little things first because success is in the small details.

To accomplish our dreams let’s focus on mastering the baby steps. Getting better at the small steps will set us up for the big strides to come!

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“Taking baby steps each day is a lot better than standing still every day.” – Michael Demadema

3. Get ready.

You have to set up yourself for the greatness that you yearn to achieve. How? By planning for it. Before each article I write I spend time planning. It could be a rough plan on my phone, but I create a map of what angle my articles will take.

Planning validates your goals. It shows that you are serious about becoming successful. Planning is all around us. Today millions of people planned their journeys to work, what to have for lunch, or what to buy their loved ones for their birthdays.

Imagine your dream is build your own mansion. For you to build this house you have to sit down and analyse the costs and the money that you can raise. When you plan for it you are connecting reality to your dreams. You are connecting costs, projected revenue, and the time schedule with your aim- your dream.

4. Plant right.

Since we plant seeds of success or failure every day, we need to fix our intentions on the right type of seed. To experience your dreams you need to plant the right thoughts, words, and actions. What are the right seeds to plant each day? That depends on who you intend to become in the next six months or year. I love to challenge myself by asking this simple question: “Are my thoughts, words, and actions in line with who I intend to become and where I intend to go?” Each day we are becoming someone by going in a certain direction but how often do we stop and consider whether or not this is what we want for our lives? If you want to transform your deepest desires into reality, you must get intentional with everything.

“Life is an echo. What you send out comes back. What you sow, you reap. What you give, you get. What you see in others exists in you.” – Zig Ziglar

5. Pay the price for your dreams.

Your dreams have a price tag. Paying the price is the sacrifice. I consider sacrifice to be giving up something in order to gain something else. Ask yourself often, “What must I give up in order to gain what I desire?” It could be that you need to give up some sleep in order to get that project done quicker. Or maybe you need to give up watching that programme in order to spend more time with your loved ones. Look around you and write down the things to let go of and the things that you want in return. As humans our consciences are integral parts of ourselves. These epicentres know what we should and shouldn’t do in order to achieve our dreams.

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You don’t get without letting go. You don’t receive without giving. From today, pay the price required for dreams to evolve into reality. Pay the price today in order to achieve your dream tomorrow.

“Success is like a cake: to get a bigger slice you have to pay a bigger price.” – Michael Demadema

6. Never settle.

Always be thankful, but never settle. Settling for something is a sure-fire way to trigger complacency and laziness. Keep grinding. Keep believing. Keep improving. The world is always on the lookout for the next innovative product, the next superstar, and the next big business venture. That could be you!

I’ve found that it’s easy to settle for the mediocrity that we see around us or settle because of what naysayers tell us, but settling guarantees that dreams will not come true. In life there are traps to force us to become less than who we want to become. We think being less or having less is a sign of humility but there’s nothing humble about settling for averageness. If you can dream it you can do it!

It’s time to force yourself to seek the best in life. Don’t worry about what they will say because whether you do well or poorly, give up or try again, follow your dreams or succumb to mediocrity, there will always be critics.

“There is no passion to be found in settling for a life that is less than what you are capable of living.” – Nelson Mandela

7. Serve people.

Whatever the dream, there’s no doubt in my mind that you will need people. The great thing is that someone out there needs you as much as you need them. They need you to share your dreams, your gifts, and your talents. Look to fix problems through your dreams.

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Write down the people you are looking to help. Jot down your ideal customers or clients. Write down who you want to reach with your music, your book, or your services. At your work place get together with your colleagues and brainstorm what’s good about your team and what’s not so good. Look to achieve greatness wherever you are.

You shouldn’t just serve the people directly connected to your goals; you should serve everyone in between. A lot of people want to be presidents, CEOs, managers, captains, or prefects but they fix their intentions on the wrong way of living. To build leadership that lasts you have to place your needs last. People will help you transform your dreams into a reality but you have to help the world first.

 8. Overcome excuses.

There’s no time to throw yourself a pity party. Every moment counts! Excuses are your biggest adversity. Many people go about their lives with an army of excuses so that it’s become natural for them to write off their dreams or dreams of others. A lot of us have a mental excuses list. I urge you to form your own executions list. For every “I can’t do this” excuse, write down beside it “I can do this because I am equipped with all I need in order to succeed”; “I am talented”; “The good work that has been started inside of me shall be completed”. Speak and challenge any excuses!

I’ve realised that we will always find what we are looking for. If you’re focused on why things will fail or why you cannot do something, a plethora of reasons are available. Thankfully, if you were to do the opposite and meditate on executions your mind will amass the tools for you to fulfill your potential.

“The world is tired of excuses; it’s ready for more results.” – Michael Demadema

9. Go through the process.

Don’t wish for attaining your goals to be easy. Wish for it to be worthwhile.

Maybe you’re going through an uncertain time and you’re not sure if you will ever reach your dreams. In everything we do there are certain processes or steps we need to take to get somewhere.

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Any setback is a sign for you to step up. It could be fear, ill-health, or lack of resources, but use those processes wisely. Step up your thinking and the way you speak about your life. If you can handle the failure, the fear, or the illness, the world will reward you with more of what you want.  No matter where you are today, I believe that you are able to grow and mature through anything you may be facing. When we look back at our lives we will recognise poignant moments as times when we took hold of our dreams by monumental decision-making. You will remember the day, the month, and the year that you made the life-changing decision to follow your dreams.

10. Act it out.

Every moment of the day is an opportunity to act out your goals. (I started writing this article on a bus.) Sing like the greatest singer to ever grace the planet. If your aim is to become an expert in your field, start studying with so much zest that it looks like you are already a knowledgeable individual. How about you go and test drive the car of your dreams? When you act out your dream you must do so with fearless faith because herein lies the spark to produce stupendous results. Faith is an action, and your level of faith will decide how often you act out your dreams.

“You don’t have to be great to start but you have to start to be great.” – Zig Ziglar

Conclusion

The goodness on the inside must be transferred to the outside. Your dreams have to be bigger than you. People may forget your name but they should never forget your dream. Always remember that the first part of our dreams is the part when we think about them every day and the second part is when we go about attaining them. May this article fuel your burning desires!

Michael Demadema

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Published on January 16, 2019

How to Effectively Manage a Heavy Workload at Work

How to Effectively Manage a Heavy Workload at Work

We’re all busy, but sometimes we go through periods where the work piles up and it seems like it might never end.

You might have such a heavy workload that it feels too intimidating to even start.

You may have said yes to some or too many projects, and now you’re afraid you won’t be able to deliver.

That’s when you need to take a step back, take a deep breath, and start looking at what’s working and what’s not working.

Here’re 13 strategies you can use to get out from under your overwhelming workload:

1. Acknowledge You Can’t Do It All

Many of us have a tendency to think we can do more than we actually can. We take on more and more projects and responsibility and wear numerous hats.

We all have the opportunity to have and take on more work than we can reasonably expect to get done. Unfortunately, our workload is not static. Even now, while you are reading this article, I’m guessing that your inbox is filling up with fresh new tasks.

To make real, effective progress, you have to have both the courage and resourcefulness to say, “This is not working”. Acknowledge that you can’t do it all and look for better solutions.

At any given time in your life, there are likely many things that aren’t going according to plan. You have to be willing to be honest with yourself and those around you about what’s not working for you, both personally and professionally.

The more you exercise your ability to tell the truth about what’s working and what’s not working, the faster you’ll make progress.

2. Focus on Your Unique Strengths

Whether you’re an entrepreneur, a leader or working as part of a team, every individual has unique strengths they can bring to the table.

The challenge is that many people end up doing things that they’re simply not very good at.

In the pursuit of reaching your goals or delivering a project, people end up doing everything themselves or taking on things that don’t play to their unique strengths. This can result in frustration, overwhelm and overwork.

It can mean projects taking a lot longer to complete because of knowledge gaps, or simply not utilizing the unique strengths of other people you work with.

It is often not about how to complete this project more effectively but who can help deliver this project.

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So, what are your unique strengths that will ensure your workload is delivered more effectively? Here’re some questions to help you reflect:

  • Are you a great strategist?
  • Are you an effective planner?
  • Is Project Management your strength?
  • Is communication and bringing people together your strength?
  • Are you the ideas person?
  • Is Implementation your strength?

Think about how you can bring the biggest value to your work and the projects you undertake.

3. Use the Strengths of Your Team

One of the simplest ways to manage your workload effectively is to free up your time so you bring your highest level of energy, focus and strengths to each project.

Delegation or better teamwork is the solution.

Everyone has unique strengths. It’s essential to think teamwork rather than working in isolation to ensure projects can be completed effectively. Besides, every time you give away a task or project that doesn’t play to your unique strengths, you open up an opportunity to do something you’re more talented at. This will empower both yourself and those around you.

Rather than taking on all the responsibilities yourself, look at who you can work with to deliver the best results possible.

4. Take Time for Planning

“Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe”. – Abraham Lincoln

One hour of effective planning could save hours of time. Rather than just rushing in and getting started on projects, take the time to map everything in.

You can take the time to think about:

  • What’s the purpose of the project?
  • How Important is it?
  • When does it need to be delivered by?
  • What is the best result and worst result for this project?
  • What are the KPIs?
  • What does the project plan and key milestones look like?
  • Who is working on this project?
  • What is everyone’s responsibilities?
  • What tolerances can I add in?
  • What are the review stages?
  • What are the challenges we may face and the solutions for these challenges?

Having absolute clarity on the project, the project deliverables and the result you want can save a lot of time. It also gets you clear on the priorities and timelines, so you can block out the required amount of time to focus and concentrate.

5. Focus on Priorities

Not everything is a priority, although it can often feel, in the moment, that it is.

Whatever you’re working on, there is always the Most Urgent, Important or Most Valuable projects or tasks.

One tool you can use to maximize your productivity and focus on your biggest priorities is to use the Eisenhower Matrix. This strategic tool for taking action on the things that matter most is simple. You separate your actions based on four possibilities:

  1. Urgent and important (tasks you will do immediately).
  2. Important, but not urgent (tasks you will schedule to do later).
  3. Urgent, but not important (tasks you will delegate to someone else).
  4. Neither urgent nor important (tasks that you will eliminate).

James Clear has a great description on how to use the Eisenhower Matrix: How to be More Productive By Using the Eisenhower Box

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    The method I use with my coaching clients is to ask them to lay out their Top Five priorities for the day. Then to start with the most important priority first. At the end of the day, you review performance against these priorities.

    If you didn’t get everything accomplished, start the next day with your number one priority.

    If you are given additional task/projects during the day, then you will need to gauge their importance V the other priorities.

    6. Take Time Out

    To stay on top of a heavy workload, it’s important to take time out to rest and recuperate.

    If your energy levels are high and your mind and body is refreshed and alert, you are in more of a peak state to handle a heavy workload.

    Take time out of your day to go for a walk or get some exercise in. Leave early when possible and spend time with people who give you a lot of energy.

    In the background, it’s essential to get a good night’s sleep and eat healthily to sharpen the mind.

    Take a look at this article learn about The Importance of Scheduling Downtime.

    7. Maintain a Healthy Work-Life Balance

    Maintaining a healthy work-life balance can be tough. The balance we all crave is very different from one another.

    I’ve written before about 13 Work Life Balance Tips for a Happy and Productive Life. Working longer and harder doesn’t mean achieving more, especially if you have no time to spend with the people that matter most. The quality of who you are as a person, the relationships you have, the time you spend in work, deciding on what matters most is completely within your control.

    Work-life balance is about finding peace within yourself to be fully present, wherever you are, whether that be in the office or at home, right now. It’s about choosing what matters most and creating your own balanced life.

    If you feel there is not enough balance, then it may be time to make a change.

    8. Stop Multitasking

    Multi-tasking is a myth. Your brain simply can’t work effectively by doing more than one thing at a time—at least more than one thing that requires focused attention.

    So get your list of priorities (see earlier point), do the most important thing first, then move to the next item and work down your list.

    When you split your focus over a multitude of different areas, you can’t consistently deliver a high performance. You won’t be fully present on the one task or project at hand.

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    If you allocate blocked time and create firm boundaries for specific activities and commitments, you won’t feel so overwhelmed or overworked with everything you have to do.

    9. Work in Blocks of Time

    To keep your energy up to produce your best results it’s essential to take regular breaks.

    I use the 60-60-30 method myself and teach it to my coaching clients.

    Work on a project for a sustained period of 50 minutes.

    Then take a 10-minute break. This could be taking a walk, having a healthy snack or just having a conversation with someone.

    Then continue to work on the project for a further 50 minutes.

    Then take another 10-minute break.

    Then take a complete 30-minute break to unplug from the work. This could be time for a proper lunch, a quick bit of exercise, reading or having a walk.

    By simply taking some time out, your energy levels stay up, the quality of your work improves and you reduce the risk of becoming burned out.

    10. Get Rid of Distractions

    Make an estimation on how many times you are distracted during an average working day. Now take that number and multiply it by 25. According to Gloria Mark in her study on The Cost of Interrupted Work, it takes us an average of 23 minutes and 15 seconds to return to the original task after interruption.[1]

    “Our research has shown that attention distraction can lead to higher stress, a bad mood and lower productivity.”

    Distractions don’t just take up your time during the distraction, they can derail your mental progress and focus for almost 25 minutes. So, if you are distracted 5 times per day, you could be losing almost 2 hours every day of productive work and almost 10 hours every week.

    If you have an important project to work on, find a space where you won’t be distracted, or try doing this.

    11. Commit Focused Time to Smaller Tasks

    You know sometimes, you need to simply tackle these tasks and take action on them. But there’s always something more pressing.

    Small tasks can often get in the way of your most important projects. They sit there on your daily To Do list but are often forgotten about because of more important priorities or because they hold no interest for you. But they take up mental energy. They clutter your mind.

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    Commit to spending a specific period of time completing all the small tasks you have on your To Do list. It will give you peace of mind and the space to focus more on your bigger priorities.

    12. Take a Time Audit

    Do you know exactly where your time is going each day? Are you spending too long on certain projects and tasks to the detriment of bigger opportunities?

    Spend a bit of time to analyze where you are spending your time. This insight will amaze you and give you the clarity to start adjusting where you focus your time and on what projects.

    You can start by taking a piece of paper and creating three columns:

    Column A is Priority Work. Column B is Good Work. Column C is low value work or stuff.

    Each day, write down the project or task and the time spent on each. Allocate that time to one of the columns.

    At the end of the week, record the total time spent in each column.

    If you are spending far too much time on certain types of work, look to change things so your focused time is in Column B and C.

    13. Protect Your Confidence

    It is essential to protect our confidence to ensure we don’t get overwhelmed, stressed and lose belief.

    When you have confidence as a daily resource, you are in a better position to problem solve, learn quicker, respond to anything, adjust to anything, and achieve your biggest opportunities.

    Confidence gives you the ability to transform fear into focused and relaxed thinking, communication, and action. This is key to put your mind into a productive state.

    When confidence is high, you can clearly see the possibilities at hand and create strategies to take advantage of them, or to solve the challenges you face each day.

    Final Words

    A heavy workload can be tough to deal with and can cause stress, burnout and ongoing frustration.

    The key is to tackle it head on, rather than let it go on and compound the long-term effects. Hopefully, you can take action on at least one of these tips.

    If it gets too much, and negatively affects your physical and mental health, it may be time to talk to someone. Instead of dealing with it alone and staying unhappier, resentful and getting to a point where you simply can’t cope, you have to make a change for your own sanity.

    Featured photo credit: Hannah Wei via unsplash.com

    Reference

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