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If You Want To Be The Best, Don’t Just Go For Bestsellers

If You Want To Be The Best, Don’t Just Go For Bestsellers

A long time ago, none of us could stop obsessing about the hobbit who lived in a hole in the ground. But fickle we were, and we soon moved on to the wizard boy at Hogwarts, to cheering for Team Edward of Twilight, to discussing The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, to wondering what would happen next in Fifty Shades of Grey, and now, to fearing for The Girl on the Train. Somewhere in between, we managed to fill those heated coffee-shop moments with Eating, Praying and Loving, Not Sweating the Small Stuff and wondering Who Moved the dang Cheese. Best-selling books, always at the forefront of conversation, make for just that- good conversation. But, why only give ourselves half an education when a whole world of information lies before us, just waiting to be uncovered? If we want the best in life, let’s read for life and not just hit the bestseller list.

Don’t Follow the Crowd: Read an Array of Books

We limit ourselves if we read only what other people read. It would be like sending our kids to a school that only taught math. They would receive a lopsided education. It is far better to expose ourselves to an array of ideas (even those outrageous ones) so that we can decide for ourselves what is best, instead of following the crowd. Be a sheep or be the shepherd. Which is better?

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Reading a vast selection of books opens us up to new ideas and in-depth knowledge on subjects. It is one thing to read a magazine article or google a subject, and quite another to dive deep into a 300-page book dedicated to that same subject.

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Walt Disney got it right when he said: “There is more treasure in books than in all the pirate’s loot on Treasure Island.” Books are loaded with treasures just waiting to be revealed, knowledge to be imparted. By reading, we are in essence educating ourselves, whether we are reading about time travel theories, the science of horticulture, social media marketing or the ideas of Nicola Tesla.

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Find Time to Read Daily

Let’s squeeze reading back into our lives. The more we read, the more our children will read, purely because we are setting an example. We can read before bed and replace the time spent perusing that Facebook feed with a good book. We can even designate a timed, 30-minute electronics-free reading period in our daily lives.

But, don’t give up on those bestsellers! Let’s just resist the urge to restrict our reading to that bestseller shelf, when there are so many more books out there waiting to be explored.

Knowledge is power. Let’s arm ourselves to the hilt.

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Sally White

writer, artist & blogger

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Last Updated on March 23, 2021

Manage Your Energy so You Can Manage Your Time

Manage Your Energy so You Can Manage Your Time

One of the greatest ironies of this age is that while various gadgets like smartphones and netbooks allow you to multitask, it seems that you never manage to get things done. You are caught in the busyness trap. There’s just too much work to do in one day that sometimes you end up exhausted with half-finished tasks.

The problem lies in how to keep our energy level high to ensure that you finish at least one of your most important tasks for the day. There’s just not enough hours in a day and it’s not possible to be productive the whole time.

You need more than time management. You need energy management

1. Dispel the idea that you need to be a “morning person” to be productive

How many times have you heard (or read) this advice – wake up early so that you can do all the tasks at hand. There’s nothing wrong with that advice. It’s actually reeks of good common sense – start early, finish early. The thing is that technique alone won’t work with everyone. Especially not with people who are not morning larks.

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I should know because I was once deluded with the idea that I will be more productive if I get out of bed by 6 a.m. Like most of you Lifehackers, I’m always on the lookout for productivity hacks because I have a lot of things in my plate. I’m working full time as an editor for a news agency, while at the same time tending to my side business as a content marketing strategist. I’m also a travel blogger and oh yeah, I forgot, I also have a life.

I read a lot of productivity books and blogs looking for ways to make the most of my 24 hours. Most stories on productivity stress waking up early. So I did – and I was a major failure in that department – both in waking up early and finishing early.

2. Determine your “peak hours”

Energy management begins with looking for your most productive hours in a day. Getting attuned to your body clock won’t happen instantly but there’s a way around it.

Monitor your working habits for one week and list down the time when you managed to do the most work. Take note also of what you feel during those hours – do you feel energized or lethargic? Monitor this and you will find a pattern later on.

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My experiment with being a morning lark proved that ignoring my body clock and just doing it by disciplining myself to wake up before 8 a.m. will push me to be more productive. I thought that by writing blog posts and other reports in the morning that I would be finished by noon and use my lunch break for a quick gym session. That never happened. I was sleepy, distracted and couldn’t write jack before 10 a.m.

In fact that was one experiment that I shouldn’t have tried because I should know better. After all, I’ve been writing for a living for the last 15 years, and I have observed time and again that I write more –and better – in the afternoon and in evenings after supper. I’m a night owl. I might as well, accept it and work around it.

Just recently, I was so fired up by a certain idea that – even if I’m back home tired from work – I took out my netbook, wrote and published a 600-word blog post by 11 p.m. This is a bit extreme and one of my rare outbursts of energy, but it works for me.

3. Block those high-energy hours

Once you have a sense of that high-energy time, you can then mold your schedule so that your other less important tasks will be scheduled either before or after this designated productive time.

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Block them out in your calendar and use the high-energy hours for your high priority tasks – especially those that require more of your mental energy and focus. You also need to use these hours to any task that will bring you closer to you life’s goal.

If you are a morning person, you might want to schedule most business meetings before lunch time as it’s important to keep your mind sharp and focused. But nothing is set in stone. Sometimes you have to sacrifice those productive hours to attend to other personal stuff – like if you or your family members are sick or if you have to attend your son’s graduation.

That said, just remember to keep those productive times on your calendar. You may allow for some exemptions but stick to that schedule as much as possible.

There’s no right or wrong way of using this energy management technique because everything depends on your own personal circumstances. What you need to remember is that you have to accept what works for you – and not what other productivity gurus say you should do.

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Understanding your own body clock is the key to time management. Without it, you end up exhausted chasing a never-ending cycle of tasks and frustrations.

Featured photo credit: Collin Hardy via unsplash.com

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