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How Making Good Use of The Time After Work Can Fast-Track Your Career Success

How Making Good Use of The Time After Work Can Fast-Track Your Career Success
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Do you want to get ahead in life?

If yes, then you must dedicate some of your spare time to improving yourself.

For example, average workers come home at the end of each day to purely relax and enjoy themselves. High achievers, on the other hand, take a regular part of their spare time for learning new skills, developing existing ones, and finding ways to make their daily work more efficient.

Which of the above are you?

If you aim at achieving outstanding performance at work – then please read on.

Successful People Go for Exponential Growth While the Majority Settle for Natural Growth

Have you ever considered that work time should be solely for working? For instance, an actor does not rely on their time on stage to practice their art. They do this between performances.

It should be the same for you. Let your work time be the period when you focus on productivity and output. (In other words, do the job that you’re being paid for!) And let your spare time be the period when you work on improving your knowledge and skills.

People who habitually devote some of their spare time to learning, are the ones most likely to be successful in life.

However, this doesn’t necessarily happen overnight. It’s much more likely to follow the pattern of exponential growth, which looks like this:

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    The above graph shows the world’s population growth since 10,000 BC to 2,000 AD. As you can see, growth was in tiny increments for thousands of years, but began to rapidly spike about 1,000 AD.

    This is exponential growth in action. Small increases that eventually snowball into massive gains.

    For those people who think hard work is just about putting in the hours, and rely on others to give them directions, growth is much different. Take a look at the below chart:

      This shows the varying income inequality in the U.S. As it clearly demonstrates, changes took place relatively slowly.

      This can be described as natural growth and natural decline. Workers who make little effort to improve, may find themselves becoming less successful after several months or years due to these natural fluctuations.

      Conversely, workers making good use of their spare time will put themselves firmly on the exponential chart – and in time, their fortunes are likely to soar.

      You Just Need to Spend One Hour Every Day to Make the Difference

      It can be tough to make an effort after a hard day’s work.

      You’re probably tired or even exhausted. You may also have… cleaning to do, pets to feed, children to play with, friends to call, and partners to please. (I could go on!)

      What could be easier and more satisfying than slumping down on your couch and turning the TV on?

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      It’s tempting, for sure.

      However, I have a suggestion for you: Commit to spending one hour each evening on your personal development.

      This will still leave you plenty of time for relaxation and entertainment, but it’ll also put you on the fast track to success!

      By breaking down your self-improvement time into one-hour chunks per day, you’ll find it much easier than trying to study for five hours on a weekend (for example). You’ll also have the benefit of building a regular routine that you can easily stick to.

      If You Want to Use Your Spare Time to Boost Your Success – Here’s What to Do

      What you do after work can determine your future. So, please use the time wisely.

      Here’s my top recommendations:

      Read books on diverse topics

      While reading in general is a great hobby, why not take it a stage further and make it part of your career development?

      You can do this in a couple of ways.

      Firstly, read books that are specific to your line of work. For example, if you work in IT, then you could spend an hour reading a book on the latest software trends. This extra knowledge will immediately put you ahead of most of your colleagues.

      The other thing to do, is to choose books from a wide range of topics. (Be sure to include subjects/genres that you wouldn’t normally choose.) If you do this, you’ll stretch your thinking, and you’ll also be able to supercharge your creativity by enabling you to connect different ideas that you’ve read about.

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      Boost specific skills that are currently holding you back at work

      If you’re like most people, then you probably don’t enjoy public speaking. You may even go out of your way to avoid it! However, if your job involves communicating ideas, then it’s inevitable that at some point you’ll be asked to present them to an audience.

      The key to defeating your fear of public speaking is preparation.

      Imagine spending an hour per night developing your presentation skills. You could watch videos of great speakers, take an online presentation course, and practice speaking in front of a mirror.

      With time, you’ll magnify your skills – and your confidence.

      Build your connections

      Your future career prospects are likely to depend on who you know.

      Few people like to admit this, but it’s the truth.

      So, turn over some of your spare time to growing your professional connections. You can do this through social media sites such as Google+, LinkedIn and Twitter.

      Just be sure that you’re connecting to the right people. This usually means folks who share your interests and line of work. For instance, if you’re a trainee accountant, link up with qualified accountants and other finance professionals.

      Connections can become mentors – or even lead to career opportunities for you.

      Work on personal projects

      Let me tell you how I got started as a freelance writer.

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      I had the idea to set up a website that would feature the latest innovations in green technology. To be honest, it was supposed to be just a hobby. I created the site on WordPress, and then began writing regular articles for the site. I did all this in addition to my full-time job.

      However, I found that I loved writing and sharing stories. And before long, I decided to apply for paid writing work. It took me a while to secure my first contract, but since then my writing career has taken off.

      You could do something similar.

      Take a hobby or personal project (e.g., playing a musical instrument or researching your family tree), and see whether you can turn it into a profitable sideline – or potential new career. Even if you don’t make money from your hobby, you’ll still be able to take soft skills such as patience and enthusiasm and transfer them over to your day job.

      Look for ways to do things more efficiently

      I’ve saved this one until last, because I think it’s the most important.

      Wherever you work, and whatever your job, there’s bound to be ways to improve the way work is performed.

      Let’s say that you work as a receptionist at your local gym. One of your duties is to help people to sign up for new memberships. You’ve noticed that this takes about 15 minutes on average, but can also take much longer.

      You’re too busy at work to find ways to streamline the signing up process, but at home you want to give it a go.

      The first night (and hour) you make a list of ways that the signing up process could be improved. The next night you prioritize the list into which ways will be most effective at quickening and simplifying the process. On the third night, you develop ways to implement the changes.

      Imagine taking your suggestions to your boss. Even if they decide not to go ahead with the changes, they are sure to be impressed with your initiative.

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      If you want to begin practicing the five suggestions above, you’ll need excellent time management. The secret is to turn your actions into habits. Once you’ve done that, spending an hour each day in personal development will be as natural as spending an hour watching your favorite soap opera!

      If you’re eager to join the ranks of the highly successful, then be sure to make great use of your spare time.

      More by this author

      Craig J Todd

      UK Writer who loves to use the power of words to inspire and motivate.

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      Last Updated on July 21, 2021

      The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

      The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)
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      No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

      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.”[1]

      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!

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      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.

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      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.

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      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

      Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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      Reference

      [1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

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