Advertising
Advertising

11 Things to avoid in 2011

11 Things to avoid in 2011

    While millions head to the gym for the next two weeks, there’s cause to consider some things to avoid in the coming year. Here are 11 things you might do well to avoid in the coming year and beyond!

    1. Withholding forgiveness

    If the person who wronged you really cares about you they’ll have beaten themselves up sufficiently before asking for your forgiveness. Don’t risk the health of your relationship by withholding forgiveness. That’s a vengeance that tastes good on the way down and breaks your heart on the way back up.

    Advertising

    2. Using your job as an excuse

    Far too often the phrase, “I’m doing this for my family!” is given as an excuse for neglect. If you are actually indispensable your employer will, perhaps begrudgingly, give you the time you need to get your relationship with family and friends back on track. You’ll be glad you did and so will your employer!

    3. Eating for all the wrong reasons

    Don’t eat because you’re tired, bored, thirsty, or anxious this year! You might consider those four different things to avoid but they all lead to the reason you probably resolved to hit the gym more often this year. Consider the notion of eating with purpose and see where it takes you in 2011.

    4. Assuming that you always know the entire story

    You don’t. Ask more questions. Listen. Ask more questions. Give yourself an out and don’t back others into corners when you give your final answer.

    Advertising

    5. Self-loathing

    Most aren’t aware of just how much they beat themselves up over things. Note this: You set an example for others as to how you should be treated and appreciated. Respect and take care of yourself and most will follow your example. This is one of those wildly simple yet agonizingly difficult things to accomplish. Try to get a solid start this year!

    6. Blaming anything on gender

    For example: I was in an argument recently (imagine that!) and my partner in the argument forcefully uttered the remark, “typical male!” in response to something I said that was admittedly unkind (imagine that!). This created a predicament in which my subsequent apology would be not just for my comment but also for my gender. I can’t change my gender (really, not an option) so I’d be apologizing for being myself. Crazy, right? She doesn’t do that because she’s a woman. She does it because she’s an imperfect human. He doesn’t do that because he’s a man. He does it because he’s an imperfect human. Things are simpler when we approach conflict with as few stereotypes as possible.

    Such an approach will change things. I promise you.

    Advertising

    7. Needless exhaustion

    Try to be better about skipping the late-night TV or web browsing when you have work early in the morning. You’ll be more useful at work, more fun as a friend, and it’ll be easier to hit the gym or whatever your new year’s resolution was!

    8. Neglecting your mind

    You’ve talked about taking a class, joining a book club, working on more challenging projects, and taking time to read more or even start a blog. You’re officially done waiting. Congratulations!

    9. Putting off your dreams

    Look at your big dreams and identify what makes them so appealing. Is it the free time, the nice things, the great relationships, or being in the best shape of your life? Identify something you can do this year that will allow you to enjoy some of that dream without all the extras. Save up some cash and splurge on that amazing purchase or take some unpaid time off. Treasure the time you have and don’t wait until you’re loaded to start savoring the world around you.

    Advertising

    10. Not asking for help

    You’d be stunned if you knew just how many people are ready and willing to help you if only you’d clearly define your need and directly ask for help. Don’t ask for help like the friend who begs people to help him move but has nothing put in boxes when they show up. Ask for help like the friend who has done everything in his power to achieve and needs only that final push from a buddy to reach success. We want to be a part of your success!

    11. Taking so many moments for granted

    Time is limited my friend. Seize the moment. Try to freeze it and own it, squeeze it and hold it. (Eminem) We’ve not been promised another year. Only this moment right before our eyes, between our hands, and in the breaths of those we love.

    Here’s to an amazing 2011, friends! Stay blessed!

    Image: Today is a good day

    More by this author

    Seth Simonds

    Seth writes about lifestyle tips on Lifehack.

    How to Become an Early Riser and Stay Energetic Throughout the Day 21 First Date Ideas 11 Sinfully Easy Sangria Recipes Sleep Hack: A Simple Strategy For Better Rest In Less Time Lifehack 5-Day Early Riser Challenge Final

    Trending in Featured

    1 How to Take Notes Effectively: Powerful Note-Taking Techniques 2 How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators 3 How to Master the Art of Prioritization 4 How to Find Your Passion and Live a Fulfilling Life 5 What to Do in Free Time? 20 Productive Ways to Use the Time

    Read Next

    Advertising
    Advertising
    Advertising

    Last Updated on September 18, 2019

    How to Take Notes Effectively: Powerful Note-Taking Techniques

    How to Take Notes Effectively: Powerful Note-Taking Techniques

    Note-taking is one of those skills that rarely gets taught. Almost everyone assumes either that taking good notes comes naturally or, that someone else must have already taught about how to take notes. Then, we sit around and complain that our colleagues don’t know how to take notes.

    I figure it’s about time to do something about that. Whether you’re a student or a mid-level professional, the ability to take effective, meaningful notes is a crucial skill. Not only do good notes help us recall facts and ideas we may have forgotten, the act of writing things down helps many of us to remember them better in the first place.

    One of the reasons people have trouble taking effective notes is that they’re not really sure what notes are for. I think a lot of people, students and professionals alike, attempt to capture a complete record of a lecture, book, or meeting in their notes — to create, in effect, minutes. This is a recipe for failure.

    Trying to get every last fact and figure down like that leaves no room for thinking about what you’re writing and how it fits together. If you have a personal assistant, by all means, ask him or her to write minutes; if you’re on your own, though, your notes have a different purpose to fulfill.

    The purpose of note-taking is simple: to help you work better and more quickly. This means your notes don’t have to contain everything, they have to contain the most important things.

    And if you’re focused on capturing everything, you won’t have the spare mental “cycles” to recognize what’s truly important. Which means that later, when you’re studying for a big test or preparing a term paper, you’ll have to wade through all that extra garbage to uncover the few nuggets of important information?

    What to Write Down

    Your focus while taking notes should be two-fold. First, what’s new to you? There’s no point in writing down facts you already know. If you already know the Declaration of Independence was written and signed in 1776, there’s no reason to write that down. Anything you know you know, you can leave out of your notes.

    Second, what’s relevant? What information is most likely to be of use later, whether on a test, in an essay, or in completing a project? Focus on points that directly relate to or illustrate your reading (which means you’ll have to have actually done the reading…). The kinds of information to pay special attention to are:

    Advertising

    Dates of Events

    Dates allow you to create a chronology, putting things in order according to when they happened, and understand the context of an event.

    For instance, knowing Isaac Newton was born in 1643 allows you to situate his work in relation to that of other physicists who came before and after him, as well as in relation to other trends of the 17th century.

    Names of People

    Being able to associate names with key ideas also helps remember ideas better and, when names come up again, to recognize ties between different ideas whether proposed by the same individuals or by people related in some way.

    Theories or Frameworks

    Any statement of a theory or frameworks should be recorded — they are the main points most of the time.

    Definitions

    Like theories, these are the main points and, unless you are positive you already know the definition of a term, should be written down.

    Keep in mind that many fields use everyday words in ways that are unfamiliar to us.

    Arguments and Debates

    Any list of pros and cons, any critique of a key idea, both sides of any debate or your reading should be recorded.

    This is the stuff that advancement in every discipline emerges from, and will help you understand both how ideas have changed (and why) but also the process of thought and development of the matter of subject.

    Advertising

    Images

    Whenever an image is used to illustrate a point, a few words are in order to record the experience.

    Obviously it’s overkill to describe every tiny detail, but a short description of a painting or a short statement about what the class, session or meeting did should be enough to remind you and help reconstruct the experience.

    Other Stuff

    Just about anything a professor writes on a board should probably be written down, unless it’s either self-evident or something you already know. Titles of books, movies, TV series, and other media are usually useful, though they may be irrelevant to the topic at hand.

    I usually put this sort of stuff in the margin to look up later (it’s often useful for research papers, for example). Pay attention to other’s comments, too — try to capture at least the gist of comments that add to your understanding.

    Your Own Questions

    Make sure to record your own questions about the material as they occur to you. This will help you remember to ask the professor or look something up later, as well as prompt you to think through the gaps in your understanding.

    3 Powerful Note-Taking Techniques

    You don’t have to be super-fancy in your note-taking to be effective, but there are a few techniques that seem to work best for most people.

    1. Outlining

    Whether you use Roman numerals or bullet points, outlining is an effective way to capture the hierarchical relationships between ideas and data. For example, in a history class, you might write the name of an important leader, and under it the key events that he or she was involved in. Under each of them, a short description. And so on.

    Outlining is a great way to take notes from books, because the author has usually organized the material in a fairly effective way, and you can go from start to end of a chapter and simply reproduce that structure in your notes.

    Advertising

    For lectures, however, outlining has limitations. The relationship between ideas isn’t always hierarchical, and the instructor might jump around a lot. A point later in the lecture might relate better to information earlier in the lecture, leaving you to either flip back and forth to find where the information goes best (and hope there’s still room to write it in), or risk losing the relationship between what the professor just said and what she said before.

    2. Mind-Mapping

    For lectures, a mind-map might be a more appropriate way of keeping track of the relationships between ideas. Now, I’m not the biggest fan of mind-mapping, but it might just fit the bill.

    Here’s the idea:

    In the center of a blank sheet of paper, you write the lecture’s main topic. As new sub-topics are introduced (the kind of thing you’d create a new heading for in an outline), you draw a branch outward from the center and write the sub-topic along the branch. Then each point under that heading gets its own, smaller branch off the main one. When another new sub-topic is mentioned, you draw a new main branch from the center. And so on.

    The thing is, if a point should go under the first heading but you’re on the fourth heading, you can easily just draw it in on the first branch. Likewise, if a point connects to two different ideas, you can connect it to two different branches.

    If you want to neaten things up later, you can re-draw the map or type it up using a program like FreeMind, a free mind-mapping program (some wikis even have plug-ins for FreeMind mind-maps, in case you’re using a wiki to keep track of your notes).

    You can learn more about mind-mapping here: How to Mind Map: Visualize Your Cluttered Thoughts in 3 Simple Steps

    3. The Cornell System

    The Cornell System is a simple but powerful system for increasing your recall and the usefulness of your notes.

    Advertising

    About a quarter of the way from the bottom of a sheet of paper, draw a line across the width of the page. Draw another line from that line to the top, about 2 inches (5 cm) from the right-hand edge of the sheet.

    You’ve divided your page into three sections. In the largest section, you take notes normally — you can outline or mind-map or whatever. After the lecture, write a series of “cues” into the skinny column on the right, questions about the material you’ve just taken notes on. This will help you process the information from the lecture or reading, as well as providing a handy study tool when exams come along: simply cover the main section and try to answer the questions.

    In the bottom section, you write a short, 2-3 line summary in your own words of the material you’ve covered. Again, this helps you process the information by forcing you to use it in a new way; it also provides a useful reference when you’re trying to find something in your notes later.

    You can download instructions and templates from American Digest, though the beauty of the system is you can dash off a template “on the fly”.

    The Bottom Line

    I’m sure I’m only scratching the surface of the variety of techniques and strategies people have come up with to take good notes. Some people use highlighters or colored pens; others a baroque system of post-it notes.

    I’ve tried to keep it simple and general, but the bottom line is that your system has to reflect the way you think. The problem is, most haven’t given much thought to the way they think, leaving them scattered and at loose ends — and their notes reflect this.

    More About Note-Taking

    Featured photo credit: Kaleidico via unsplash.com

    Read Next