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How The Matrix Will Help Make 2012 Your Best Year Yet

How The Matrix Will Help Make 2012 Your Best Year Yet
The Matrix
    The Matrix Code by Carlos Carreño

    I’m sure most of you have seen one or all, of “The Matrix” movies, the sci-fi action movie trilogy set in the future. I’m a huge fan, what I love about the movies is that each time I watch them I delve deeper into the philosophy behind the action.

    While watching it again recently, I had some thoughts about how The Matrix is represented in our own day to day lives and how maybe we could reduce its presence in 2012 and use some of its ideas to make our lives happier and more meaningful.

    In the movie, The Matrix is described as a computer generated dream world built to keep humans under control in order to use them as a source of energy somewhat akin to a battery cell. Those who are part of the matrix are unaware of its existence, they are happy in their ignorance that what they believe to be real is reality.

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    Then there are those who have escaped from the Matrix, their reality is not so sweet but it represents Truth as opposed to the superficiality of the dream world.

    What does this imagery say about our own lives? Are you a battery cell? Is your life spent pursuing the goals of others? Do you like to ignore the things you know need to change in your life or have you accepted the truth and the responsibly that comes with that knowledge?

    Coming to the end of another year is the time to take stock of our lives. To think about the past year and whether it has been a good one, and what parts can be improved upon. Is it time for change, for advancement, for improvement? Are you leading a life of your choice?

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    Achievement List

    Start by looking at the achievements of the past year. They may be work-related or personal achievements. Maybe a sporting achievement or a habit you managed to break. Make a list of all the achievements from the past year. Far too often we achieve great things but we don’t’ give them enough acknowledgement. We tend to move on and focus on the next goal or objective.

    Now is the time to sit and acknowledge the good things, to celebrate and feel good.

    Looking Forward

    After looking at your past achievements, now take a look forward, what still needs to change? Do you still need to make changes and adapt things to make the coming year happier and more successful?

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    Often people tell me they don’t know what they want from life and therefore don’t know what goals to set. If this is the case let us use The Matrix to give us some ideas where to start.

    1. Is your life spent fueling an engine that you don’t want to be part of?
    2. Are your daily actions meaningful, are they contributing to a positive bigger picture?
    3. Are there contributions you think you could offer to make the world a better place?

    Take some time to think about those questions and then look towards another great lesson to be learned from the Matrix both for our personal productivity and our general success. This comes from one of the ideas throughout the first movie that the main character Neo may be “The One” — the one is who is not going to do things the way they are always done, the enlightened one, or the awakened one.

    So maybe it is time to wake up — and wake up what needs to change.

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    Doing things differently

    Einstein once said:

    “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”

    If you want to make changes in your life you need to change the way you are currently doing things. So many people whine and moan about their unhappy lives, how circumstance has dealt them a raw deal. If you are unhappy with the hand you were given go out and get a different set of cards and deal yourself a new hand, make changes, step outside your comfort zone only by doing things differently will your reap the results that you desire

    A new year is time for change, but now is the time to plan that change, to think about the commitments you are going to make for yourself and for your world.

    It’s time to wake up and embrace the truth in order to make 2012 one of the best yet.

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    20 Quick Time Management Tips to Super Boost Your Productivity

    20 Quick Time Management Tips to Super Boost Your Productivity

    Are you usually punctual or late? Do you finish things within the time you stipulate? Do you hand in your reports/work on time? Are you able to accomplish what you want to do before deadlines? Are you a good time manager?

    If your answer is “no” to any of the questions above, that means you’re not managing your time as well as you want. Here are 20 time management tips to help you manage time better:

    1. Create a daily plan

    Plan your day before it unfolds. Do it in the morning or even better, the night before you sleep. The plan gives you a good overview of how the day will pan out. That way, you don’t get caught off guard. Your job for the day is to stick to the plan as best as possible.

    2. Peg a time limit to each task

    Be clear that you need to finish X task by 10am, Y task by 3pm, and Z item by 5:30pm. This prevents your work from dragging on and eating into time reserved for other activities.

    3. Use a calendar

    Having a calendar is the most fundamental step to managing your daily activities. If you use outlook or lotus notes, calendar come as part of your mailing software.

    Google Calendar is great – I use it. It’s even better if you can sync it to your mobile phone and other hardwares you use – that way, you can access your schedule no matter where you are.

    Here’s more tips about how to use calendar for better time management: How to Use a Calendar to Create Time and Space

    4. Use an organizer

    An organizer helps you to be on top of everything in your life. It’s your central tool to organize information, to-do lists, projects, and other miscellaneous items.

    Check out these Top 15 Time Management Apps and Tools and pick the ones that fit your needs.

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    5. Know your deadlines

    When do you need to finish your tasks? Mark the deadlines out clearly in your calendar and organizer so you know when you need to finish them.

    But make sure you don’t make these 10 Common Mistakes When Setting Deadlines.

    6. Learn to say “No”

    Don’t take on more than you can handle. For the distractions that come in when you’re doing other things, give a firm no. Or defer it to a later period.

    Leo Babauta, the founder of Zen Habits has some great insights on how to say no: The Gentle Art of Saying No

    7. Target to be early

    When you target to be on time, you’ll either be on time or late. Most of the times you’ll be late. However, if you target to be early, you’ll most likely be on time.

    For appointments, strive to be early. For your deadlines, submit them earlier than required.

    Learn from these tips about how to prepare yourself to be early, instead of just in time.

    8. Time box your activities

    This means restricting your work to X amount of time. Why time boxing is good for you? Here’re 10 reasons why you should start time-boxing.

    You can also read more about how to do time boxing here: #5 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity.

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    9. Have a clock visibly placed before you

    Sometimes we are so engrossed in our work that we lose track of time. Having a huge clock in front of you will keep you aware of the time at the moment.

    10. Set reminders 15 minutes before

    Most calendars have a reminder function. If you have an important meeting to attend, set that alarm 15 minutes before.

    Find out more here about how reminders help you remember everything.

    11. Focus

    Are you multi-tasking so much that you’re just not getting anything done? If so, focus on just one key task at one time. Multitasking is bad for you.

    Close off all the applications you aren’t using. Close off the tabs in your browser that are taking away your attention. Focus solely on what you’re doing. You’ll be more efficient that way.

    Lifehack’s CEO has written a definitive guide on how to focus, learn the tips: How to Focus and Maximize Your Productivity (the Definitive Guide)

    12. Block out distractions

    What’s distracting you in your work? Instant messages? Phone ringing? Text messages popping in?

    I hardly ever use chat nowadays. The only times when I log on is when I’m not intending to do any work. Otherwise it gets very distracting.

    When I’m doing important work, I also switch off my phone. Calls during this time are recorded and I contact them afterward if it’s something important. This helps me concentrate better.

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    Find more tips on how to minimize distractions to achieve more in How to Minimize Distraction to Get Things Done

    13. Track your time spent

    Egg Timer is a simple online countdown timer. You key in the amount of time you want it to track (example: “30 minutes”, “1 hour”) and it’ll count down in the background. When the time is up,the timer will beep. Great way to be aware of your time spent.

    But besides Egg Timer, you can find more time tracking apps here and pick one that fits yourself the best.

    14. Don’t fuss about unimportant details

    You’re never get everything done in exactly the way you want. Trying to do so is being ineffective.

    Trying to be perfect does you more harm than good, learn here about how perfectionism kills your productivity and how to ditch the perfectionism mindset.

    15. Prioritize

    Since you can’t do everything, learn to prioritize the important and let go of the rest.

    Apply the 80/20 principle which is a key principle in prioritization. You can also take up this technique to prioritize everything on your plate: How to Prioritize Right in 10 Minutes and Work 10X Faster

    16. Delegate

    If there are things that can be better done by others or things that are not so important, consider delegating. This takes a load off and you can focus on the important tasks.

    When you delegate some of your work, you free up your time and achieve more. Learn about how to effectively delegate works in this guide: How to Delegate Work (the Definitive Guide for Successful Leaders)

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    17. Batch similar tasks together

    For related work, batch them together.

    For example, my work can be categorized into these core groups:

    1. writing (articles, my upcoming book)
    2. coaching
    3. workshop development
    4. business development
    5. administrative

    I batch all the related tasks together so there’s synergy. If I need to make calls, I allocate a time slot to make all my calls. It really streamlines the process.

    18. Eliminate your time wasters

    What takes your time away your work? Facebook? Twitter? Email checking? Stop checking them so often.

    One thing you can do is make it hard to check them – remove them from your browser quick links / bookmarks and stuff them in a hard to access bookmarks folder. Replace your browser bookmarks with important work-related sites.

    While you’ll still checking FB/Twitter no doubt, you’ll find it’s a lower frequency than before.

    19. Cut off when you need to

    The number one reason why things overrun is because you don’t cut off when you have to.

    Don’t be afraid to intercept in meetings or draw a line to cut-off. Otherwise, there’s never going to be an end and you’ll just eat into the time for later.

    20. Leave buffer time in-between

    Don’t pack everything closely together. Leave a 5-10 minute buffer time in between each tasks. This helps you wrap up the previous task and start off on the next one.

    Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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