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11 Life Lessons From JK Rowling

11 Life Lessons From JK Rowling

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    So you didn’t have a perfect childhood? Sorry for your loss. What a great excuse you may have for not going all the way to make your dreams come true.

    Warning: today your excuses may be gone forever, no matter what your life looks like. After reading these golden nuggets of life delivered by JK Rowling to a graduating class at Harvard, you will be in on her life secrets. These mini lessons take you from any excuse to the life of your dreams. Read at your own risk. By the end of this post, you will have no reason left to stuff your big and little dreams under the mattress.

    A lightning idea struck Jo, and she became a billionaire author. Are you ready to enter your magical life?  Here are some of her life philosophies that you too can take on.

    1. “Rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life.”

    Here is how JK perceived her rock bottom:

    “I had failed on an epic scale. An exceptionally short lived marriage had imploded and I was a jobless alone parent and as poor as it was possible to be in Britain without being homeless.”

    You too can build up from your own rock bottom, laying a foundation for your dreams and goals, no matter where you are at in this very moment.

    owl moon harry potter

      2. “Failure gave me an inner security that I have never had by passing examinations.”

      Does inner security comes from a job, money, getting an A? The perfect spouse or relationship?

      Not according to Jo. Her inner security came from failure.

      “Failure meant the stripping away of the inessential.”

      What can you strip away? What is inessential in your life? What will be left? What’s left is only what’s important to you along with inner security that you are choosing only a path that is right for you.

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      harry potter bookover

        3. “Poverty itself is romanticized only by fools. It means a thousand petty humiliations and hardships.”

        Some people associate poverty with spirituality. Or they think that it’s romantic to be writhing in hunger and cold, scratching out your craft anyway, digging deep.

        Jo disagrees. Why romanticize humiliation and hardships?

        “I cannot criticize my parents for hoping I would never experience poverty. They had been poor themselves and I have since been poor. And I quite agree with them that it is not an ennobling experience.”

        It may be time for you to romanticize wealth and abundance, and look forward to bringing your gifts to this world, while satiated, with some extra money in the bank. Now that is ennobling.

        harrypotter kid jumping

          4. “Talent and intelligence never yet inoculated anyone against the caprice of the fates.”

          So you have a college education or know you’re smart. That’s great, but as far as the fates, well as Jo says,

          “Your qualifications are not your life.”

          There’s no room for self-judgment here—life is what it is for all of us. Do what you can to get what you want. Keep on keeping on, and don’t give up.

          the end

            5. “The moment you are old enough to take the wheel, responsibility lies with you.”

            If you’re blaming someone else for you not finding your own dream and bringing it to life, grab the wheel; you’re old enough to drive.

            “I do not blame my parents…there is an expiry date for blaming your parents for steering you in the wrong direction. I discovered that I had a strong will and more discipline than I had suspected.”

            You have what it takes, so take it. The minute you stop blaming, you can start steering.

            hogwarts

              6. “We do not need magic to transform our world. We carry all the power we need inside ourselves already.”

              Wouldn’t it be nice to have Harry or Hermione’s magic wand? Or to go into a wand shop and browse?

              If Jo tells you that you have magic and power inside yourself, then you do. Believe it, allow it to surface and get ready for a wild ride.

              cartoon harry potter etc

                7. “The crucial importance of imagination.”

                Did you think imagination is to be left for the kids? Maybe you’re just a big kid after all.

                “Imagination is not only the uniquely human capacity to envision that which is not and therefore the fount of all invention…we have the power to imagine better.”

                 

                “It is the power that enables us to empathize with humans whose experiences we never shared.”

                Go ahead and daydream. Let your imagination run where it may and imagine a better life, a better world. You have Jo’s permission.

                Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey

                  8. “The first story I finished was when I was six years old.”

                  Our childhoods have lots of clues. What were you doing when you were six? What toy did you want? What did you play with?

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                  If you can’t remember, take a trip to the virtual toy store and see what you want to play with and play. It may lead to what you really want to be doing.

                  harrypotter book page

                    9. “I began to direct all my energy into finishing the only work that mattered to me.”

                    What work matters to you?

                    “I stopped pretending to myself that I was anything other than what I was.”

                    What might you be pretending to be? What box are you in? Climb on out.

                    harrypottercastle

                       

                      10. “Harry Potter gave me back self-respect. Harry gave me a job to do that I loved more than anything else.”

                      Do what you love and what you are meant to do and the self-respect will follow.

                      stars harry potter

                        11. “It is impossible to live without failing at something unless you live so cautiously that you might not have lived at all, in which case you fail by default.”

                        Failure is good. It means you are out in the ring, not in the nosebleed section, watching other people battle it out.

                        “There was a point where I really felt I had ‘penniless divorcee lone parent’ tattooed on my head.”

                         

                        “What I feared most; failure. I was the biggest failure I knew.”

                        What do you think you have tattooed on your forehead? Too old to start? Young and inexperienced? Too poor? Too scared?

                        Time to pour the concrete and lay the foundation for greater things.

                        lovely view for harry potter

                          Here is a bonus life lesson:

                          “I don’t think about who the audience is for my books.”

                          Expectations of others can rule our lives if we let them. IF we let them.

                          “I was striking an uneasy balance between the ambition I had for myself and what those closest to me expected of me.”

                          Take a break from wondering how to create your career based on what others want. If you do what helps you, with the gifts you have, you will do as Jo did.

                          So there you have it. Life on JK Rowling’s terms.

                          “I was set free because my greatest fear had been realized. And I was still alive and I still had a daughter whom I adored and I had an old typewriter and a big idea.”

                          Go ahead. Set yourself free. Your failures can be your stepping stones to greatness. This one life you have is yours to live. Do what you love and want to do—that’s where the magic is. Believe in yourself.

                          Light yourself up and dig deep for the magic inside you. It’s there, and it’s in all of us. Harry leads the way!

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                          Esther Litchfield-Fink

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                          Last Updated on November 19, 2019

                          20 Time Management Tips to Super Boost Your Productivity

                          20 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.

                          I use it. It’s even better if you can sync your calendar to your mobile phone and other hardwares you use – that way, you can access your schedule no matter where you are. Here’re the 10 Best Calendar Apps to Stay on Track .

                          Find out more tips about how to use calendar for better time management here: 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.

                          These Top 15 Time Management Apps and Tools can help you organize better, pick one that fits 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.

                          You can learn more about how reminders help you remember everything in this article: The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder That Works)

                          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

                          When you start to track your time, you’re more aware of how you spend your time. For example, you can set a simple countdown timer to make sure that you finish a task within a period of time, say 30 minutes or 1 hour. The time pressure can push you to stay focused and work more efficiently.

                          You can find more time tracking apps here and pick one that works for you.

                          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.

                          More Time Management Techniques

                          Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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