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5 Life Lessons from Solitaire

5 Life Lessons from Solitaire


    We’ve all played a little computer solitaire, right? Perhaps it was a slow day at work or you just had some time to kill before quittin’ time. I have played my share too, and had some insights about solitaire strategies and how they relate to real life lessons.

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    1. Move the aces first.

    Everybody knows this – you always play the aces as soon as they come up. If you are lucky enough to have a few showing at the beginning of the game, even better. We are all “aces” at something – play those cards first. If you are a good communicator, make sure you are using that skill. If you have a knack with math, use it! If you don’t know what your “aces” are, do a personal skills inventory or personality type quiz to find out.

    2. Play all the cards you can.

    Once you’ve moved the aces up, it’s time to start clicking on cards to make the familiar red-black chain, right? Do you ever hold back from clicking on a 2 or 3, hoping you will get the ace right away and be able to move them directly up? I’ve discovered that it never helps to hold back in this way – play whatever cards you can now, even if they don’t seem to be very strategic at this moment. Each play reveals a new card and builds on the chains you have. You can’t reveal any new cards (opportunities) unless you play the ones you can.

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    3. You need both red and black.

    Have you even started a game and had all black come up, and then the first few cards from the deck are black, too? It seems like a bit of an omen, and it can really makes you wish for hearts and diamonds! Without some reds, the game cannot progress at all. The same is true in life; you need a mix of both red and black – a balanced life – to make the game work. It can’t be all one way. Try to keep a healthy balance between work and recreation, busy and slow times, stress and fun, activity and sleep. The “reds and blacks” are all just a part of the contrast of life.

    4. All the cards (answers) are there, just waiting to be revealed.

    You have all the cards you need to win the game. Only seven are revealed at first, but they lead to every card being played. Every card in a winning game becomes a part of those red-black chains. If you feel like you are looking for answers in life, rest assured they are there. You just haven’t played enough to discover them yet.

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    5. Don’t stress out about dealing again.

    Sometimes, the cards you need just don’t show up and you have to admit you are stuck. You might not win every game, but you can always start over. Don’t be ashamed to start over again in life – it beats sitting, looking at the cards, unable to move and unable to win.

    Finally, I’ve noticed a distinct difference in how the game goes depending on my attitude. If I am exhausted, it often doesn’t go far before I’m stuck. If I am well-rested, I usually win. I have tried saying a short, two-second affirmation for a good game, and it’s amazing how things go smoother. Try saying a short affirmation for good traffic, good weather, or electronic devices to work properly – anything that seems to be “chance” (like how cards are dealt) – and see if it helps!

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    I doubt whoever invented the first version of computer solitaire had any idea how popular and iconic it would become. You might be working on the next “big thing” – so keep playing each card as it comes and keep your eyes open for opportunities to make your next move.

    (Photo credit: Man Playing Cards Thinking About Next Move via Shutterstock)

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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.

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    Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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