Advertising

15 Things You’re Not Taught In School That Determine Your Success

Advertising
15 Things You’re Not Taught In School That Determine Your Success

School teaches you many of the fundamental things you’ll need a basic grip on in order to be a genuine success during your life, including math, English, science, discipline, and socializing, to name a few. But not everything that’s worth knowing is chalked up on blackboards. At least, not yet.

Listed here are 15 essential life skills that determine your success yet aren’t part of a typical school curriculum, although they really ought to be.

1. Spotting a Scam

As a rule, schools don’t tend to teach children about how to spot the signs of a swindler, and getting fleeced at least once is currently the only way to learn about the incredible amount of scams that plague the world. Knowing a dodgy deal when you see one is something that comes in handy in today’s world, especially in a day and age in which so many are able to hide behind the shifting face of the internet. Teaching students to spot a scam can allow them to go a long way in life.

2. Negotiation

In most classrooms, there’s very little room for negotiation. Unless the teacher is having a particularly good day and decides to meet children halfway in terms of what the deadlines for that particular lesson might be, any attempt by a student to get a better deal for themselves is met by the teacher’s furrowed brow and an extended finger pointing towards the door. It’s a shame, really, since when you enter the big, bad world of adulthood, being able to negotiate is vital in order to help get you out of some seriously sticky situations. Negotiation strategies come particularly in handy in the world of business, and teaching children how to master this skill from a young age can end up having all kinds of benefits in later life.

Advertising

3. Self-defense

It’s never nice to think about, but that doesn’t stop the fact that there are depressingly high numbers of dangerous people out there in the world who one day might target you personally for a number of reasons. To stay safe, it’s important to learn the very basics of self-defense – both in terms of being able to protect yourself through the art of speech as well as physically, if it ever comes down to it. Self-defense is an integral part of life, and knowing how to shelter yourself from the evils of the world can boost your confidence, keep you happy, and allow you to live a highly successful life. 

4. Mental Health

Occasionally, schools will host workshops and activity days where various society health representatives will totter from classroom to classroom, but for the most part, the aspect of mental health is left entirely up to the school’s counsellor, if they have one. For the most part, today’s youth are largely kept in the dark about the specifics of mental health, with issues like depression being very poorly understood. Raging teenage hormones are not the same as somebody who’s dealing with depression, and high-quality mental health education is needed in every school in order to help everyone learn about the more troubling conditions of the mind.

5. Socialising & Networking

Managing your internet profile is about so much more than having a high number of “likes” on Facebook these days. It can be the difference between being offered a terrific job opportunity and facing an endless string of rejections. Keeping your appearance online professional and in check will make potential employers recognise your maturity as a person, and schools really ought to widely teach the art and discipline behind crafting your very own unique internet identity.

6. Emergencies & First Aid

Basic first aid ought to be taught at regular intervals in every school at every age. Science is consistently finding new ways to medically treat people, and some of the old breathing assistance techniques that you saw on television back when you were a kid are now considered archaic and even dangerous. Frequent, up-to-the-minute emergency reaction and first aid teaching in schools can go a long way to helping someone out if a serious situation occurs in the future.

Advertising

7. Household Repairs

As you get older, you’ll come to realise the absolute necessity of being able to perform basic household repairs. There are few worse feelings on earth than an appliance breaking down in your home and you standing ashen-faced with no idea how to fix it. A few basic tutorials in ordinary household maintenance could prove to be enormously expedient when it comes to moving into a first home.

8. Self-assessment

Taking a long, hard look at yourself and acknowledging what you’re truly good at, as well as what you are not so good at, is probably one of the most challenging aspects of life. Few people can truly do it. It takes practice, and being able to come to terms with what you need to improve on can make you a much better person in all aspects of your life.

9. Balance

School rightly encourages you to work hard at improving your academic performance, but what it doesn’t truly teach is the ability to balance your life so that you achieve high levels of gratification in every aspect – from having quiet family time, to working hard, to partaking in joyful evenings with your friends. Achieving a great sense of balance is paramount in order to live a happy, heathy life. Managing your time well will allow you to make sure the things that ought to come first do indeed come first, and not at the expense of anything else.

10. Cooking

There’s a reason why so many university students find themselves living on budget noodles for the entirety of their degree years. Money of course is a factor, but it’s also due to the fact that very few young adults have any real experience cooking by the time they move into college dorms. Serving up a mouth-watering meal isn’t just an art that can pave the way for success for an aspiring chef, either. Cooking is a skill that can impress friends, bosses, dates, and perhaps most importantly, keep you in good health. Cooking classes in schools do exist, of course, but putting a little emphasis on some tasty, healthy recipes could really help turn young children into terrific little cooks by the time they fly out of the nest. 

Advertising

11. Coping with Harsh Realities

Simply put: life isn’t fair. If you expect it to be, you’re going to be disappointed. Sometimes things will go your way, and on other occasions they won’t. It’s enough to make you want to claw your hair out, but by learning to cope with harsh realities, you’ll be able to live happily without succumbing to the pangs of stress that life can so cruelly impose upon you.

12. Money Isn’t Everything

It’s terrific to have a well-paying job, a big house, and a glossy car on your driveway. We know this because this is what school facilities drum into our heads from day one. It’s a simple equation: Working hard at school = Better grades = Better prospects = More money. But money isn’t happiness. On the contrary, cash can actually be toxic if handled in the wrong way and has the ability bring out the worst in people who are unable to separate it from joy. Wealth and happiness are two very different things, and schools ought to make a conscious effort to instil this in pupils’ heads before they depart from lower education.

13. Learning from Failure

Some teachers are absolutely exceptional at handling children who struggle to deal with even the simplest tasks. But learning from failure isn’t really what school is about. No, school is about doing enough so you don’t fail in the first place. A fine lesson in itself, but the fact is that at some point in their lives, everybody will fail.

But no failure is a catastrophe if you learn from it. Understanding what went wrong and why something didn’t turn out as planned can help you to curb your lifestyle so that it never happens again. It can and will turn you into a stronger, more successful person.

Advertising

14. Forgiveness

It can be tricky to say that you forgive somebody who has let you down. It’s even more difficult to actually mean it. Learning how to let the silly things go and move on with your life may be something that’s discussed in specific counselling sessions with people who have gotten themselves into extremely problematic situations, but otherwise, the act of forgiveness isn’t something that’s currently taught in schools across the world. It’s a process that requires patience and understanding. It puts you into someone else’s shoes, helps you to understand other people, and makes you a more successful person in life.

15. Expect the Unexpected

Perhaps it’s a little tough to teach this, but it’s a rule that everyone ought to live by in order to be a successful person. The world is an utterly unpredictable place. It’s a scary thought, but at the same time it’s also kind of wonderful, if you’re prepared for it. Putting yourself in the mindset that absolutely anything might be lying around the corner in wait can actively improve your personality and help you to deal with life when times get a little tough.

Featured photo credit: thecommentator.com via thecommentator.com

More by this author

Gareth Lloyd

Freelance Writer

10 Things Almost Everyone Forgets to Consider When Accepting A Job Offer 6 Reasons Why People Who Take A Nap Are Highly Productive 15 Apps To Train Your Brain 20 Disturbing Fast Food Facts that Will Change Your Diet Forever 10 Quick And Healthy Breakfast Ideas

Trending in Productivity

1 15 Strategies for an Effective To-Do List 2 How to Organize Your Tasks With Weekly To-Do Lists 3 How to Create Your Own Ritual to Conquer Time Wasters and Laziness 4 Are You Addicted to Productivity? 5 Is Avoiding Difficult Tasks And Doing Easy Tasks First Less Productive?

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on October 28, 2021

15 Strategies for an Effective To-Do List

Advertising
15 Strategies for an Effective To-Do List

One of the age-old productivity techniques around is the classic and effective to-do list, and for good reason. It’s one of the most productive ways for you and everyone else to get anything done. Whether it’s a mental list or something that you are writing down, a to-do list is an essential productivity tool.

At the same time, it is one of the most confusing productivity tools around. Many people discredit this for various reasons and don’t believe that a to-do list is any good. But my argument is that maybe you and other people aren’t making an effective to-do list, so here we will go over how to get one done right.

Why Is a To-Do List Important?

Before jumping into strategies to make an effective to-do list, it’s worth knowing why you should bother making one. The first important point is that many people have been making to-do lists all wrong.

Two of the most common mistakes are:

  • People use lists as a measurement of whether they are productive or not.
  • They put too many items on the list.

It’s understandable why you or other people do this, though. A to-do list is a productivity tool, so it makes sense to pile on tasks. However, the brain doesn’t work that way. If you have a lot of tasks on your list, it feels like torture as the list never ends.

At first, it can feel nice that you always have something to do, but keep in mind that you only have so much time in a day. It’s important that you place more value in quality work rather than sheer quantity.

On that same note, if you are someone who has a tendency to seek validation, a to-do list can be tough. There will be days where you won’t get everything done due to life events. This creates unnecessary pressure and sends you into a stress whirlwind.

When you build an effective to-do list, the main goal of these lists is to provide clarity and focus. If you’ve been doing them wrong, you may have noticed that you are focusing in on a task on your to do list and getting it done.

This may be overshadowed by the multiple items on your list, but you are focusing on a task during a given time. You really see this in action when you consider having a shorter to-do list, though.

I understand that a to-do list isn’t for every single person, but this focus is helpful to people when starting out. You’re still not certain about your goals or the path that you want to take. You may also struggle to determine the next step to work towards.

A to-do list is a guide you can refer back to it whenever you need it. Furthermore, the techniques that I’ll be mentioning below will make to-do lists more effective for you.

15 Strategies for an Effective To-Do List

So what should be on a to-do list? What is the best to-do list system?

You’ll begin to see how powerful a to-do list is when you consider the various strategies you can incorporate in one. This is your to-do list, so pick from the strategies below to find what suits you. If you’re not certain, don’t be afraid to experiment and mishmash several combinations.

Advertising

Remember that the road to success is one with many branching paths, so the methods you use are your choice.

1. Break the List Into Two Parts

The first strategy is to break a list into two parts. These two parts are called dailies and to do’s.

Dailies are the everyday tasks that you want to develop more. For example, if you want to make a habit out of exercising in the morning, a daily task could be following a 15-minute workout routine or going for an hour-long walk.

Your to do’s are non-daily tasks that you need to be getting done at some point. Maybe you need to prepare a report at work or make a presentation. You can put that into your to do column.

This is an effective strategy because it saves all the clutter that most people gravitate towards. As mentioned before, people stuff their lists, and a lot of it is usually tasks they you would do anyway, like going grocery shopping or dropping the kids off at a friend’s place.

2. Put a Limit on Items

If you find breaking your list into two parts too much, I’ll suggest brevity to be a virtue when making these lists. You can set any number of items, but the key is that you do have a set limit in mind. Some people have no more than seven while others go as low as three. Do what makes you feel comfortable.

The idea behind this is to narrow in on the most important tasks that you need to accomplish that day. Of course, there are other things that you’ll be doing during the day, and that’s fine, but you want to prioritize the items that on your to do list before the day is done.

3. Use Checklists for Complex Tasks

If you’re already making narrow lists but are putting in tougher tasks, my suggestion is to break that task down. Whether it’s full-on steps you need to take or jotting down important details that need to be present is up to you.

Either way, this allows you to ensure that you’re getting everything done the proper way and that you’re not missing any key details or steps.

4. Tackle MITs First

MIT is the “most important task.” Another way to look at this is to tackle the largest and most intimidating task first[1]. Why you want to do this goes back to how our brain works.

You may feel compelled to do the easier tasks first before getting to the bigger task, but the problem is that these tasks—even the easy ones—drain your energy. Furthermore, if you have a really big task to complete, chances are that’s going to be on your mind over the course of the day. That means you’re spending more energy just thinking about it.

All of that wouldn’t be a problem if that big intimidating task was dealt with first thing in the morning.

5. Create a “Done” List

Another interesting approach to consider is to have a “done” list. This is a list of the tasks that you’ve completed from your to-do list. Many people find it satisfying to merely cross an item off their list and be done with it, but depending on what you’re putting on those lists, a done list could be inspiring.

Advertising

Imagine if you are someone who places above-average difficult tasks on your to-do lists, activities that require an hour or two to complete properly. This can inspire you to do more if, after a day of working, you notice just how much you accomplished over the course of the day via this list.

6. Make Your List Easy to Spot

From colorful paper to posting it in an obvious spot, you want your list to be in a place where you can spot it easily. Mind you, you don’t need to have this list in front of you all the time as it could create unnecessary stress. But setting it to one side is a nice idea—a glance to the side and you know exactly what needs to get done.

7. Add Gaming Elements to It

If pen and paper isn’t your thing when making to-do lists, there are several apps that can guide you along as well. The beauty of to -do list apps is that there is more room for creativity, and some of the developers incorporate games into them.

For example, Todoist has an achievement system where individuals earn badges as they complete more tasks. There’s also Bounty Tasker, which makes you feel like your tasks are side quests in a video game.

8. Give Yourself Deadlines

Work expands to fill time allotted.

It’s an old philosophy that still rings true with how we are productive. For example, say you’re assigned to write a report, and you’re given a week to do it. You’ll likely work on it steadily throughout the week. Or if you’re a procrastinator, you’ll put it off until the night before and finish it.

But what if you’re given that same task and only allotted an hour to complete it? You’ll likely get the report done, but you’ll prioritize the main, important points and highlight those rather than fill it with unnecessary fluff.

The whole point of this is that with your goals and the items on your to-do list, you want to have deadlines. When it comes to to-do lists, my suggestion is to give yourself a day to complete the tasks there. This is enough pressure and incentive for you to work hard on them.

9. Add Tasks When They’re Fresh

Another strategy is to assign yourself tasks even when you are working on something else. Keep in mind it’s not something you have to do right now, but this can help with people who are struggling to think about what to focus on next.

This is along the same lines as when you hear something interesting and you write it down. It’s a wise thing to do as it saves you the bother of having to dwell on that idea rather than focusing on the task at hand. It also saves you from having to recall what the task is if you’re the type to write up the next day’s to-do list at the end of the day.

10. Be Comfortable With Revising Your To-Do List

Depending on your overall mindset, another good strategy is to look at your to-do list and make changes to it. If you’re practicing the previous strategy, there may be a possibility that your to-do list is getting lengthy and you’re setting unrealistic expectations that you can finish it all.

By giving yourself the opportunity to revise your to-do list, your allowing yourself to spread out your tasks rather than have them clumped up. This helps your mindset as you’re not overwhelmed by the list.

11. Write Tasks, Not Goals

You should have separate lists for your tasks and your goals. The idea is to not put goals on your task list at all.

Advertising

While tasks can help you lead to your goals, goals are larger desires and not something that you can achieve over the course of the day. For example, “learn to speak French” is a goal; however, you can break that into a task by saying “read French content for 15 minutes” or “watch a movie in French.”

This also extends to objectives, too. You can see these as milestones. Going back to the example of speaking French, an objective can be, “discuss my favorite foods with someone in French.” It’s the desired outcome that you’re looking for from your practice.

12. Keep To-Do Lists Brief

Here, brief means scannable in that you can quickly look over at the list and know what needs to get done. How you can do this is by focusing on the keywords of specific tasks and not dragging them out. For example, say your garage is a mess and you want to clean it up. Instead of writing a lengthy sentence, keep it short and write something like “clean garage for 30 min.” or simply “clean garage.”

With this strategy, you’re spending less time writing the task down when making the to-do list. Furthermore, you’re relying on trigger words to get your mind to recall specific details for that task.

13. Have Multiple Lists

As mentioned above, it’s a good idea to have separate lists for various things, like having a separate list for goals, objectives, daily tasks, and to-do’s. Another way you can look at it is to have a system where you are consulting from three lists.

These lists are:

A Master List

This is where any of your long-term goals are, things like moving to a new house, getting out of debt, or building a business. These are things that will take a year or more to accomplish.

A Weekly Project List

These are things that you want to accomplish by the end of the week. These are things that will move the needle slowly towards some of the items on your master list. From the previous example, these could be doing research on getting a business loan, house hunting, or setting up a savings account.

A High-Impact List

Lastly, these are tasks that need to be accomplished today. Whether they are related to the previous two lists or not doesn’t matter. This is where high priority tasks are placed. Examples can be calling specific people or working on a project or a report that’s due soon.

By having these lists in place, you’ll be referring often to the weekly project list and the high-impact list and determining whether a weekly task should be moved to that list.

Advertising

As you do that, you’ll begin to notice how much your daily life has an impact on those goals that are written on that master list. That can be inspiring since what you are doing is actively bringing you closer to your goals.

14. Don’t Ramp up Difficulty Until You’re Ready

Some of the strategies mentioned can seem easy on the surface, but they require a lot of mental fortitude. Motivation is an unusual thing, and our brains are wired to process a certain way. If you’re looking for genuine change and something that sticks, the best principle is to keep things simple and easy at first.

It may be a drag, but you don’t often realize how those baby steps can play a crucial role in you being able to start running and chasing your dreams. Don’t be ashamed if you have to start off with simple tasks for yourself. Even going back to daily tasks that you do anyway like showering, doing the laundry or shopping for food is a good way to start.

Putting those items on the list at first makes you feel like you’ve had a productive day. From there, you can challenge yourself with more difficult tasks. Incorporate an exercise routine or spend a half-hour on a task that means something to you.

The idea is to ease yourself into a routine so you don’t feel overwhelmed.

15. Measure Your Time

The last strategy that can help you is to measure your time. How long does it take you to finish a specific task? You don’t need to go for specifics, but make a point of timing yourself over the course of a week and get the average time spent on that task.

Why is this important? This information can be broken down in two ways.

The first way is to use it as a marker to boost efficiency. Depending on the task, you can find new ways to achieve the same results in a shorter time.

It also allows you to know what you can do in a given day. If you know that it takes you an hour or so to go through your entire morning routine, you’ll be more conscious about how you move through that routine.

Furthermore, if you know what tasks you’ll be doing the next day, you can better manage your time since you know roughly how much time it’ll take to get everything done.

Final Thoughts

Building an effective to-do list is not as easy as it seems.

There are all kinds of unique strategies to try out, some more challenging that others. However, if you are motivated to use this productivity tool to make your life easier, then it will get easier.

All that you need to do is keep putting effort and experiment and reevaluate when necessary. So get started with your to-do lists today.

Advertising

More Tips on Using an Effective To-Do List

Featured photo credit: Emma Matthews Digital Content Production via unsplash.com

Reference

Read Next