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6 Lessons on Making Smooth Transitions in Life

6 Lessons on Making Smooth Transitions in Life
Smooth Transitions

Last week I started working on my new job as a lecturer. The job is pretty flexible, but it takes quite a lot of time for preparation, especially because I’m relatively new to some subjects. Since I’m still adapting to the pace, my life was pretty disorganized. I couldn’t do my morning ritual as it should, and I didn’t even have enough time to write for my blog. It’s now getting better, though I haven’t coped with it completely.

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In the process, there are some things I learn about how to make such transitions smoother:

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  1. Reject new commitments
    Since I’m still organizing things, I decided not to accept any new commitments. Sometimes it’s not easy to say no to new commitments, but I’ve learned to say no without feeling guilty. In the past, I tended to say yes to new opportunities without thinking about the effect they may have on me. And more often than not, I ended up unable to handle them and failed to produce optimal results. I’m now more cautious and think in longer terms before saying yes to a commitment.
  2. Know what you want
    Sometimes it’s difficult to decide which commitments to take when there are several options. But, if you know exactly what you want, making such decisions is easy. By knowing what you want, you can easily see which commitments are helpful to achieve your goals and which are not. You can then quickly make decisions when you need to.
  3. Maintain focus
    To achieve your vision, you need focus. I learned this the hard way. For years, I set goals and saw that none of them were achieved. It was terrible. So I changed my approach and focused on only one or two goals a year (now I set only one goal). Since then, I started to see significant progress in achieving my goals. My attention and energy are used on only a few things, so the chance of achieving them is much higher.

    I apply this lesson to my current situation. While previously I could easily get distracted by various things, now I anticipate the distractions and avoid them in the first place.

  4. Maintain balance
    While we should focus on what we want, we should not be so obsessed by it that we sacrifice other parts of our life. Keep your life balanced. In my life, I always try to balance the four facets of prosperity: financial, spiritual, social, and physical.
  5. Anticipate unexpected events
    This is what I didn’t do well. I didn’t expect that class preparation would take so much time, and I ended up being disorganized for some time. I should have anticipated such potential busyness beforehand.

    For instance, I didn’t have ready-to-publish posts at that time, and since I didn’t have time to write, I missed a posting schedule on my blog. What I should do is to always have some ready-to-publish posts which can be used in such situations.

  6. Identify the weak points
    To stabilize the situation as quickly as possible, I identified the weak points I should give special attention to. For instance, I noticed that there are some days in which I’m busier than the rest. By realizing this, I could better anticipate them in the future. Another possibility is there are certain things that take too much time to do. By identifying them, I can work to make them more efficient.

Of course, these are just what I’ve learned from my experience. I’m sure there are still many other tips that I haven’t covered here, so feel free to share them in the comments.

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Donald Latumahina

Donald Latumahina is the founder of Life Optimizer, a self-improvement blog to help people reach their full potential.

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Last Updated on August 6, 2020

Why Working 9 to 5 Is Outdated

Why Working 9 to 5 Is Outdated

Bristol is the most congested city in England. Whenever I have to work at the office, I ride there, like most of us do. Furthermore, I always make sure to go at off hours; otherwise, the roads are jam-packed with cars, buses, bikes, even pedestrians. Why is that? Because everyone is working a traditional 9 to 5 work day.

Where did the “9 to 5” Come From?

It all started back in 1946. The United States government implemented the 40 hour work week for all federal employees, and all companies adopted the practice afterwards. That’s 67 years with the same schedule. Let’s think about all the things that have changed in the 67 years:

  • We went to the moon, and astronauts now live in space on the ISS.

  • Computers used to take up entire rooms and took hours to make a single calculation. Now we have more powerful computers in our purses and back pockets with our smartphones.

  • Lots of employees can now telecommute to the office from hundreds, and even thousands of miles away.

In 1946 a 9-5 job made sense because we had time after 5pm for a social life, a family life. Now we’re constantly connected to other people and the office, with the Internet, email on our smartphones, and hashtags in our movies and television shows. There is no downtime anymore.

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Different Folks, Different Strokes

Enjoying your downtime is an important part of life. It recharges your batteries and lets you be more productive. Allowing people to balance life and work can provide them with much needed perspective and motivation to see the bigger picture of what they are trying to achieve.

Some people are just more productive when they’re working at their optimal time of day, after feeling well rested and personally fulfilled.  For some that can be  from 4 a.m. to 9 a.m; for others, it could be  2 p.m. to 7 p.m.

People have their own rhythms and routines. It would be great if we could sync our work schedule to match. Simply put, the imposed 8-hour work day can be a creativity and morale killer for the average person in today’s world.

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Productivity and Trust Killer

Fostering creativity among employees is not always an easy endeavor, but perhaps a good place to start is by simply not tying their tasks and goals to a fixed time period. Let them work on their to-do list at their own pace, and chances are, you’ll get the best out of your employee who feels empowered instead of babysat.

That’s not to say that you should  allow your team to run wild and do whatever they want, but restricting them to a 9 to 5 time frame can quickly demoralize people. Set parameters and deadlines, and let them work at their own creative best with the understanding that their work is crucial to the functioning of the entire team.

Margaret Heffernan, an entrepreneur who previously worked in broadcasting, noted to Inc that from her experience, “treating employees like grown-ups made it more likely that they would behave the same way.” The principle here is to have your employees work to get things done, not to just follow the hands on the clock.

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A Flexible Remote Working Policy

Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer famously recalled all her remote workers, saying she wanted to improve innovation and collaboration, but was that the right decision? We’ve all said that we’re often more productive in a half day working from home than a full day working in the office, right? So why not let your employees work remotely from home?

There are definitely varying schools of thought on remote working. Some believe that innovation and collaboration can only happen in a boardroom with markers, whiteboards and post-it notes and of course, this can be true for some. But do a few great brainstorms trump a team that feels a little less stressed and a little more free?

Those who champion remote working often note that these employees are not counting the clock, worried about getting home, cooking dinner or rushing through errands post-work. No one works their 9-5 straight without breaks here and there.  Allowing some time for remote working means employees can handle some non-work related tasks and feel more accomplished throughout the day. Also, sometimes we all need to have a taste of working in our pajamas, right?

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It’ll be interesting to see how many traditional companies and industries start giving their employees more freedom with their work schedule. And how many end up rescinding their policies like Yahoo did.

What are your thoughts of the traditional 9-5 schedule and what are you doing to help foster your team’s productivity and creativity? Hit the comments and let us know.

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