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6 Tips To Prepare Us For Future Opportunities

6 Tips To Prepare Us For Future Opportunities

Unique personal opportunities for career and personal advancement, in fields that we are interested in, are all around us.  Sometimes they don’t manifest as quickly as we would like.  However, we shouldn’t get discouraged, because there are some very specific things that we can do to prepare ourselves for future opportunities, and when they manifest, because of our preparation, we will be ready to provide immediate and significant value.

This article will give six tips that we can do right now to prepare ourselves for future opportunities. Even if we aren’t working in our dream job or business right now, if we do these things, opportunities will come into our life.  What we do after that is up to us.

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1. Stay informed about developments in our field.

We should stay informed about what’s going on in our field.  What are the trends?  Where are the opportunities right now? In a year? In five years? Developments will inform our education and networking efforts; however, if we aren’t aware of what is going on, then we may miss out on opportunities that will manifest for those people who are in the right place at the right time.  We can be that person by staying apprised of what is going on in the industry.

2. Build our platform / portfolio.

There are things that we can do right now in our chosen field to build our platform or portfolio, even if we think we aren’t working in our ideal setting.  Look for writing and speaking opportunities. Start a blog and create a meaningful contribution to the advancement of our field. Get involved with organizations, and research any volunteer or mentoring opportunities.  The more we do, the more that opportunities are likely to come our way.

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3. Make learning a habit.

Embrace the opportunity that we have right now to educate ourself in our field.  Make learning a habit. Schedule time for it daily, and stick to our plan.  How bad we want this opportunity will determine the priority that we place on our self-directed education.  Do we want it badly enough to forsake our regularly scheduled TV session tonight? The more we educate, the better prepared we will be to immediately contribute when we have the chance.

4. Establish positive relationships with people in our field

Network, network, network, but do it in an intelligent way.  Look to add value to people.  Find ways that we can be a benefit to those who we are looking to associate with.  People always make time for those who can add value in their life.  Be one of those types of people.  This is where having some form of positive contribution (like writing or blogging) can be a value entry into a new relationship.

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5.  Determine how we are going to create value

Ask ourself this question:  how I am going to create real value for others in my chosen field?  Take time to answer this question thoroughly.  Make a plan to create the value, and then begin at once to execute our plan.  The more value that we can create for others in our chosen field, the more successful we will be in our field, and the more opportunities that will continually come our way.

6.  Place ourselves where our heart wants to be.

We should consistently show up, that is, place ourselves, where our heart wants to be.  We say we want to be a writer?  Well, where is our writing?  Where is our book?  Where is our blog?  We don’t need someone’s permission to write; we simply need to write.  We say we want to be a business person?  Well, where is our business?  We don’t need someone’s permission to start a business; we just have to do it.  Are we interested in working in finance, in public relations, in healthcare, in a particular industry sector?  Then are we attending the important conferences and networking events in these areas?  Have we received the education that we need to actually contribute value in these areas? If not, why not?  If we truly want something, we will place ourselves where our heart wants to be.

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Ryan Clements

A lawyer turned marketing professional, entrepreneur and writer who writes about entrepreneurship, career and personal development.

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Last Updated on July 10, 2020

The Power of Ritual: Conquer Procrastination, Time Wasters and Laziness

The Power of Ritual: Conquer Procrastination, Time Wasters and Laziness

Life is wasted in the in-between times. The time between when your alarm first rings and when you finally decide to get out of bed. The time between when you sit at your desk and when productive work begins. The time between making a decision and doing something about it.

Slowly, your day is whittled away from all the unused in-between moments. Eventually, time wasters, laziness, and procrastination get the better of you.

The solution to reclaim these lost middle moments is by creating rituals. Every culture on earth uses rituals to transfer information and encode behaviors that are deemed important. Personal rituals can help you build a better pattern for handling everything from how you wake up to how you work.

Unfortunately, when most people see rituals, they see pointless superstitions. Indeed, many rituals are based on a primitive understanding of the world. But by building personal rituals, you get to encode the behaviors you feel are important and cut out the wasted middle moments.

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Program Your Own Algorithms

Another way of viewing rituals is by seeing them as computer algorithms. An algorithm is a set of instructions that is repeated to get a result.

Some algorithms are highly efficient, sorting or searching millions of pieces of data in a few seconds. Other algorithms are bulky and awkward, taking hours to do the same task.

By forming rituals, you are building algorithms for your behavior. Take the delayed and painful pattern of waking up, debating whether to sleep in for another two minutes, hitting the snooze button, repeat until almost late for work. This could be reprogrammed to get out of bed immediately, without debating your decision.

How to Form a Ritual

I’ve set up personal rituals for myself for handling e-mail, waking up each morning, writing articles, and reading books. Far from making me inflexible, these rituals give me a useful default pattern that works best 99% of the time. Whenever my current ritual won’t work, I’m always free to stop using it.

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Forming a ritual isn’t too difficult, and the same principles for changing habits apply:

  1. Write out your sequence of behavior. I suggest starting with a simple ritual of only 3-4 steps maximum. Wait until you’ve established a ritual before you try to add new steps.
  2. Commit to following your ritual for thirty days. This step will take the idea and condition it into your nervous system as a habit.
  3. Define a clear trigger. When does your ritual start? A ritual to wake up is easy—the sound of your alarm clock will work. As for what triggers you to go to the gym, read a book or answer e-mail—you’ll have to decide.
  4. Tweak the Pattern. Your algorithm probably won’t be perfectly efficient the first time. Making a few tweaks after the first 30-day trial can make your ritual more useful.

Ways to Use a Ritual

Based on the above ideas, here are some ways you could implement your own rituals:

1. Waking Up

Set up a morning ritual for when you wake up and the next few things you do immediately afterward. To combat the grogginess after immediately waking up, my solution is to do a few pushups right after getting out of bed. After that, I sneak in ninety minutes of reading before getting ready for morning classes.

2. Web Usage

How often do you answer e-mail, look at Google Reader, or check Facebook each day? I found by taking all my daily internet needs and compressing them into one, highly-efficient ritual, I was able to cut off 75% of my web time without losing any communication.

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3. Reading

How much time do you get to read books? If your library isn’t as large as you’d like, you might want to consider the rituals you use for reading. Programming a few steps to trigger yourself to read instead of watching television or during a break in your day can chew through dozens of books each year.

4. Friendliness

Rituals can also help with communication. Set up a ritual of starting a conversation when you have opportunities to meet people.

5. Working

One of the hardest barriers when overcoming procrastination is building up a concentrated flow. Building those steps into a ritual can allow you to quickly start working or continue working after an interruption.

6. Going to the gym

If exercising is a struggle, encoding a ritual can remove a lot of the difficulty. Set up a quick ritual for going to exercise right after work or when you wake up.

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7. Exercise

Even within your workouts, you can have rituals. Spacing the time between runs or reps with a certain number of breaths can remove the guesswork. Forming a ritual of doing certain exercises in a particular order can save time.

8. Sleeping

Form a calming ritual in the last 30-60 minutes of your day before you go to bed. This will help slow yourself down and make falling asleep much easier. Especially if you plan to get up full of energy in the morning, it will help if you remove insomnia.

8. Weekly Reviews

The weekly review is a big part of the GTD system. By making a simple ritual checklist for my weekly review, I can get the most out of this exercise in less time. Originally, I did holistic reviews where I wrote my thoughts on the week and progress as a whole. Now, I narrow my focus toward specific plans, ideas, and measurements.

Final Thoughts

We all want to be productive. But time wasters, procrastination, and laziness sometimes get the better of us. If you’re facing such difficulties, don’t be afraid to make use of these rituals to help you conquer them.

More Tips to Conquer Time Wasters and Procrastination

 

Featured photo credit: RODOLFO BARRETO via unsplash.com

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