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

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

    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.

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    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.

    Program Your Own Algorithms

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    Another way of viewing rituals is by seeing them like 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.

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    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 follow 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 thirty 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 afterwards. To combat the grogginess after immediately waking up, my solution was to do a few pushups right after getting out of bed. After that, I decided to 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 of 75% of my web time without losing any communication.
    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 in 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.
    7. Exercise. Even within your workout 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 a 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 the insomnia.
    9. 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 towards specific plans, ideas and measurements.

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    Scott H Young

    Scott is obsessed with personal development. For the last ten years, he's been experimenting to find out how to learn and think better.

    15 Ways to Cultivate Continuous Learning for a Sharper Brain 22 Tips for Effective Deadlines How to Motivate Yourself: 13 Simple Ways You Can Try Right Now 18 Tricks to Make New Habits Stick 18 Tips for Killer Presentations

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    Last Updated on June 25, 2019

    A Dull Resume Can Kill Your Job Chances, Here’s How You Can Write an Appealing One

    A Dull Resume Can Kill Your Job Chances, Here’s How You Can Write an Appealing One

    Fun fact: Recruiters take only 6 seconds to view a resume, according to The Ladders[1]. In other words, to further show how you’re a strong candidate of your dream job, first you can’t fail to impress the recruiters with your resume in 6 seconds. So, think twice before you insert a dense block of words. Leave aside any irrelevant visuals. Still confused? Here, we will show you what to do to stand out from your competitors.

    We Think It’s Good to Write Our Resumes in These Ways (But Actually It’s Not…)

    The More, The Better

    It is common for us to think the best way to impress the recruiters is listing all our accomplishments in life. So we select the narrowest margin and the smallest font size. We just try every possible way to put everything about ourselves in our resumes. Well, it may sound bit dramatic but the fact is more doesn’t mean better.

    As suggested by J.T. O’Donnell, author of the book Careerealism: The Smart Approach to a Satisfying Career, it is an EPIC FAIL to get everything to fit on one page.

    Myth of “Reference Upon Request”

    We should sound polite and humble in the resume and we are well aware of it. That’s why most of us put “Reference upon request” in our resumes. But if the employers are curious about your references, they will look for them themselves. To be frank, it is a waste of space to put these words at the very end.

    Irrelevant Working Experience

    Just imagine you’re now applying for the post of auditor and under “Working Experience” you write “Employee of the Month at Cafe ABC”. Will this earn bonus marks for you? Not really.

    While we think the recruiters would favour the candidates with more working experience, from their perspective, they may wonder if you’re creating a general template for the application of different kinds of jobs, and even question your sincerity and ability.

    Never Underestimate the Power of Your One-Page Resume

    Resumes determine your chance to be selected for interviews. There are a number of qualities employers are looking at in your resume. Education Background. Working Experience. Achievements. But what do all these mean to them?

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    Introduce you a key term: Employability. Employability is more than ability, competence and skills. And your resume reflects your employability.

    It’s not a rare case that when two people with highly similar qualifications apply for a position, only one of them is selected to attend the interview. It’s how they present their qualification in their resumes that makes the difference!

    A well-written resume can let the employers know you are the one they are looking for, rather than you are just one of the hundreds qualified for the job.

    Resume demonstrates your written and presentation skills. Whether you can describe yourselves in a concise, organised yet impressive way can tell a lot more than the qualifications you have. This is part of what an employer will look at, and you may not even notice that.

    6 Elements that Form the Killer Formula of Your Resume

    1. Quantify Your Achievements

    How? Describe your achievements in numbers, instead of words. And it’s not about how many points you include, but how the numbers reflect your contribution in your previous jobs.

    Why? Only you know how much you achieve in your previous jobs. It’s difficult for recruiters to find it themselves. Thus, do them a favour by providing the figures and numbers that quantify your previous achievements. This is definitely better than recounting the job responsibilities of your previous jobs.

    Example Mention the exact number of participants in the event your held. Or the amount of money involved in the campaign. If you are applying for a marketing position, talk about the view count of the project instead of vague and general expressions like “excellent reception”.

    2. Properly Use the Magical Buzzwords

    How? You can actually do a little trick to impress your employer by the use of buzz words. Do a short research in advance before submitting your resume.

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    Check out the words that appear the most in the company’s description, vision or mission. And then use these words to replace the stock phrases in your resume.

    Why? Ever heard of like-attracts-like theory[2]? Using words that they like to use can greatly arouse their interest on you as they think you share similar beliefs with them. Although you only change a few words on your resume, your odds of getting an interview may increase a lot.

    Example Understand the company’s values and include similar ideas in your self-description to show you’re a potential best fit for the organization.

    Besides, buzzword techniques can be used in different fields. While applying for a marketing position, use field-specific words like “marketed” and “promoted” to demonstrate your marketing sense.

    There are always words that are specifically used in certain fields. Playing a tiny word game may win you a ticket to the interview!

    3. Associate Yourself with Big Names

    How? If, by any chance, you have collaborated with any big brands (even with the slightest connection), put those names on your resume!

    Why? It’s the power of authority. Your credibility and competence are immediately boosted when you are connected with a big name.

    According to Cialdini’s principles of persuasion[3], people respect authority and would follow their lead. Associating yourself with big names can work as a proof of your capability.

    Example Is any client of your campaign a world-renowned brand? Is the sponsor of your scholarship a big name? Is your publication featured in any popular media? If your answer to any of these questions is yes, don’t hesitate to put the names on your resume. You won’t believe how much it helps to boost your credibility.

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    4. Provide Description of Where You Worked Before

    How? Sometimes, the recruiters may be unfamiliar with your old companies. Why don’t you offer a helping hand instead of having them look for the information themselves? Write a neat and concise description of your previous companies and spare the work for the recruiters.

    Why? The title “Manager” can mean a lot differently in a large company and a small one. Employers are curious about the nature of your previous companies to know more about your working background and the work you were involved. Besides, it shows you are detail-minded and consider the needs of the readers of your resume.

    Example Simply go to the “About Us” of the home page of your previous workplace and rephrase one or two lines from it. This will do the work.

    5. Use Bullet-point Instead of Text Blocks

    How? List your job duties in points instead of in paragraphs. Moreover, it is also nice to limit your number of points to 2-5. Only keep the important and relevant information on your resume.

    Why? Still remember the 6-second rule? Within this limited period of time, it is impossible for the recruiters to grasp the gist of your resume from your sea of words. Making your resume too wordy actually affects its readability.

    Example

    WRONG – “I worked as the Public Relations Manager at Company ABC during the period X Aug 20XX to X Mar 20XX. I was responsible for handling public correspondences. I was involved in a campaign in collaboration with the …”

    GOOD – “Public Relations Manager, Company ABC X Aug 20XX – X Mar 20XX

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    – Handling public correspondences

    – Involved in a campaign in collaboration with the …”

    6. Make Use of Space and Formatting to Draw Attention

    How? There is always something you want the recruiters to focus more. A carefully planned layout can draw their attention to the points you want to highlight. Leave some space around the important points.

    Why? We all know recruiters won’t spend much time on reading a resume. And they may feel numb after reading hundreds of similar resumes. So keep yours pleasant to read and feed the recruiters with the most valuable information. Don’t waste their time and they will reward you with what you deserve.

    Example Prioritise information based on their relevance and noteworthiness. Leave the less crucial and conspicuous information at the later part of your resume. Proper formatting can also help highlight the important points. It can be done by italicising or bolding certain words. Did you pay more attention to the words with formatting in this article? Apply the techniques in your resume and see how they work then.

    Nice Resume Examples

    Lastly, we’ve prepared some good resume templates for you to follow. If you are struggling hard to begin, it may be the ideal place for you.

      Credits to: AGCareers

      • Note the use of quantification of achievements and bullet-points.

        Credits: BusinessInsider

        Reference

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