I was aiming for one post a month and it's become two already- must be on a roll! *pats self on back*
It will become quite clear the more posts you read- that I don't really write with a plan. So even though I planned to write about rewarding yourself and celebrating small victories this is much more important than we might think. As children we form our understanding of right and wrong through positive and negative reinforcement. Even into adulthood we adhere to a similar reward system incentivising us with either the academic accolades, a salary, a fat pension, paid holidays and other perks.
^Having said all that, this post aims to keep you motivated by looking at the importance of thinking longterm and gives tips on becoming more efficient with our time.
It’s important to keep promises- even to yourself- this is how trust, motivation and loyalty is built and maintained.
Why do people work for themselves? Because they hate being told what to do? Do they struggle with authority? Want more money- financial freedom? Whatever perks you get through structured employment- you need to be able to give to yourself- if not better.
I’ve already talked about celebrating the small victories the #clapyourdamnself mentality, no one's going to sit down with you and do a PDR (Performance Development Review- kind of like parents evening but for your working life). So continually assess yourself and invest in yourself, find your skills gaps, see if you can do with more training- and if you can’t spare the time or it is so against your own character and skills set, start creating a budget to get these things done by a pro. Save you both headache and time trying to be something you’re not.
Hold yourself to account, the success and failure of anything lies with you- be it your studies, your work or your business. Successful people accept responsibility instead of passing on the blame. When things go wrong- we do one of three things- blame, deny or accept. The first two don't help you in any way, you waste time and generate more negativity. If you accept it's gone wrong or not as well as you were hoping you start looking for solutions instead. You get up and get on with it. ACCEPT it quicker, MOVE ON quicker. The key is to keep moving. Dwelling on a problem doesn't make it go away, staring at a leak in the ceiling and watching the bucket fill doesn't deal with the fact the ceiling is become more structurally unsound by the minute.
Knowing yourself and Disciplining yourself
Look up the Marshmallow Studies [Walter Mischel] on Delayed Gratification (Daniel Goleman). In short the study is on testing your desire for 'Instant Gratification' which is what this generation is constantly leaning towards, through technology and continual improvement in the service sector, you can order something on Amazon right now and have it in your hands in less than an hour! Some can blame society for encouraging this.
In the study, Mischel gives the children participating a choice; you can have one marshmallow now (placed in front of them) or if you wait till I get back, I'll give you two. Some ate the marshmallow as soon as he left the room, others toyed with it painfully, and those who left it alone were rewarded with two. This is also a test of trust- that he will keep his word and deliver, but also a test of patience to allow things to grow/develop. This can easily be applied in adult life- not touching your savings account/ investments. Suffering through a strict diet for better results later, quitting smoking, not opening the oven before the cake is done. Self-declipline and motivating yourself to soldier through whatever the task and remind yourself of the end goal. The study checked in on these children throughout their lives and the results are really quite astonishing. I highly recommend you read it for yourself, the findings revealed that those who managed to master delayed gratification had increased marital success, better careers (higher income) and health. And those that preferred instant gratification were more likely to commit crimes, have poor relationships (would be more inclined to cheating, avoid commitment) and neglected their health through bad habits- be it food choices, drugs or exercise. Cheerful stuff right?
Let's really look at ourselves and see our weaknesses, change bad habits and introduce new ones! Do it with a friend, hold yourself and each other to account. It's pretty much why I started the #StartUpDiaries to hold myself to account and make sure I put more into my business, make better use of my time. (I'm currently on my day off- using my annual leave to schedule in regular 'Me days' to work on the business.)
Also don't worry if you are the impulsive type there are also ways to train yourself to become better at learning to delay your gratification- google it!
1. Eliminate distractions
To make real progress, we already spoke about disciplining yourself. Procrastination is a killer- we waste time and get distracted. What are your weaknesses- is it social media? It's time for a cull, in friends, in pages, in movements that aren't enriching your life, making you want to be a better person or educating you. Start with looking at those you follow- look at your feed, what do you spend too long starting at but offers you no value? Also what/who do you always scroll straight past on your feed/timeline?
Unfollow - do it, do it now! Like I said it's not gonna kill anyone except your time.
-People that make you feel bad
-No substance ‘click bait’
Memes - We all love a good laugh, but one meme leads to another and before you know it you've spent over 30mins reading memes- the comments, passing it on to friends, googling the ones you don't understand (don't lie we've all done it) don't be the fool that's wasted that time and data, because at the end of the day- the joke's on you.
2. Make time
If you want to get things done you need to make time. We all have the same 7 days and 24 hours, its how we use them that counts. We will without fail make time for the things that matter. Get organised! Get a diary, make lists that work towards your goals- give yourself a deadline- voila! You have a plan. There is some science behind the list makers and the buzz we get from crossing something off, the satisfaction of completing a task gives us a small high.
Find the times that you are most productive and ring fence it, block it out and protect it. This is where YOU TIME goes whether you're going to spend it catching up on reading, writing, an online course, research. Whatever it is that needs doing (and do not mix this up with general life errands) do something that contributes to your happiness and wellbeing. Call it 'self-love' meditation, a new exercise class whatever it is, make it matter and make time for it.
Having a routine is also an important factor to this, set yourself a good sleep time and get up at a reasonable time too- being your own boss shouldn't mean you do what you want whenever you want 'I'll start work at 2pm if I feel like it 'cos I can' If this is YOUR business, YOUR dreams, why aren't you working TWICE as hard for it than the job you dislike or isn't leading to your long term goals? Again going back to the PDR, all these things you are accomplishing for the organisation you're a part of, how about approaching your own development the same way? It may not be recognised by senior management and peers, but it will make an impact on you, your customers / followers whoever your working on this for. Don't give up you never know who you're inspiring.
3. Say no
Did you know saying 'yes' to others is saying 'no' to yourself? Really think about that. this is something someone said to me a while back, and it really hit me because it's true, for those of us who have a 'givers mentality' always helping others we push our own needs further down the to do list. We only get done the basics of life- self care, the house chores, work etc. Living is about all the frilly bits in between, down time that we often neglect can lead to burn out and poor mental health. So say 'no' more, it's not going to kill anyone, take care of yourself and do things that feed your soul and make you happy. Another point I'll add to that is- don't be afraid to do it alone! We won't always find someone to do things with, be it because we differ in interests, the times don't suit (and the older you get this will be a common reason with work, life and family commitments) the cost- something we see value in and are happy to spend ££/£££ on, won't be the case for your friend, so do it anyway- even if you have to do it alone. The only person missing out is you.
Once you have developed the mindset that your time is precious and you are the master of your time things will start falling into place, your lists will get shorter because now you are not finding the time to get things done but MAKING the time because you value yourself and your goals. If you won't believe and commit to your business / goals / vision- why should anyone else?
I hope you enjoyed this post- hopefully it wasn't too long (I did warn you I'm a talker) إِنْ شَاءَ ٱللَٰه the next post will be on goal setting :)