Thursday, 12 January 2012

4 Reasons To Make A To Do List

Making a To-Do-List is often considered one of the most basic principles of Time Management. I am sure you must have also tried doing it a number of times, but probably gave up in a few days' time. Let me tell you why should you make and follow your To-Do-List. Perhaps these reasons shall motivate you to religiously start following a To Do.

Sense of Satisfaction and Achievement.
Do you remember that feeling you got when you managed to accomplish a particularly difficult goal you had set for yourself - when you did well in a difficult examination, or when you successfully completed a client's project, or when for the first time you exceeded the expectations of your peers and superiors? Remember that sense of exhilaration, contentment and jubilation?
Crossing out every item on your To Do at the end of the day gives one a similar feeling.
Now, you might ask how can one get the same feel of achievement by just doing 4-5 tasks in a day. Well, as you have already found out by your own experience, following a To Do is not as simple as just doing 4-5 tasks a day.
Regularly following a To Do makes you feel that you achieved something worthwhile during the day. And don't we all aspire to accomplish and achieve in live? Go get your daily dose of achievement through your To Do.

You Don't Have To Remember Things.
I always find myself being able to concentrate better on my work when my mind is untroubled by other issues. When you have made a To Do in the beginning of your day, you do not have to worry about forgetting any tasks. You need not ask yourself in the middle of the day - "Okay. Now what else did I have to do today?". Your To Do keeps track of your tasks and lets you concentrate on your tasks only. Thus your To Do is actually reducing your burden by ensuring that you do not forgot anything.

Keeps Your Life On Track.
A To Do does not only mean a daily To Do List. We have other To Do Lists like the Weekly To Do and the Monthly To Do List. Once you make a Weekly or Monthly To Do, you always have the big picture in mind. You can plan your Daily To Do in such a way that ensures that you keep in line with your bigger plans. You can now be the pilot of your own life.
Let's take an example:
You have set a target this week to renovate your room.
Now your daily To Do List should look something like this.
Day 1 - Clean room and throw away all trash.
Day 3 - Paint your room with a new color.
Day 5 - Buy new posters, paintings or furniture for your room.
Day 7 - Enjoy your new room.
"Take care of the minutes and the hours will take care of themselves."

First Step Of Planning.
It looks simple; it sounds simple; but we all know it is not that simple. A To Do is one of the first steps to disciplining yourself. It lets you set out on your day with a planned approach and makes you work according to the plan.
Successful men are not just aware of their goals but also know what route to take to reach their goal. Your To Do is a road map that shall take you to your destination. Without a map you shall find it very difficult to reach your destination. Map your path to success with a To Do.

Hope you find more reason now to stick to your To Do for a longer period of time.

Saturday, 7 January 2012

9 Goals You Should Set In Life

People spend years looking for their aim in life. Often decades pass before man finds his reason to live. Make sure you find your reasons to live before its too late.

All successful people from all walks of life - sports, music, movies, politics, business - have had goals they fought and struggled for. To be successful, you must first find your goal.

Here I have listed down nine goals which every man should set for himself.

Career Goal
Set yourself clear career goals. What position do you wish to rise to in 5 years? How large do you want your company to become? How much annual turnover do you wish to see? Which projects do you want to specifically handle? What responsibilities you want to take up? Profits? Salary? etc. Answers to these questions shall help you set your career goals.

Family and Relationship
Do you want to get married? Do you want to start a family? When do wish to take your relationship to the next level? These are very important and delicate issues. You want to spend a good amount of time thinking about it before you decide upon family and relationship goals. Often we tend to not think too much about these issues and just let them go on the way they are, but its time to take control of these very important matters of your life.

Hobby and Art
Do you have any artistic interest you wish to pursue one day? Do you want to learn to play an instrument or learn a foreign language or even develop a new hobby like gardening or photography? Do you want to revive your childhood hobby?

Financial Assets Goal
Savings and investments are a very important part of a stable financial life. Set yourself a target of how much do you want to accumulate by the end of say, 10 years. Always wanted to invest in real estate or gold? Set yourself a detailed and specific target to build a comfortable financial reservoir you can fall back upon in case of emergencies.

How much more do you wish to learn through the formal education system? Plans of further studies or any other additional courses that you might wish to pursue fall under this category.

Something that you have been wanting to do for a long time - something that will make you chill out and have fun. Is it the childhood dream of visiting Disneyland which has not yet been fulfilled? Trip to Vegas or a stay at an exotic island with your partner? Could even be any particular sport/activity you have been dying to try out (deep sea diving and bungee jumping - personal favorite). Set yourself a timeline and plan in advance as unfortunately, these pleasures of life are often the hardest to come by.

Not being able to kick the butt after years of futile attempts? Set yourself a time-bound goal. Is it the childhood habit of biting nails or picking your nose that you wish to get rid of? Set goals to remove these attributes which decay and spoil your personality. Or do you want to inculcate good habits like getting up early or reading novels - set yourself goals for the same.

Attitude and Mindset
Is there something you want to change about your mindset? Change a part of you that you despise - could be your introvert nature, or the impulse to jump to conclusions, or something to do with improving your self-confidence. These soft goals are sometimes far more important and critical than the hard goals of professional success and wealth.

Goals of Others
Sometimes the goals of another person become our own goals too. A father may wish to fulfill his son's dream of studying in a good university. A husband may wish to fulfill his wife's wish of once acting in  a theater. A son may want to fulfill his old father's wish of visiting his long-forgotten homeland. Sometimes, the goals of our loved ones become our own - do not forget to take this into account when you sit down to set your life goals.

So sit down, write down your goals and start working towards them...

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

5 Steps To Get Maximum Out Of Your To-Do-List

On six different occasions within last three years, I promised myself that I will make and follow my To-Do religiously. Every single time I started off spectacularly, accomplishing most of what I wrote down in my list. But every single time, this newly-found efficiency of mine lasted only a handful of days. Repeated mistakes and reflections on these mistakes taught me my lessons and I came up with 5 ways to ensure that I get the maximum out of my daily To-Do-List.

1. Prioritizing
A big roadblock in the way of getting more out of your To-Do-List is the failure to Prioritize tasks. Its good to write down your daily list of tasks but its equally important to prioritize these tasks in order of importance.
You may prioritize tasks through 'A' to 'D' - with 'A' being most important and 'D' being the least or unimportant task (or you could use numbers). Start by doing the 'A' tasks first, then get on to 'B', then 'C' and finally 'D'.

2. Referring to the List
A To-Do-List is prepared to get all your tasks together in one place so that you do not forgot or leave out any task. Its useless preparing a To-Do if you going to forget about it after making it. Refer to your list atleast two-three times in the day to cross out completed tasks and see which ones remain to be done.
It is also important to add to your list as more tasks come up during the day. Prioritize these new tasks as well else you may end up spending more time on relatively unimportant tasks and struggle with the important ones later.

3. Deadlining
A goal without a time frame is doomed to remain just a dream. Every task must have a time limit. Assign time limit to your tasks along with priorities when you are preparing your To-Do and try to adhere to them. While crossing out each task, also mention the time you took to complete the task so that you may realize which tasks took the bulk of your time. At the end of the day it will be easy for you to analyze your To-Do and see which tasks took more time than they ought to have.

4. Softwares
Lately, To-Do softwares have been in vogue. Many To-Do softwares are available free or at little cost which let you not just write down your tasks for the day but also tell you which tasks are overdue, or going to be overdue or which tasks have you been putting off for some time now. A great advantage of these softwares is that you can sync then with your phone or email account. You may lose your To-Do-List if made on pieces of paper, but you will not lose these softwares. These softwares are convenient to use as it very easy and hassle-free to rewrite, delete, carry forward etc. You may use softwares like Todoist, Ta-Da List, Remember the Milk.

5. Supplementing To-Do-List
This is a technique I use that further increases the productivity of my To-Dos. I use alarms and reminder notes in my cell phone to remind me of tasks to be done at a particular time. For eg, if a client has asked me to call him up at 4 pm, I not only write it down on my To-Do-List but also put a reminder alarm on my cell phone which  goes off at 4 pm and ensures that I do not forget to call even if I might be busy doing other work.

Good luck!

Saturday, 31 December 2011

4 Time Management Myths Busted

Time Management is an often misunderstood concept. People form their own prejudices about it without knowing the facts. Here is an attempt to set straight some common misconceptions. 

#1 You can manage time.
Time will keep flowing the way it has been for millennia – unstoppable and consistent. Only if you create a Time Machine (don’t we all wish we had one!) will you be able to manage time. You have to manage yourself, not time. Time Management actually means Self-management. Period.

#2 Sleeping less and spending lesser time on leisure is effective time management.
When you have work overload, you tend to cut down on your sleep and leisure time in order to finish your work. Though sometimes we have no other option but to do so, this is NOT time management. Time Management involves cutting down on idle and unproductive time; sleeping and refreshing yourself can by no stretch of imagination be called unproductive. In fact, one of the benefits of effective Time management is that you have a lot of free time to do things that you love to do. Spending sleepless nights is just a sign of poor Time Management.

#3 Routines and schedules are a must for Time Management.
Most people believe that Time Management means strictly following routines, schedules and appointments. Bull crap! You can be good at Time Management without these things as well.
A major portion of time management requires improving productivity, cutting down on unproductive activities and meeting deadlines. This can be done without following rigorous drills, routines and schedules.

#4 A busy man is good at Time Management.
A man who is constantly running around doing one thing after another may look busy but he probably sucks at Time Management. A man who appears busy, appears so because he is under stress and frantically going around trying to finish his work. A man who is good at Time Management generally does his work without being panic-stricken and does not give the impression of being terribly busy.

Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Effective Goal Setting

Success is often measured by the attainment of goals. Goals are the targets you set. It is something you work very hard for, something for which you give up your money, sleep, comforts, and even health. Which is why is it vitally important that before you start sacrificing for your goals, you make sure that your have set your goals properly.
Read on to know more about how to go about it.

Why set goals?
Goals are our destinations. Whenever you set out on any journey, you must know what your destination is. You must know where you want to reach. The goal or the destination is more important than the path taken itself. If you don't know your destination, you will have no idea which path to take, but if you are aware of your destination you can always find paths to reach there.
A goal gives your life meaning, it gives your life a purpose, an end to strive for. Without goals a man is a like rudderless boat which will eventually capsize in the violent storms of life. Goals make you use your talents and develop newer talents. And most importantly, goals give you a sense of achievement! 

How to set goals?
Here are few tips that will help you.

The Big Picture
To set goals, you must begin with the big picture in mind. Imagine yourself 15 or 20 years down the line. Where you would you ideally like to see yourself? What things/people would you want with you? What do you want accomplished? You can read my article 9 Goals You Should Set In Life for more knowledge on the different types of goals.
After looking at big picture, break it down into smaller goals that will help you reach your ultimate goals.

Realistic Goals
Set achievable goals. If you set over-ambitious goals, there is a great chance that you may not be able to reach them and remember, nothing discourages a person more than the inability to reach his own goals. Setting low goals will not force you to stretch yourself, therefore it shall not let you realize your true potential.
One way to get out of this catch 22 situation is to set goals at two levels.

  • Set one at a conservative level - a level, the attainment of which shall make you moderately happy and well-off. Let's call this level the 'Rational Level'. 
  • Set level two at a higher, more ambitious level. Let this be the position dreams are made of. This is the place where you shall be at the crescendo of happiness and success. Call this 'Level Zenith'.

This way, even if you do not achieve your highest ambitions, you will atleast be satisfied if you attain the Rational Level. The key here is to first reach the Rational Level and then strive for Level Zenith and not start with aims of reaching Level Zenith; that would just intimidate and discourage you.

More coming up on Goals Setting and achieving! Keep watching this space.

Monday, 26 December 2011

25 Ways To Waste Time

I have listed down 25 ways through which we go around wasting our time. There are many more. 
1.     Thinking of "If" Situations - We often waste time wondering,"If only I had got that promotion", "If only I had made the right investment that time" etc. Reality has no place for "If only"s and "What if"s; the earlier you understand this, the better. 
2.     Browsing Social Networking Sites/YouTube etc.
3.     Sleeping - a normal man can live with 6 hours of sleep. But, often we find it impossible to get out of our cozy, warm bed.
4.     Going ahead without prior planning. You are bound to hit unexpected roadblocks and will have to start again from scratch.
5.     Watching Inspirational Movies/ Videos and feeling motivated for a day but going back to being your normal lazy self the next day.
6.     Trying to save money - for eg. taking the bus, while hiring a cab would have saved a lot of time (though, sometimes we have no option).
7.     PlayStation/ X Box/ Computer Games - I don't know many who have become rich or successful by playing Counter Strike and FIFA.
8.     Checking your email 10 times a day. Its becomes a form of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) for some people.
9.     Thinking about decisionsShould I? Shouldn't I? After a period of time we just keep repeating the same thoughts in our mind without adding any value to the thought process.
10. Thinking about past conversations/arguments - what you should have said/done instead of what you did. WAKE UP! Its over! You can't change what you have already said now. Move on.
11. Choosing what dress to wear and getting ready - ladies, you are the famous culprits here.
12. Working without giving in your best - to know more about the same, click here.
13. Watching Television Series and Movies.
14. Bitching - it might make you feel a little better, but it only ruins your reputation and serves no real purpose.
15. Browsing unnecessary websites while searching/researching for something else.
16. Adult websites.
17. Forcing yourself to fall asleep - specially when you are nervous, anxious or excited. Sometimes its better to realize that sleep ain't gonna come to you anytime soon.
18. Getting up late and therefore being forced to commute during rush hours. A twenty minute journey might take one and a half hours.
19. Chatting through SMS while working - you do not pay complete attention to your task and end up not doing it properly.
20. Watching Television - the Idiot Box has become a master instead of slave.
21. Window shopping.
22. Not sleeping properly at night and having a sluggish and drowsy day - makes your day totally unproductive.
23. Watching repeats telecast/ highlights of matches/soaps/serials already seen.
24. Being dishonest to self - telling yourself that you will do it tomorrow, but not doing it.
25. Envying others - you can't control what happens in someone else's life. You can just take care of your own.