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“Time flies…but the good news is, you’re the pilot” – Michael Altshuler.
Does anyone else feel like this year is whizzing by, faster than you can even imagine? Motivational coach Michael Altshuler definitely has the right idea – we are in charge of more than we think. Of course, I don’t mean to suggest that we can control everything – but in general, we are the pilots of our destiny, in my view.
Sometimes, it seems impossible to slow time down and focus on our goals. So, today’s post is a quick run-through of my best tips on how to do exactly that, especially when you feel like you can’t avoid procrastinating!
When Time Flies: How To Find Direction In Your Life
So, maybe you want to be one of those people who does what they love for a living, but aren’t quite sure how? Or, even worse – you love what you do, but you’re not sure how to rise to the next level? How do those wonderful-rising stars of the day actually get where they are?
Well, I can assure you that most of them struggle. They’re not all child prodigies, and they aren’t simply born knowing what to do. In fact, even though I’ve always known what I love – writing – it took me quite a few career changes to discover that that’s one of the main tasks I should really be doing.
Here are my 2 main tips for finding direction:
1. Go looking for inspiration
Yes, I said it. Inspiration doesn’t always just hit you! Remember, if time flies, you want to be the pilot. You have to look for inspiration. Think about where you’d really love to be – and then go digging around the internet, in your social networks (online and in person!). Who are these people? What are their stories?
You can sometimes come across inspiring articles about successful people, like this great one about 5 Millionaire Millenials I read this morning. Don’t let them escape your focus! If you want that, clip the article, bookmark the page, or even print it and put it on your vision board. Keep the inspiration alive!
2. Remember Your Childhood Passions
So, I’m not sure if this is everyone’s best plan, but it definitely worked for me. Pause for a moment and really think. What did you love to do as a child, and why?
Here’s the list I came up with for myself, way back when I was still in the corporate world, to give you an idea:
- Writing, writing, writing –
- Learning languages
- Studying/ Research
- Playing the Piano
- Drawing – well, more like colouring, scribbling in notebooks, and being creative
So, I remember asking myself, what the heck was I doing in pricing and product management? Sure, I liked being creative, and I did enjoy creative marketing. However, my job at the time was less and less of that, and more and more of “whatever they felt like” could be stuck under marketing, including a lot of technical/IT work I hadn’t signed up for long-term, and definitely didn’t want to do.
Along with inspiration I’d found in others, and a few personal situations that made me realize that life is way too short, my list of childhood passions definitely helped me define what I wanted to do with my life.
4 Top Tips for Time Management
Now, we’re all guilty of procrastination,even if we’re doing work we like. Sometimes, we have to complete work that’s not always our favourite type.
De-motivated and pressed for time? Sounds like a tricky combination, right?
Here are 4 ways to deal:
1. Find A Scheduler That Works For You
Now, I know not everyone is as Google Calendar crazy as me, or some of my other Type A friends. Personally, I also like using Trello for some parts of my life, like this blog 😉 If you haven’t seen my post on using Google Calendar effectively, give it a read.
2. Create A Reward System That Works For You
Notice a pattern here? I know I’ve talked a lot about “Accountability Buddies” in my previous posts, but a good friend recently pointed me in the direction of personality research. Whether or not having someone else counting on you, breathing down your neck, or checking up on you – all depends on you!
While I will be reading a couple books recommended to me, and getting back to you on that, that’s all I can say for now. So, figure out what motivates you: external pressure, a reward, treating yourself, checking in with someone on a regular basis.
3. Try Blocking Distractions With An App or Timer
I’m pretty sure you’ve heard of the Pomodoro Method, right? It’s named after one of those tomato shaped egg timers that may be lying somewhere in your kitchen. You set it for 45 minutes (or less, or more, depending on who you ask). Then, you are only allowed to focus on the task at hand with all distractions shut off until the timer goes off.
There are apps like Forest which visually “grows a tree” on your phone for the time during which you don’t look at it. I can’t say I love these methods, but if it stops you from touching your phone while you work, why not?
4. Slow Progress Is Still Progress
This is supposed to be about time management and efficiency, right? Why are you telling me to be satisfied with less progress?
Trust me, this one is difficult for me, too. I always go back to Biz Stone’s words and remember that true success never really happens overnight, even if it appears to have done so.
Sometimes, not stressing about how much you haven’t done can be more productive than dwelling on it. This is advice I’m still learning to follow myself; I even feel like a hypocrite mentioning it 😉
Whether you’re going at a turtle’s pace, or a bit faster – remember that you are in charge of the direction. Make sure you’re headed down a path you really want to be on, and don’t be afraid to change your mind.
So, the next time you find time flying by, where are you going to steer it? I’d love to hear your personal stories and how you plan to “be the pilot” in your own lives, in the comments below. I read and respond to every comment! 🙂
Have a lovely and productive Monday!
P.S. Photo fans, the photo for today’s post (and poster!) is one I took in Washington, DC, way back in 2009.
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