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Managing Your Time to Achieve Success

Living in the 21st century can be overwhelming. Your job is busier than ever, your kids are involved in several after-school activities, and you’re busy keeping up with everything else around the house. Yet, you long to do other things that require a time commitment. Will you ever be able to juggle everything and still do the things you enjoy?

Institute these changes today so you can achieve the success you crave:
1. Obtain a calendar and use it. If you’re trying to juggle too many things, it’s imperative that you have a calendar. A calendar will help you schedule events, keep track of where you need to be, and figure out how much time is left over.

* Buy a pocket calendar at your local office supply store and keep it in your purse or briefcase.

* Alternatively, use the scheduling program in your smartphone.

* Use your calendar as a way to keep track of all the important events in your life.

2. Write everything down. You can be more realistic about what you can accomplish when you write down everything you have to do. This will help keep you focused and on-task.

* You deserve to have a restful mind. Avoid having chaos in your head by keeping a written record.

3. Be realistic about the timelines you establish. Can you really get ready for the neighborhood yard sale in 3 days? Gauge how much time you’ll need to be fully prepared and create a reasonable timeline for big projects.

4. Learn to say “no.” It’s unrealistic to think you’ll be able to attend every event at your kids’ school. And there are only so many hours you can devote to your volunteer work.

* You’re only one person and sometimes you’ll have to say “no.”

5. Recognize the trouble spots during the week. Maybe Thursdays after school are tough because your son has to go to football practice and your daughter has gymnastics at the same time. Plus, that’s the day you and your mom get together for dinner. So, if Thursdays are your trouble spot, look at your schedule and think about what you can move.

* Maybe you and your mom can do dinner on Tuesdays instead. Perhaps your husband can take care of football and you can focus on gymnastics.

6. Be flexible when you can. Some things aren’t etched in stone and there will be times when more important things come up unexpectedly. You’re likely to feel calmer if you can be flexible and switch things around in your schedule.

7. Be clear about your priorities. Your family will most likely be your first priority. But if the occasional work project has to temporarily come first, that might work for you too. When you clearly acknowledge your priorities, decisions about managing your time become easier.

8. Limit the time you spend in meetings. Many meetings lack productivity and take too much time. If you have the power to excuse yourself from meetings, do it.

* If you happen to be responsible for holding and leading meetings, ensure they’re short, to-the-point, and productive.

* Some time management experts have even suggested meetings be limited to 30 minutes and that everyone stands up during the meeting. By doing this, everyone will be brief and the necessary topics will be covered quickly.

9. Schedule fun activities and “me” time. If you fail to place time in your schedule to have fun, then it likely won’t happen.

* During those scheduled times you can choose what to do. Carve out the free time you deserve.

Manage your time in a way that works for you. To achieve your life goals, set priorities, make a schedule, establish realistic timelines, and keep a written record. If you can implement these suggestions, you’ll be on the path to success.

Become an expert at managing time and your life!

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Ways To Make Exercise A Habit

Everyone knows they need to exercise, but most of us haven’t been able to turn exercise into a regular habit. Maybe you want to build some muscle. Or perhaps you’d like to lose some fat. Either way, you want to feel better, be healthier, and be more proud of your body.

Maybe you joined a gym or found a friend that would walk or play tennis with you on a regular basis. But driving to the gym became too much of a hassle, or your friend bailed on you. Eventually, most of us just quit.

What’s the secret of those that exercise religiously? You might think it’s a matter of willpower, but willpower is only a short-term solution.

Try these strategies to develop an exercise habit

1. Set a goal. You must know where you’re headed. Do you want to gain or lose weight? Are you trying to become faster and stronger? It’s important to do one thing at a time. Maybe you want to gain 20 lbs of muscle and lose 30 lbs of fat. Lose the fat first and then focus on gaining that muscle.

* Ensure your goal has a deadline. A deadline creates a sense of urgency. A good deadline should be challenging, but realistic.

* Put your goal and deadline on your nightstand. Review them both every night and every morning.

2. Determine a time that works for you. If you exercise first thing in the morning, your evening will be free and you know you’ll get your exercise done. However, most of us struggle to get up on time already. Consider using your lunch break for a little exercise. The evening has its advantages, too. Think about what will work for you.

3. Create a plan. Your plan should be based upon your goal and deadline. Consider including a schedule, the exercises you’ll perform, and the number of sets or repetitions.

* Your plan, like your deadline, should be reasonable. Avoid setting yourself up for failure.

4. Find an experienced training partner. Finding a committed and experienced workout partner is a key to your success. If your partner quits, you’re much more likely to quit, too. So find someone that is as serious about working out as you would like be about working out. Approach them and see if you can train along with them.

5. Stay consistent. There will be days that you don’t feel like exercising, but those can be your best workout days. When it’s time to exercise, it’s time to exercise. The more you do your exercise, the stronger the habit becomes. Work your plan.

* Remember that your plan is your path to success.

6. Work on your inner game. Having a goal and a plan will strengthen your confidence. Seeing positive changes in your performance and appearance helps too!

* Know that it’s all science. If you do the right things every day, success is inevitable!

Think about all the wonderful benefits you’ll gain by developing a strong exercise habit. Keep that picture in your mind when the going gets tough. Having success in this area of your life can translate into other successes too.

The great thing about exercising is that you’re not really dependent on anyone else. All the variables are under your control. It’s a great way to test how much control you have over yourself.

In 30 days, you can have a strong exercise habit that will be resistant to change. Put your best efforts into this first month to create your habit, and you’ll find smooth sailing after that.

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Planning Your Gap Year

You’ve probably heard of teenagers taking a gap year, where they take a short break between high school and college to sort out their future plans. But now, a growing number of adults are taking a strategic break and putting their careers on hold for a gap year.

Many recent graduates are taking longer to land their first job. Older professionals who have been laid off are facing retirement earlier than they expected. For others, it’s an intentional search for new adventures.

Whatever your motivation, these suggestions can help guide you through your gap year from planning to reentry.

Planning a Gap Year

1. Finance your dreams. The biggest question for most people is how to afford a year off. Build up your savings or plan to work while you’re away. You may even be able raise funds through crowdsourcing and other methods if you’re doing something like nursing in an orphanage.

2. Get your family on board. Depending on your destination, you may want to take your family along. Changing schools is a big step for your children, but they may learn things they would’ve missed by staying home.

3. Talk with your boss. Figure out the odds for returning to your old job if that’s your plan. Depart on good terms with your employer, so you can at least count on a positive reference.

4. Learn from the experience of others. Reach out to those who’ve gone before you. Look for people who share your individual interests. If you’re traveling to a major city out of the country, ask for suggestions on how to get connected with the local expatriate community to help you find your way around.

Managing the Logistics

1. Set your own schedule. Your break can be shorter or longer than 12 months. Decide how much time makes sense for you.

2. Travel light. Pack only the bare essentials. You’ll get through airports more quickly.

3. Find accommodations. Explore all your options. You may be able to rent your condo out or find a house swapping arrangement. If you have a mortgage, remember to check with your lender to see if you meet the requirements or have to complete any necessary forms.

4. Protect your health. Talk with your doctor. You may need to get certain vaccinations or stock up on your prescription medications.

Enjoying the Experience

1. Do volunteer work. Browse through the many agencies that sponsor international volunteer services. Work on a farm or get involved with conservation work in the Amazon. These organizations may help you with living arrangements as well.

2. Pursue spiritual development. Retreats and pilgrimages are a major part of many faith traditions. Join a group trip or design your own itinerary.

3. Study abroad. Take drama classes in London or enroll in a Spanish architecture class in Madrid. Pick up new languages at every stop you make. Contact your alma mater or other universities about their foreign study programs.

Engineering Your Reentry

1. Make a permanent transition. You may enjoy your gap year so much that you want it to last for the rest of your life. You may be surprised to find how much you change.

2. Simplify everything. Whatever path you decide to take, prevent clutter and distractions from building up again. That way you’ll stay energized and ready to take off on your next adventure.

3. Ease back into old routines. Give yourself time to readjust. High speed traffic and crowded stores may feel overwhelming at first if you’ve been exploring the countryside all year.

It takes courage and a willingness to accept risk when leaving your life behind and traveling down a new path. If you believe a gap year is a good choice for you, go ahead and give it a try. It could turn out to be the start of a whole new life.

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How To Become More Optimistic

Do you spend a lot of time contemplating how badly situations can turn out? If so, it sounds like you’re a bit of a pessimist. In your mind’s eye, you picture the world crashing down around you. You always expect things to go in favor of another person instead of you.

It’s easy to fall under the spell of negative thinking. This is especially true when you’ve had some negative experiences. Now is the time to get out of that negative mindset.

With the pointers you’re about to read, you’ll successfully be able to turn from a pessimistic person into an optimistic one. The best part is that you can actually become more positive and less negative in two weeks or less!

Implement these strategies to become a more optimistic individual:

1. Count your blessings. Take a moment and write down all the blessings you’ve received in your lifetime. Write the small ones as well as the mammoth ones. Have you run out of paper or gotten blistered fingers? Both are signs of a multitude of blessings!

* A pessimist has no place counting blessings! Therefore, put aside your negative thinking and celebrate the positives that have happened in your lifetime.

* How many times have you confidently achieved success? It’s probably because you believed in yourself. If you did it then, you can do it now.

* Use your past positive experiences to fuel your drive to become a more positive person.

2. Recite your strengths in the mirror. Self-doubt brings about feelings of inadequacy. Then, you end up believing that you may not be good at anything. But is that really the case? When was the last time you took a moment to consider your strengths?

* Stand in front of your mirror today and recite your strengths. And yes, you have them! Your positive attributes are what got you all those blessings in the first place!

* Think about ways in which others have counted on you in the past. Why do you think they chose to rely on you? Because they know you have a great skill set.

* If you used a particular strength in the past, you can use it again for another mission.

3. Search for the good in situations. Even when things seem to be at their worst, there’s always a bright spot or a lesson to be learned. If you take the time, you’ll find that there’s something good in each of life’s situations.

* Even though something may cause you to feel sad, consider the possible joy of having a weight lifted off your shoulders.

* It may seem to you that you’ve failed at something. But truth be told, you may have succeeded at finally finding the right path for yourself.

4. Accept life’s journeys. Remember that you may not have everything going your way. That’s just the way life is. Accept the journey you’re on, knowing that you’re meant for that path.

* The sooner you accept a particular outcome, the easier it may be to move on and start fresh.

* Rejoice in the positive outcomes of others. You’re meant to live in harmony with the rest of the world. Use their joy as an opportunity for your own happiness.

5. Remember the sun rises. Bear in mind that the world doesn’t end with your negative experiences! After the disappointment, you go to bed and awaken to a new morning. Each sunrise provides another opportunity to succeed!

As you can see, it’s all about adjusting your thoughts. Changing how you process experiences can make it easier to become optimistic. Avoid allowing the outcome of one experience to determine how you’ll handle the next. Take each situation at face value with a bright smile and positive outlook!

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How To Juggle Multiple Goals

You probably think life would be so much simpler if you could just concentrate on helping your kids with their homework or running a faster mile. The reality is that we all have to juggle a wide variety of goals.

A number of studies suggest that breaking goals down into specific action steps works when applied to a single goal. However, that approach tends to backfire when we have more going on. It seems we become more aware of the potential obstacles in our way.

So what do you do if you need to make progress on multiple fronts without getting overwhelmed? Consider these strategies.

Evaluate Your Current List of Goals

1. Select three priorities. If you feel like you’re being pulled in all directions, take time to reflect on what matters most to you. You may decide that preparing simpler meals is an acceptable tradeoff for having more time to spend with your family.

2. Be realistic about time limits. We often underestimate how long it will take to complete routine tasks. Ensure you know how much time you really have to work with in a typical week.

3. Decline requests tactfully. Learning to say no graciously will spare you from taking on excessive obligations. It’s okay if you want to skip a baby shower for a former coworker you lost touch with years ago.

4. Stay up to date. Our objectives shift at different stages in our lives. Go ahead and scale down your career ambitions if you’ve found greater meaning in your spiritual practices.

Juggle the Goals You Want to Keep

1. Select role models. Interestingly, researchers have found that we’re more optimistic about handling multiple goals if we think the people around us are busier than we are. Get inspired by a neighbor who’s training for the Olympics and finishing law school.

2. Define your success. Figure out how to grade yourself. Maybe you want to excel at parenting, but you’re satisfied with getting your car washed once a month.

3. Merge projects into one. Just spotting the connections between one concern and another may make your life easier. Focus on being healthy rather than counting every calorie.

4. Resist rushing. Slow down. Chronic stress undermines your performance across the board.

5. Segment your time. Break your day up into broad time slots. Budget an hour to spend on writing a report. Devote the next half hour to walking through the park. Switching between activities will keep your mind fresh.

6. Master logistics. Organization helps you get things done more quickly. Calculate the best route for completing all your errands in one trip instead of making separate outings to pick up the dry cleaning and drop the dog off at the groomer.

7. Work as a team. Encourage a spirit of community and cooperation. Thank your kids for pitching in with age appropriate household tasks. Take turns cleaning the office refrigerator.

8. Seek expert help. Shorten your learning curve by consulting those who already know the ropes. Financial planning is one key area where professionals can help you understand how to balance different needs.

9. Know your best time of day. Schedule your most challenging demands for the times when you’re at your peak. If you’re an early bird, study foreign languages over breakfast. Night owls can review their finances after dinner.

10. Stay fit. Protect your ability to pull off everything you want to do in life. Make sure your goals include staying in top physical and mental condition.

Pare down your to do list and coordinate your efforts around the goals that are most important to you. You’ll worry less and get more accomplished.

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