How to Stop Procrastination: 5 Easy Ways To Stop Procrastinating And Get More Done

How to stop procrastination. What an important question. Have you ever worked on something then suddenly lose your motivation and start procrastinating? If you have, I’m sure you’ve had a moment where you just want to give up. As long as we’re alive, procrastination is inevitable.

According to research by the University of Sheffield, around 80% of us will procrastinate at some point. And while some people are better at managing their time than others, it seems like we all struggle with procrastination at some point or another.

When we get home from school or work, many of us aren’t motivated enough to do anything productive. We watch TV or spend time on social media instead of making real progress toward our goals. This article will show you five steps that have helped me stop procrastinating and get more done on a daily basis.

How to stop procrastination: First, find out why you are procrastinating, and then go after that.

First, find out why you are procrastinating, and then go after that. If it’s because you’re tired or just don’t feel like doing what needs to be done, make sure that you get enough sleep and eat properly so that your body is well-rested and nourished.

If you find yourself putting off work because your mind is somewhere else, try focusing on the task at hand by visualizing how good it will feel when it’s finished or imagining what others will think of you when they see how well you did on your project.

If you have anxiety about completing something, ask yourself if this fear is rational or not. Do I really need to do this today? Or do I just want to get out of doing something? Is there another way around whatever is causing the anxiety? If so, try using it instead of avoiding the task altogether!

How to stop procrastination: Determine Your Most Productive Time of Day

You may think you’re a night owl or a morning person, but chances are your productivity isn’t affected by when you wake up — it’s affected by when you start working on important tasks.

Instead of being held to your biological clock, determine what time of day works best for you, and then make sure that’s when you get started on important tasks (or at least try).

This way, if you’re feeling tired at 11 pm, there’s no harm in pushing back an important task until tomorrow morning instead of trying to get it done tonight!

I recently saw a video where someone recommended that you prioritize yourself in the morning. Meaning, try to reach your personal goals before going to the work you need to pay the bills.

how to stop procrastination
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How to stop procrastination: Create a To-Do List – Check!

The first step in getting more done is creating a to-do list. This might seem like an obvious tip, but so many people don’t do this because they think they don’t need one or they’ve heard bad things about them (e.g., “I’m just not good at making lists”). But the truth is that making lists is one of the easiest ways to get things done! They help us prioritize our tasks so we can focus on what’s most important, they help us feel more organized, and they make us feel less overwhelmed by giving us a sense of control over our day-to-day lives.

How to stop procrastination: Set Up Small Rewards for Reaching Goals

The easiest way to stop procrastinating is by setting small rewards for reaching your goals. You don’t have to wait until you reach your final goal before rewarding yourself (although that certainly helps). Instead, set up small rewards along the way that are achievable and easy enough that they won’t take up too much time or energy on your part.

For example, if you want to write an ebook and make some money from it, don’t set aside time on Wednesday night at 8 pm for writing your book. Instead, set aside 30 minutes after lunch each day for writing 500 words or so. Once you do this consistently for a week or two (without missing any days), then reward yourself with something that makes you happy.

How to stop procrastination: Make It Quick and Dirty at First

And last but not least, make it quick and check that box to give you a boost to keep going. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by your task list, start with the easiest tasks first. That way, when you check them off your list, you’ll feel accomplished and motivated to tackle the rest of it.

Hey, sometimes I write something so easy on my list just so I can cross it off. And you know what? It works!

7 Useful Languages for Traveling the World

The ability to speak a foreign language can provide you with many opportunities while traveling. It will give you an edge in the job market and help you meet people in different countries. Whether you choose to learn German, Spanish, Mandarin Chinese or any other foreign language is up to you, but it’s important to know what languages are most spoken around the world.

Spanish

As a traveler, you’re probably looking for the language that will give you the widest range of places to use, and Spanish is the clear winner. It’s the second most spoken language in the world, and it’s in use on every continent except Antarctica.

In addition to being a national language in 21 countries and an official language in eight others, it’s estimated to be the native language of over 437 million people worldwide. If your goal is to see as much of the world as possible, learning Spanish will open up far more doors for you than any other tongue.

French

Learning French is a great start for travelers. It’s one of the most widely spoken languages in the world, so it’s useful to know in many countries.

If you’re a tourist traveling around Europe, French will get you by in many places. But that’s not what makes it worth studying.

French is a Romance language, which means it shares many similarities with other Romance languages like Spanish and Italian. This makes it easier to learn than other European languages like German or Russian (which are not as closely related).

What’s more, French is spoken in many parts of Africa and North America as well as Europe. So if you’re planning on spending time in these parts of the world, learning French will give you an advantage over people who don’t speak French at all!

Arabic

Arabic is one of the most widely spoken languages in the world. It’s also one of the oldest written languages on earth — records show that it was used by ancient Egyptians as early as 3100 B.C.

There are many different dialects of Arabic, but they’re all mutually intelligible (meaning speakers can understand each other). This makes Arabic an especially useful language for travelers who want to learn just one language that will let them communicate with many people across different regions.

If you want to learn Arabic, there are plenty of resources available online at sites like Duolingo or Rosetta Stone that make it easy for you to get started learning basic phrases and sentences before visiting a foreign country where Arabic is spoken.

Chinese (Mandarin)

The Mandarin Chinese language has some of the most useful international applications you can think of, especially if you’re interested in traveling. This fact isn’t dependent on whether Chinese is the official language of the country you’re in. There are still 1.2 billion native speakers and nearly three times as many people who speak it as a second language.

Mandarin Chinese demonstrates awareness of cultural diversity, offering an opportunity to conduct business with one-fifth of the entire world’s population. It can also serve as a stepping stone to learning other languages with similar East Asian roots.

a person sitting on wooden planks across the lake scenery
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English

If you’re looking for an ideal place to start, consider English. English is the most commonly spoken language in the world (it’s spoken by 1.5 billion people), and it’s used in countless countries as the primary business language. It’s also used as an official language in 57 countries, giving it a strong presence on six continents.

Several studies found that people who know English earn more on average than those who don’t. As globalization continues to bring us closer together—especially in our global economy—knowing English will only become more useful and valuable.

German

German is a helpful language to learn because it’s spoken by over 100 million people in Europe, and it’s the official language of the European Union. Additionally, German is one of the most widely-spoken languages in the world, with over 500 million native speakers.

German is also used throughout the world as a secondary language — for example, German is taught in schools in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and Liechtenstein. If you want to learn a language that will be useful anywhere in Europe or even elsewhere in the world (for example, if you’re traveling to Africa), German may be a good choice.

Because of how many people speak it and how many countries use it as an official language, German is relatively easy for Americans to learn compared to other languages that aren’t as commonly spoken. This makes it easy for Americans who want to travel abroad but don’t have much time (or money) to invest in learning a foreign language before they go on vacation or business trips abroad.

Portuguese

Portuguese is the fifth-most spoken language in the world, and the number of speakers is growing every day. Knowing this language can help you communicate with over 220 million people globally. It’s also one of the official languages of the European Union and is used for official business in nine countries outside of Portugal, such as Brazil and Angola.

In addition to its widespread use, Portuguese is known for being relatively easy to learn. Although it has a few tricky features like its nasal vowels (which are found at the end of some words), the grammar rules are much simpler than those of other European languages, making it ideal for beginners. If you’re looking to learn something new that will be useful while traveling, consider starting with Portuguese.

Takeaway: These seven languages will be the most helpful to you while traveling in different parts of the world!

How To Improve Your Creative Brainpower By Reclaiming Deep Work Time

On one of my favorite podcasts, Hidden Brain, a recent episode discussed how we are constantly distracted. And these constant distractions negatively impact our ability to engage in deep work.

Check out my other podcast recommendations for learning!

I actually wrote another blog post inspired by an earlier interview from a different podcast (The Next Big Idea) with Cal Newport. In that interview, they specifically focused on the distractions of email and its important on deep work.

According to computer scientist, Cal Newport, “Deep Work” is a skill worth cultivating because very few people are doing it anymore. Deep work is what allows us to engage with our creative side and truly immerse ourselves in a project or activity. When we are constantly checking phones, responding to emails, or social media notifications, we cannot focus on tasks that take more brainpower.

I think this is why sites like focusmate have become popular.

So what are some things we can do to engage in more deep work?

man in white shirt using macbook pro
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How to reclaim your deep work time

Cal Newport says that deep work is a skill that will become more and more valuable by the day. This is especially true for those in the creative industry where ideas are your currency.

To achieve deep work you need to have a long stretch of time that’s free of distractions and obligations. The first step to reclaiming this time is to schedule it into your calendar just like any other meeting or appointment. Make sure you schedule this time at least a few days in advance so it doesn’t get bumped.

Once you’ve scheduled your deep work time, you’ll need to make sure you protect it by setting ground rules with yourself and others. These rules should be simple and actionable and help you avoid distractions during this time.

Some good rules might include not checking email or social media during your deep work session. Or, not responding to texts or calls unless they’re from an emergency contact. Whatever works best for you!

Let people know you’re unavailable during those hours

To reclaim deep work time, you need to let people know that you’ll be unavailable. This can be difficult for some people, especially if you’re a natural people-pleaser. You might worry about what it will look like if you turn down an invite to lunch or don’t immediately reply to emails. But the fact of the matter is that your work is more important than any of those things.

When someone asks me to do something during my deep work hours and I have to turn them down, I explain why I’m doing so. I say something like this: “I’m unavailable from 8 a.m. – noon on Friday mornings because those are my deep work hours. If the request can wait until the afternoon on Friday, I’d love to help out. Otherwise, would another day/time be better?” This way they understand what’s happening and they know they can reach out again later or at another time if they need me.

The key is to never apologize for your deep work time with phrases like “Sorry I didn’t respond earlier” or “Sorry I couldn’t make it.” These phrases make it sound like you’re apologizing for being unavailable. In reality, you’re apologizing for not answering their request right away—a totally different thing!

Put boundaries on your work environment

Many people have trouble staying focused on the task at hand. They get distracted by emails, phone calls, and other notifications.

The problem is that our brains are hardwired to seek out new information and experiences. This is especially true when we’re bored. This tendency is strong enough that it can even lead to anxiety if you don’t give your brain something to do.

But how can you focus on your work when so many distractions are trying to pull you away?

Put boundaries on your work environment. If you work from home or in an open-office plan, you may find it difficult to concentrate on your tasks because of interruptions from colleagues or neighbors. To block out distractions, close off parts of your home or office with a “do not disturb” sign. You can even use curtains or headphones while at home. You can also try using an app like Freedom or Self Control that blocks websites for a set amount of time (for example, 30 minutes).

Create an environment that promotes deep thinking. In order to get into a state of flow where deep thinking happens naturally, it’s important to create a physical space conducive to getting lost in thought.

Turn off all electronics and distractions

A few years ago, I was at my desk working on a particularly difficult problem. But, in the background, I had my email browser up and a notification popped through.

I realized that this was not the first time this had happened. Once I answered one email another would inevitably come through that needed my attention. So, to truly engage in deep work, email cannot be easily accessible.

The solution is simple: Turn off all electronics and distractions when you need to focus on deep work. This means turning off your phone (or switching it to airplane mode), putting away your laptop, and closing your browser tabs — everything except what you need to do your work uninterruptedly for the amount of time you’ve scheduled.

Takeaway: Show yourself you value your deep work time by creating strategies to maximize your focus!

7 Time Management Apps for Freelancers + Remote Workers

Time management is crucial if you are a freelancer or remote worker. Becoming more productive and efficient is really hard, so there’s no one app that will fix all your problems. Freelancers have to juggle responsibilities in their business, daily work activities, and fulfill the needs of their clients. A good time management strategy should be focused on three pillars: improving routine (eg: through habits), effective project management, and finding enough time for important personal activities.

Since every freelancer has different needs, it’s impossible to find an app able to suit everybody’s workflow. In this article, I will share some of my favorite productivity and time management apps for freelancers. These apps help me manage my tasks and focus on what’s important on a daily basis.

Best for Planning – Asana

Plan and manage your freelance projects with Asana. Create tasks with due dates and assign team members. Attach files, collaborate on projects with your whole team, and more. The app is free for teams of up to 15 people, including yourself. If you have a larger team, check out the enterprise plan.

Best for Coordinating Tasks and Projects – Trello

A key component of time management is staying on top of your to-dos and projects, and there are plenty of tools designed to help you with that. One of the best is Trello, a collaborative project management tool that makes it easy to organize your tasks into lists with cards.

With Trello, you can create a board for each project you’re working on, then add lists like “To Do,” “Doing,” and “Done” to keep track of where you are in the process. Each list contains cards that describe the actual task or project, organized by what stage it’s in. When you finish something, just drag the card from one list to another.

You can use Trello for individual projects or for organizing your whole workflow—for example, creating a board called “Today’s Work” with lists like “Calls,” “Client Work,” or “Personal Projects.” If you need to coordinate with someone else—say, a freelancer or assistant—you can invite them to collaborate on your Trello boards.

If you’re looking for an app that will help you manage your tasks and projects for free, give Trello a try.

Best for Syncing Deadlines Across Devices – Google Calendar

If you want to sync your deadlines across all of your devices, Google Calendar is the app for you. The free app is part of the productivity suite that comes with Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides. You can add events, including recurring ones (like weekly meetings or monthly blog deadlines), and set notifications. Plus, it makes switching between work and personal events easier by letting you color-code different calendars.

Google Calendar works great on its own as a scheduling tool, but it also integrates seamlessly with other productivity apps like Todoist, Trello, and Evernote. And if you’re in a company that uses G Suite, you can invite your colleagues to collaborate on shared events and projects.

Best for Managing Tasks On-the-Go – TickTick

TickTick is a great app for managing your tasks on the go. It’s especially useful if you’re working remotely and need something lightweight to keep track of things like meetings or deadlines without having to lug around paper or write down notes all day long. You’ll find this app particularly helpful if you spend a lot of time traveling, as well as those who need reminders about upcoming appointments while they’re away from their desktops (or laptops).

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Best for Daily Productivity Tracking – Toggl

No matter how you slice it, if you’re a freelancer or remote worker, you’re running your own business. And like any other small business owner, time management is crucial to your success. That’s where Toggl comes in. Founded back in 2006 in Estonia, this app is designed to help freelancers and remote workers track the amount of time they spend working on a given project so they can bill their clients accordingly.

To use Toggl, simply download the app to your desktop or mobile device and log the start and end times of each project you work on or client you speak with throughout the day. You can track your hours by project or by client, or even break down tasks by sub-task to see how long it takes you to complete a step-by-step process (e.g., creating a website from start to finish). Once logged in, these time tracking entries are saved and displayed as reports that show exactly how much time you’ve spent working on different projects throughout the week. This makes it easy to bill your clients every month when invoice time rolls around.

Best for Habits and Goals- Habitica

Habitica is a free tool that turns managing your to-do list into a game! You create a character based on yourself and earn experience points and loot as you complete tasks. There are also boss fights where you collect items to defeat the enemy. You can create both daily habits and one-time tasks with Habitica, or join groups of friends who are trying to accomplish the same goals as you. If you need an app that will make it fun to manage your time, this is it.

Best For Creating a Schedule and Following It – iStudiez Pro

iStudiez Pro is an iOS-only app that helps freelancers and remote workers create a schedule and then stick to it. Your calendar, class schedule, homework, exams, and even extracurricular activities can be organized in one place. The app syncs with your Apple Calendar too, so you don’t need to worry about losing important appointments or deadlines. You can also create a different schedule for every day of the week, which is ideal if you have some days off (or are on holiday) or if you work different hours on the weekends.

The app even tracks your grades and attendance records, so you can keep track of how well you’re performing at school or work. iStudiez Pro is available on the App Store for $2.99 USD.

Takeaway: You can manage your time as a freelancer or remote worker by using helpful apps.

Important: Why You Need Financial Literacy Regardless Of Your Age

Your net worth is your financial health

You need financial literacy. One of the most important things to do in order to grow financially is to know where you are now so that you can chart a course for where you want to go. You need to be aware of your financial health, and one of the ways you can check on it is by calculating your net worth.

Net worth is the value of everything you have, minus any debt. It includes money in your bank accounts, retirement accounts, investments, real estate holdings, personal property like cars and jewelry, and anything else that could be sold for cash. Determining your net worth helps you evaluate how well you’re doing financially by giving a snapshot of your current situation. It shows whether or not you’re getting closer to achieving your goals and allows you to calculate the rate at which you’re moving toward those goals.

This number is an important tool for financial health awareness because it can help guide your financial decisions when it comes time to make a big purchase like buying a house or getting married. You’ll know if your savings will be able to cover the costs or if they need some extra padding beforehand.

You make spending decisions every day

Every day you make financial decisions, even if you don’t realize it. You decide what you want to buy and how much money you want to spend on it, whether it’s a $5 cup of coffee or a $300 new pair of running shoes. You decide what things you need and how much they’re worth to you. And this is why you need financial literacy.

But the most important part of financial literacy isn’t just understanding how money works—it’s learning why what we do with money matters. When we understand the importance of our financial decisions in the context of their larger impact on our lives, we can grow our savings and get out of debt, we can avoid problems with credit and taxes, we can plan for retirement and investment vehicles, and we can be responsible for our own financial futures—no matter what age we are. The more we know about the way money works, the better equipped we are to be responsible for our own success and help others who may not have had the same advantages.

you need financial literacy
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Everyone will need to manage money at some point in their life

Everyone will need to manage money at some point in their life. Whether it’s paying a bill, buying a house, or saving for retirement, managing your finances is an essential life skill that means you need financial literacy.

Do you have the knowledge and skills needed to make informed decisions about money and manage your finances? Many adults do not strive for this goal. Instead, they turn to friends and family or rely on their partner’s knowledge of the subject.

Some people are uncomfortable with the idea of financial education because they feel intimidated by math, they’re embarrassed by their level of financial literacy, or they simply don’t know where to start. But financial literacy is vital for everyone regardless of age or income level.

Financial education is not just about learning how to manage your money – it’s also about understanding how to use it as a tool to help you meet your life goals.

There’s a lot of financial literacy you can learn on your own

There’s a lot of financial literacy you can learn on your own. In fact, if you’re interested in learning about money and finance, there are plenty of resources available to help you get started.

The Federal Reserve offers some great basic advice on managing your personal finances with the goal of creating and maintaining a positive credit history. There are also plenty of great books out there that will introduce you to basic economic concepts, like how interest rates work and the importance of budgeting for saving.

One book I found particularly helpful was Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kyosaki:

And don’t forget about the wealth of free material online, including on YouTube. For example, one site that is particularly helpful is LearnVest, which helps users understand concepts related to investments, savings, and debt reduction. Many of these resources may be able to answer all the questions you have about money management—you just have to take advantage of them!

Learn With Friends: If you’re interested in learning more about personal finance, consider getting together with some friends who share similar goals for their future and have similar levels of experience with money management. You can set up a Facebook group or grab a few tables at your favorite coffee shop—it doesn’t matter where or how; just meeting regularly can help motivate everyone to stick with the group through the ups and downs of learning new concepts.

Takeaway: Learning about finances when you’re young can help you later in life, but it’s never too late to start!

It’s Not Too Late to Join Tik Tok

Join Tik Tok, they say! At this point, almost everyone has heard of Tik Tok and of course, has mixed feelings about the platform. What originally started as a dancing trend place for teenagers has evolved into a much more complex ecosystem of information access and delivery.

And it’s here to stay. Despite the strong popularity of YouTube, Tik Tok overtook the major video platform months ago with a higher average watch time. What started as short clips now allows content creators to upload videos of 3 minutes or in some cases, even 10 minutes. Tik Tok is a video-sharing app that allows users to upload short videos, images, and text posts. In other words, it’s like Instagram but for short clips instead of pictures and videos.

I currently only have the option to upload 3-minute videos, which I have rarely done since joining in December 2020. However, I plan to start taking advantage of longer videos because I think that is going to be part of the future of Tik Tok.

What Kind of Content Can you Find on Tik Tok?

Literally anything and everything. In the early days, you might expect some dancing trends, but now information dominates. Sure, there are still plenty of dance trends and challenges, but innovative creators now use that to their advantage. They do the dance trend while placing text on the screen in their niche.

Personally, I turn to Tik Tok to get make-up advice, job searching tips, and motivation to manifest my dream life. In my mind, I see a world of opportunity still available for the general market. It’s not too saturated.

Some of the most popular videos now are cooking and marketing videos. And really anyone that has valuable knowledge to share. I follow creators with several hundred followers to big creators with over a million followers. And each brings a different element of my interests to the table.

join TIk Tok
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Should You Start a Tik Tok Now?

Yes! Even if you have a personal account, start a new one for your business or goals. Or maybe about a passion. Or, keep your personal account and start posting more! Once you have 1,000 followers you are eligible to go Live and receive live gifts. And once you reach 10,000 followers (I’m almost there – @tracydeeitsme) you can utilize more of the Creator Marketplace and start getting paid for your Tik Toks and partnering with brands there.

And you don’t have to monetize anything or be an official content creator. It’s an outlet that allows you to be silly, share knowledge, and embrace different sides of yourself. For me, it’s helped to build up my self-confidence.

So, what are you waiting for? Go join Tik Tok and post that content today!

Do I Struggle With Revenge Bedtime Procrastination?

Revenge bedtime procrastination is a real thing. Lately, I’ve been putting off going to bed for as long as possible. I’m not always tired, but I know I should sleep because I function best with at least 8 hours. However, I read or watch Netflix and convince myself I need the downtime because my brain is always working overtime.

In the modern world, many people are impacted by the consequences of revenge bedtime procrastination. There are several reasons why people procrastinate at night. That is the time when they have time themselves, with the devices and their favorite snacks. Lots of TV shows, YouTube channels, etc. require our attention at that time – it won’t be easy to focus on school or work. It can be really hard to concentrate on what we need to do, especially due to these constant distractions.

For me, even when I try to go to sleep, my brain won’t shut off and I end up getting up to put something away or check an email that I planned to respond to the next day, but couldn’t get off my mind.

And then the next day, I take a nap. So, the whole cycle continues to repeat itself.

Now I don’t know if this is a combination of being in a dark climate at the moment since I moved to Norway in October. Or, if it’s all the traveling I am doing that’s messing up my rhythm. Or, probably a combination of both. Or, it’s just that there is so much I want to accomplish and not enough hours to get it all done.

I wish I could function on less sleep because there is so much I want to do every day. It would be awesome to be one of those people that only need 4 hours of sleep, but most successful people actually do value quality sleep. And sleep is healing and rejuvenating.

revenge bedtime procrastination
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So what exactly is revenge bedtime procrastination?

I decided to look up what the definition is of this and came across several different responses.

The Sleep Foundation defines it as choosing to engage in leisure activities rather than sleep. One of the behaviors associated with this is not having a valid reason to stay up. The article goes on to discuss some of the psychological factors behind this phenomenon and the emerging research about it.

Another explanation of revenge sleep procrastination is staying up to get time for yourself after a busy day. Essentially, it’s getting revenge on the day and that is where the term comes from.

Personal reflection

So while I sometimes procrastinate going to bed, I’m not sure I am doing it for revenge. I think my issues stem from the constant movement and travel throwing off any semblance of a routine.

However, it is important for me to be mindful of how this procrastination at bedtime is actually harming my self-care goals.

What am I going to do?

I plan to start my evening wind-down time a bit earlier. Another thing I can do is limit my device or screen time before I go to bed.

In addition to some evening strategies, I would like to keep a journal by my bedside to document how I feel when I wake up each day. My word for 2022 is intentionality. As I reflect on the person I am and the person I’m becoming, every part of my life, including my sleep procrastination, must be intentional. And if it’s not matching my personal vision statement, then I alone have the power to change it.

A New Year: A Good Time For Reflection

I’m finding myself in an even more reflective mood than usual. Perhaps it’s because I’m living in a new country right now. Or, perhaps it’s living under another year of Covid and restrictions. Whatever the reason, I thought I would share some of my biggest personal reflections. Maybe you can relate to some of them. Or, maybe it will be a starting point to your own personal reflections on the past year.

So I thought I would frame my reflection through questions to myself. I encourage you to take the questions and think about how you would respond.

What “stuff” do I really need?

I moved to Norway with only two suitcases and a backpack. The year before that, I moved back in with my parents while I waited for the green light to go to Norway. So, I have a whole apartment’s worth of boxes and furniture sitting in storage in the U.S. right now. Granted, the apartment in Norway came furnished so I didn’t have to buy much when I got here.

However, the past two years have made me really think about the “stuff” I have. Some of it is sentimental, but much of it is probably things I don’t actually need. And now I’m considering staying in Europe for another year (country TBD). I’ll have to also revisit the selling my car debate because that is also sitting not being used right now.

concentrated woman carrying stack of cardboard boxes for relocation
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How should I spend my time?

I think we can all agree that time is precious and managing it effectively can be challenging sometimes. For years, I have been very deliberate about my schedule and my calendar. Now, in a new job in a new country, I have had to adapt to a bit more flexibility to allow for changes and updates and unknowns.

This is because of the type of work and also the fact that we are still in a pandemic. When I first moved to Norway, I had so much downtime I didn’t know what to do with myself. I spent it exploring the city and generally taking some time for myself after a year of working multiple jobs and finishing a dissertation.

So, I ask myself if being so strict about my time hinders my creativity or allows it to flourish in its time? Or, am I giving myself enough time to let the creativity out? I like being organized and thorough, which leads me to my next question…

What do I still need to work on for my personal health journey?

Mental health is hugely important to me. And I’ve spent the better part of the last 5 years working on self-improvement and self-care. And getting to know me and what I need to thrive and be the best version possible so that I can be that person for myself and for the people I love and care about.

But in that journey, my physical health has not been where I’d like it to be. I am ready for a bridge between the physical and the mental. In years past, that used to be running. But for some reason, I let the habit go and now it’s harder to rebuild. But I’m working on it and I am planning to run another half marathon in April 2022. I have action steps and now it’s about prioritizing this in my life.

female and male runners on a marathon
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What am I most proud of this past year?

As far as accomplishments go, this year has been a good one. I graduated with my doctorate 12 years after I initially started one. For my career, I started a new job in another country and I get to travel all over Norway doing something I love to do. I finally decided to join the world of online content creation with a blog, YouTube, and Etsy shop. I got to spend quality time with my family, even my grandparents.

So while it’s hard to pin down exactly what I’m most proud of, I don’t think it’s an accomplishment. I think it’s more of an internal feeling that I’m finally on a path of being true to myself. All my life, I’ve been an overachiever, constantly trying to prove that I’m smart enough or hard-working enough to be deserving of an opportunity. I am finally starting to believe that I am enough just the way I am and I get to choose what’s best for my life.

How do I make the most of the year ahead?

Well, the next 6 months of my life are planned and known. I will finish out my current role in Norway, then take a 14-day trip through Europe traveling to countries I’ve never been to. Hopefully, I still get to travel this spring, but that will be determined by Covid.

I will make the most of the year ahead by being open to opportunities. Originally, I planned to go back to the U.S., but now I feel like there is so much of the world I have yet to see. So I’m exploring more job opportunities in Europe, specifically in Norway and Spain.

One of the really great books I read this past year was Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes. While I am generally extroverted and agree to many things, there are still lots of things in life I am ready to experience. I would like to improve public speaking, go ziplining, and take a chance on myself by continuing to build my consulting business. But first, I will start with some skiing, which I never thought I would try again. But, when in Norway, right?

Final Thoughts

If you have been reading my blog posts this past year, you might know I have a lot more questions I’m asking myself. And if you want to take on a 30-day self-reflection challenge, check out this earlier post I made with prompts you can utilize.

It’s Almost a New Year! Time to Clean Up Your Email Inbox

I write this post on December 28th, 2021 reflecting on the past year and gearing up for the next. And it’s time to clean up your email inbox. I love the fact that January 1st provides a set date to start over, but the truth is, you can do this at any time. So, if you’re reading this at a different point throughout the year, the advice and tips still apply.

If you’re anything like me, your email and phone notifications and inboxes are just filled to the brim. Now, I do my best to maintain a zero inbox and minimize any notifications that will disrupt my thought process. However, things sneak up over time and it’s important to do a reboot of your process if necessary. For me, it’s time to get my email back in order.

Why I’m Feeling This Way

Now, I only have a few emails in my inbox at the moment so you might think that I’m doing a great job at managing emails. However, over the past year, I have joined different newsletters and applied to various jobs. That means that the volume of emails I’m receiving is still pretty high. So even though I’m wading through them, it takes more time than I would prefer.

It’s also a reflective time of year that makes me evaluate all my systems as I think about the goals I want to achieve for the upcoming year. And one of my continuous life goals is to be more reflectively productive. Not just productive for productive’s sake, but being truthful with myself about what’s working, what’s not working, and what causes extra unnecessary tasks.

So, before you jump into overhauling your email inbox, make sure it’s a priority that will help you. I listened to Ali Abdaal’s recent YouTube video on how much money he spent and he made a point about the money he spends ordering takeout. Cooking is not a priority so time isn’t invested in doing it or learning how to do it better. Make sure to invest time in the things that are a priority for you.

time to clean up your inbox
Photo by Torsten Dettlaff on Pexels.com

Time to clean up your email inbox: Strategies to help you

  • Review any emails that come through a subscription
    • I often sign up for new things not realizing how many times per day or week the organization will email me.
    • Sometimes I change the settings to once a week
    • Other times I just decide not to get that newsletter anymore because it’s no longer helpful. Use the auto unsubscribe feature in GMAIL or go through the organization’s system.
  • Create filters
    • Not every email has to clog up the inbox upon arrival. You can create filters to send emails to folders. Or, have it enter with a label based on a specific sender.
    • Filters help create visual clues about important emails upon arrival. For example, you may have a client or boss that demands immediate responses. Create a filter so it stands out when you are glancing at your emails throughout the day.
    • You can also set up notifications so that it only interrupts your workflow if it is from certain people.
  • Archive old emails
    • If you want to get started with an inbox zero, then archiving everything is a way to start. If you are not sure how to get started, then follow this guide.
    • My personal email account had tens of thousands of emails before I started doing this. I signed up for it in 2005 and since it is my name, I have kept it ever since.
    • No one has the time to review thousands of emails so simply archive all of them and start doing inbox zero moving forward. They will still be accessible through search so nothing is actually deleted.
  • Set boundaries
    • Decide how often you plan to check your email.
    • Decide what devices you will keep your email on.
    • Decide if you will get notifications via a sound alert or banner.
    • Set personal time aside where you will not check your emails at all – perhaps even for a day or two.

Now, these are all suggestions I have incorporated into my own routines over the last few years. As with life, my process and systems ebb and flow to match my current endeavors and productivity needs.

Comment below with any helpful email tips to start the new year!

Imposing Time Limits on Goals

I was recently talking with someone about my goal of visiting 40 countries by the time I’m 40. When I tell people this, usually their eyes get big and they say something like good luck. Now, full disclosure I just turned 35, so I only have 5 years to go. And so far, I have only been to 5 countries.

The other consideration is what counts as an adequate amount of time somewhere for me to say that I visited that country. I am counting Portugal, which I was only in for 20 hours, but I did leave the airport, stay in a hotel, visit the downtown area, and eat some delicious food.

Although I currently live in Norway, I am from the United States where I spent all of my life. I visited both Mexico and Canada for a few days each. But other than that, I haven’t had the chance to see much of the world.

But here’s the thing that I believe to be true about goals and myself. If I don’t put a time limit on it, I am less likely to take action. I might put something off for years and years, wasting all of this time I could have used. I did this in my 20’s when I decided to run a half marathon.

I made this decision early in my 20’s and said that I would do it by the time I turned 30. Each year went by and I didn’t take action until I was 29. I did do it, but I could have done it so much sooner!

So maybe the real lesson is that I need to make the time constraint even closer to my current reality. Because the procrastinator brain in me will use all of the available time. I wish I had the diligence and self-discipline to just make things happen because I wanted them to. But, that’s also related to the power of manifestation and another area of my life I am definitely working on.

But Really – Time Limits Can Be a Good Thing

One of my favorite authors and writers of productivity, habits, and goal-setting, James Clear, has an excellent post on the realities of setting goals. He says that the true challenge is the competing goals we have for ourselves. If we have too many at one time, it can be difficult to narrow in on one at a time. Therefore, it can be helpful to focus on the most important goal of the time.

Atomic Habits by James Clear

Time limits help us focus and prioritize our goals. Another helpful tip is to place a limit on the number of goals and tasks that you are working toward at any one time.

So, if I really sit down and try to think about the things that are important to my immediate future, I have 3 goals that come before traveling the world:

  1. Complete another half marathon in April 2022 (time limit imposed and training plan created).
  2. Continue to be the best teacher possible while traveling to schools in Norway. Meaning, work on improving lessons, resources, and engagement with activites.
  3. Have a remote job lined up by August 2022. My current job will end at the end of June.

I did book a 14-day travel trip through Europe for July. Knowing that is coming and already booked alleviates some of the pressure of trying to make it to as many places as possible over the next 6 months.

All 3 of my most important goals are time constricted to the next 6 months. So maybe I should let go of the 40 countries by 40 and continue to take it 6 months at a time. It is a much more manageable deadline that allows for specific action in the here and now.

Oh, and one more goal for this month is to write 8 more blog posts to make it to 100 posts in 2021 on my brand new blog!

What do you think about imposing time limits on your goals?

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