At some point over the next week, diarise to spend an hour doing something a bit different first thing in the morning.
Reach for a notebook before you look at your phone
Grab a pen or pencil before turning on your email and
Start drawing or writing.
Just write or draw.
Focus on flow, resist trying to make sense certainly initially.
Give yourself an hour. This is a one hour challenge.
See where it takes you.
What inspirations do you find?
Where does it deliver your thinking?
Why an hour – because it is substantial.
Why in the morning first thing – because you haven’t put your defences up.
Why does this work so well?
There’s something grounding about this simple act — a ritual that not only challenges the norms of our digital age but also has a surprising and profound impact on your cognitive faculties. Instead of immediately reaching for the screen that so often captures your attention, you opt for the tactile sensation of a pen and notebook. We know that the act of writing by hand, compared to typing, activates different neural pathways in the brain. There’s an intimacy in the act — a direct line of connection from your thoughts, through your arm, and onto the paper. It’s not just about recording thoughts; it’s about processing and understanding them in a fundamentally different way.
By being given permission, this exercise grants you to let go. By focusing on the flow rather than the outcome, you dispense with the ever-present internal critic that’s often eager to dissect and judge your creative impulses. Free from this pressure, your mind can wander down unexpected alleys and conjure just simply brilliant ideas.
I have commented that an hour is substantial. An hour is a sweet spot. It’s a significant enough chunk of time to get lost in a creative process, but not so lengthy that it feels daunting. In committing to this hour, you send a message to yourself that this time, this exploration of the depths of your mind, truly matters.
The act of dedicating your first morning hour to writing or drawing is more than just a creative exercise. It’s a powerful ritual that harnesses the mind’s peak performance, mitigates distractions, and promotes profound self-reflection.
As a person who has a slight understanding and awareness of technology, I am frequently approached by my colleagues, friends, and acquaintances with queries about my software recommendations for different purposes.
I hope that my list of indispensable software for today’s online world will provide a starting point or a reference for those looking for reliable, efficient, and universally approved software.
What I cover below.
For the past 4 years, I have used Siteground. They host in the UK and have tremendous online support, which is what you need when a website update sends your website spiralling (and they also allow you to do staging sites as well as a lot of other good things).
I tend to opt for Namecheap. They do bill in USD, but this is not an issue – the bank takes care of that. It just works, and I then point (called DNS pointing) the website at Siteground.
Microsoft 365 with no questions. The setup is simple and can come with a significant raft of other products. Now I know that this is a marmite decision – some of you will love Google, and that is great – but certainly go for a system that is open and can integrate with others.
Canva all the way. A simple, online program that delivers a big punch in design capability.
Despite Word having a built-in grammar tool, I find Grammarly amazing. Correcting grammar and spelling across platforms. A big tick from me.
Zoom or Teams. I tend to use what my clients want. I don’t tend to find many using Google. Its probably heretic to say this, but there really isn’t that much of a difference between them
This is a must in today’s online world. I have just started to use Trafft – an equivalent for Calendly and Acuity. This allows clients to book both paid and non-paid meetings directly into your calendar based on your availability. Very cute – and certainly something worth paying for.
Social Media Management
I just love Social Bee. I have been using them for a long time now and this single subscription invites you to post to your major social accounts. They have also just introduced an AI model that helps you create snappy posts although I must admit I prefer to do it the old-fashioned way.
Free or Paid For?
On the subject of paying for services – my view is that whilst there can be programs that are ‘free’, if I get value from them, then I will pay. Software Recommendations are therefore built around your specific need. What is it that you are actually trying to do.
As an example, at the moment, I am thinking about how I manage my customer data. I can spend a lot on services that I really do not need, but similarly, I can get some stuff free. Where do I draw the line? It is down to my requirement, budget and real need not nice to haves.
I then tend to find the additional addons are invaluable. So I got a better software as a service (SAAS) and I helped the company by not being a freeloader.
I would love to hear your preferences in the comments below.
In today’s fast-paced world, where balancing multiple tasks has become the norm, effective time management for learners has emerged as a critical skill. With increasing demands on their time, learners often feel overwhelmed, leading to stress, decreased productivity, and, worst of all, diminished learning outcomes. Is there a way forward? The answer lies in mastering the art of time management for learners.
Why is Time Management for Learners Important?
Time is a non-renewable resource. It’s the one commodity we can’t create more of. Therefore, utilising time management skills wisely is of utmost importance, especially for those who are at a critical juncture of personal and intellectual growth.
“What matters more than the length of time you put into a thing is actually the intensity of focus. Because if you have an intensity of focus you can actually reduce the amount of time spent doing it to get the same or better results.”
Proper time management for learners can be a game-changer. It can help create a balanced life, where academic, personal, and recreational activities can co-exist harmoniously. Time management for learners enables them to set clear goals and provides a roadmap to achieving them within the desired timeframe. Managing time effectively reduces anxiety and increases confidence, leading to improved performance and a more enriching learning experience.
The Pitfalls of Poor Time Management for Learners
A common pitfall in time management for learners is underestimating the time needed for tasks, leading to a sense of being constantly “behind” and rushing to complete assignments. This approach can result in subpar work and increased stress levels.
Additionally, poor time management for learners often leads to procrastination, a debilitating habit that hinders progress and leads to wasted time. Last-minute cramming, hurried assignments, and missed deadlines are common symptoms of procrastination that stem from ineffective time management.
Moreover, poor time management for learners can negatively impact overall well-being. Chronic stress and lack of free time for relaxation can lead to burnout, significantly impairing the ability to perform academically and cope with life’s challenges.
Building Blocks of Effective Time Management for Learners
Effective time management for learners isn’t just about working hard; it’s about working smart. Here are some core principles that form the building blocks of successful time management for learners:
Prioritisation: This is the ability to distinguish between what’s urgent and what’s important. It involves aligning tasks with academic and personal goals and allocating time accordingly.
Scheduling: This involves breaking down the day, week, or month into manageable slots and designating specific tasks to these slots. A well-planned schedule can reduce wasted time and keep focus on tasks.
Avoiding Procrastination: Tackling tasks head-on, even the ones that we dread, can save you from the stress of last-minute scrambling. Strategies like the ‘Pomodoro Technique’ or ‘Time Blocking’ can help combat procrastination.
Using Tools and Apps: In today’s digital world, various tools and apps can aid in effective time management for learners. From to-do lists and digital calendars to focus booster apps, learners can leverage technology to stay organised and increase productivity.
Reflecting and Adapting: Regular reflection on time management practices is crucial for continuous improvement. It’s about identifying what’s working and what isn’t and making necessary changes to enhance efficiency.
The Path Forward
While the benefits of time management for learners are clear, mastering this skill can be a daunting task. But don’t worry, the path to efficient time management is a journey, not a sprint. It involves gradual changes, building new habits, and continually striving for improvement.
We are committed to empowering individuals on their journey to personal growth and self-discovery.
Look out for an upcoming solution that will help guide you on this path, offering practical tips, insights, and strategies to manage your time effectively and make your learning journey more productive and less stressful.
It’s time to turn the tables and take control of your time, unlocking your full potential as a learner.
So, stay tuned for more… because it’s time for a change.
As an experienced coach, I have facilitated countless sessions revolving around the exciting theme of goal setting. An observation that never ceases to intrigue me is how people derive immense satisfaction from merely ticking off achievements from their to-do lists. A seemingly trivial act, but one that serves as a potent motivator for many!
I have even caught people adding stuff to lists that they have already done just to allow for that gorgeous moment of either crossing off or ticking that task off.
While not all of us might share the same level of enthusiasm for these ‘tick-off triumphs,’ most of us can appreciate the power of committing our goals to paper. Writing down our objectives creates a tangible sense of commitment and increases the likelihood of their realisation.
The benefits of this simple act extend beyond the realm of productivity as the neuroscience of goal setting now tells us that we get a happiness hit from the simple act of crossing off or ticking.
One other thing that I have observed over the past 12 months is that we are becoming better at understanding what is important to us, and we should listen to this inner voice.
As coaches, we spend time working and providing a platform for ‘lightbulb’ moments for our clients – when was the last time that you gave yourself a good listening to and had one yourself?
Everything that we have been doing over the past 4 weeks has invited you to get this in focus.
From gaining 15 minutes of insight, through understanding your time, to establishing and developing amazing habits.
What now for you?
Where does this springboard you to?
There is something about being increasingly kind to self.
Being kind in terms of listening to body, to soul and to focus on the internal energies that we have. Perhaps it is time to unleash the power of goal setting on your own definitive direction?
Perhaps, just perhaps with a bank holiday now upon us, we can use this to energise and consider what next for us in our development?
Personal Growth Habits are the invisible architects of our daily life. Each one of us, knowingly or unknowingly, has a set of habits that we lean on regularly. But have you ever stopped to consider which habits are genuinely useful, how they serve you, and how you might enhance them even further? If not, it’s time to do so.
You might already be familiar with the ‘Stop, Start, Continue’ method, a popular self-improvement approach symbolised by a traffic light’s red, amber, and green lights. This approach prompts us to stop behaviours that aren’t serving us, start those that could add value, and continue with those that are positively impacting us. However, in this blog post, we’ll delve a little deeper and introduce an additional layer – ‘Improve’.
By looking at what we want to improve, we begin to realise that even the positive habits we’ve cultivated could serve us better or be executed in a more efficient way.
Now we have four categories to think about when we explore personal growth
Stop: What to Let Go to Enhance Personal Growth
The first step involves identifying habits that aren’t contributing positively to our life. These are actions or behaviours that add little or no value, and may even be harmful or counterproductive. It might be something as small as mindlessly scrolling social media or as big as consistently working late hours. Remember, this process requires honesty and self-awareness. It’s not about self-judgement, but self-improvement.
Start: What to Embrace to Drop Ineffective Processes
Next, think about habits you would like to incorporate into your life – behaviours you believe will add value. It could be reading a chapter of a book each night, exercising regularly, or dedicating time each week to learn a new skill. Be ambitious yet realistic, ensuring the personal growth habits you wish to start are achievable and aligned with your personal growth objectives.
Continue: What to Persist to Enhance Personal Growth
Now, turn your focus to habits you already practice that add significant value to your life. These are habits that align with your goals, bring you joy, or contribute positively to your well-being. It could be your morning meditation routine, weekly meal prepping, or a simple habit of expressing gratitude daily. Acknowledge these habits and the value they bring to your life, and commit to continue with them.
Improve: What to Enhance to Grow
The final step is to identify habits that are already positive but have the potential for further improvement. These are behaviours that serve you well, but with a few tweaks, could add even more value. Perhaps you’re already exercising regularly, but want to diversify your routine, or you’re maintaining a balanced diet but could incorporate more superfoods. Here, the focus is on optimising what’s already working well.
With these four categories outlined, the task is to fill them with your own habits, creating a personalised road map to better habits.
Reflect, jot down, and categorise your habits under Stop, Start, Continue, and Improve. Remember, the aim isn’t perfection, but gradual, continuous enhancement of your habits, leading to a more enriching life.
Now comes the crucial part – putting it all into action.
Changing or forming new habits isn’t a switch that you can flick on or off; it’s a process that requires consistency, patience, and commitment. Start small, perhaps by focusing on one habit from each category. As you successfully incorporate these changes, move on to the next set of habits.
Throughout this process, be kind to yourself. Not all days will go as planned, and that’s okay. What matters is picking up where you left off and pressing ahead, even if progress seems slow. Over time, you’ll notice the positive shifts, and these small victories will fuel your motivation to continue this enriching journey.
By consciously examining our habits under the lens of the ‘Stop, Start, Continue, Improve’ model, we become more mindful of our actions and their impact on our lives. This mindfulness, coupled with intentional action, paves the way for significant personal growth, leading to a more balanced and fulfilling life.
Each week, I complete an After Action Review – a process introduced to me through Michael Hyatts superlative Full Focus Planner system. I find that by scheduling activity to review the past week, I can take swift and agile decisions based on what has worked, what hasn’t and what needs a slight tweak.
Remember, it’s not about having a set of perfect habits. It’s about continuously striving for personal growth and improvement. And the beauty of it all is that with every positive change, no matter how small, we’re shaping a better, more fulfilling version of our lives.
So, grab your notepad or digital device, and start the exciting journey of refining your habits today.
Answer the question – What are 5 habits that can improve my life?