4 Game Changing, Simple Yet Powerful Things To Help You Succeed

January 16, 2019

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If you ponder over the title of this blog post then you will realize that the gems I share in this post have been a real game changer for me this past year!

If I had a fairly successful last year (read more here), then I attribute a big chunk of that success to making some small changes in how I did things, or rather what I did differently last year than all the years before that… 

That’s not to say that I religiously follow it all every single day to the T, though that would be ideal, and it is one of my goals for this year… I mean, who else would know better than me (having experimented and experienced it first hand) as to what an impact some simple things (which we all probably already know about) can have on our daily productivity and in turn save a whole lot of time and in turn make us all successful (because, now we have more time on our hands to tackle other bigger goals)! 

And everything I mention below can be applied to all aspects of your life, personal, professional, and everything else in between…


LISTENING TO PODCASTS

Now you are probably like, ‘Kusum, that isn’t groundbreaking, we all listen to podcasts, all the time’ (in fact, I myself have written about it a few years ago, read more here). Totally True! I am not talking about just any podcast, but I am referring to ‘The Skinny Confidential Him & Her Podcast’ (TSC), if you aren’t listening to TSC then you are missing out big time! The absolutely-inspiring-power-couple Lauryn Evarts & Michael Bosstick cover such a wide range of topics on their podcast and dole out such excellent excellent advice that their podcast episodes leave you inspired every.single.week. From the guests they bring on board to interview to the depth of knowledge everyone on their show shares to the number of new (cool, healthy) topics/things they talk about and introduce their listeners to is commendable! Their podcast is a perfect pick-me-up to give you that much needed pep-talk when you need some inspiration, when you feel like ‘what the heck am I doing with my life?’, when you need to hit the reset button and restart or when you simply want to hear how a loving husband and wife banter ;) Sometimes, it is also good to hear your own thoughts and ideas being validated by someone else, that too by someone who is as hugely successful as these two! Note: If TSC is not your thing, then it could be other podcasts or even TED Talks too. 

A little backstory - I do not like to associate myself with anything that says ‘Skinny’ - it is a major major turn off for me as I believe that it sends a strong wrong message right from the start! So, even though I had heard about TSC podcast several times in the past, I had simply dismissed it (I know, my loss), but when one of the bloggers, Brighton Keller of Bright On The Day, someone who I had just started to follow last January mentioned about this podcast in her IG stories, then something about what she said struck a chord with me (now I don’t exactly remember what it was, but with that, she also immediately became my favorite blogger as she was one of the first big bloggers and Instagrammers who was so real and transparent on her IG, and so inspiring herself!). So, I listened to the first ever TSC episode that 1st week of January and it’s been LIFE CHANGING, #nokidding! I picked a totally random episode and was immediately hooked, and since January of last year, I have listened to every single episode right from episode #1 (and even to this day relisten to old episodes every so often)! 

P.S: In this case, ‘Skinny’ has a whole other meaning, won’t spill the beans here cuz I want you to give a few TSC episodes a listen and find out for yourself! 

P.P.S: Lauryn is just as obsessed as I am with everyone’s morning routine, just saying! :p 

P.P.P.S: My secret dream (well, not so secret now, is it?) is to meet this power couple in-person one day and have a nice long chat or to just invisibly follow them around for a day or two hehe (hey, a girl can dream!) :) 


BRAIN DUMPING

You guys, this is really MAJOR! Especially for someone whose mind just doesn’t stop working, thinking, observing and analyzing! I have all these thoughts, ideas, and random stuff (for the lack of a better word) that keeps coming at me all.the.time. And more often than not I don’t know what the heck to do with them? I mean who has the time to implement and execute every.single.idea that my crazy brain is pushing out? And not like all these random thoughts and ideas are fully-formed and noble-prize worthy either! So, how do I pick and choose what to dwell on and think through more, and what to let go and trash? But one thing is for sure, if I don’t do something about these thoughts they keep coming back to haunt me and thus take up more of my brain power. I also fear that I will forget some brilliant ideas in the process because my little brain doesn’t have the capacity to remember every.single.idea. So I used to waste a lot of time and energy thinking about the same things over and over, or even trying my hardest to remember (later when I am back at my computer) that important thought which came to my mind when I was cooking or cleaning. 

But that changed last year… as and when my brain thinks of something random (anything and everything under the sun) or something new, I open Evernote (or a journal) and start jotting things down (it was also the most effective when I boarded the flight to go on my solo trip, read more here). More often than not, this jotting down is nothing but poorly formed sentences, or sometimes just mere words (which only I can vaguely understand) but it has helped me immensely... 1. Now all my worthy and unworthy ideas are all in one place so I don’t have to worry about forgetting something 2. It makes space in my brain for other new thoughts, ideas and randomness 3. I go over these ideas once every few days and evaluate them with a more calm mind (not in that frenzy state of mind where I would want to get everything out of my system) and choose what I need to focus my energy on and pursue. 


TIME BLOCKING & TIME TRACKING

The hubs had been telling me to practice time blocking for so so long but it wasn’t until last year that I started time blocking + time tracking and noticed what an incredible difference it made to my productivity (of course, now he is like, you don’t ever do anything I tell you when I tell you :-o). You know, it is shocking (and embarrassing) to realize just how much time you waste when you are mindlessly scrolling through Instagram or browsing the internet, it all adds up and before you know it you have spent 5 hrs without doing anything really productive. Or even when you are being productive for that matter, like for example, spending way too much time editing photos (my biggest time hog. Sure, it is an important task, but spending 3 hrs to choose 10 pics is absolutely ridiculous). Or revisiting, rereading, re-editing the same blog post over a dozen times until I hit publish (it is why I take way too long to publish blog posts. I want everything to be perfect, sometimes its ok if there is an extra line between 2 paragraphs, right? now please make my brain be ok with that!). 

To tackle these issues, I first started by tracking how much time I spend on any given task - I do not use any fancy app or any cool device, but use the default clock app on my phone because my phone goes with me everywhere and it one less additional thing to carry (though you can totally buy this one from Amazon). I use the timer feature on the clock app, set it for 30 mins and start it. If I am being a good girl on a specific day, then you will see me using it every waking hour of every.single.day to track every.single.thing I do when I am awake. That way I am better able to assess when I am wasting time, when I am being productive, and when I need to make changes in what I do or in the way I do them. With that in mind, now I block certain time intervals and dedicate that time to specifically tackle one given task, and that cycle continues. It could be writing a blog post, responding to emails, or even cooking and cleaning. Because our superpower to multitask isn’t always a blessing! Which brings me to my next point…


TASK BATCHING

Task Batching is where you group a list of similar tasks together to complete during a dedicated time period of time without any other interruptions. This works great because you are already in that zone tackling a specific type of task and hence it greatly reduces the time and effort you put into completing other similar tasks one after another. Makes sense? Like for example, meal prepping for an entire week instead of cooking every day, or shooting all photos for your blog on a specific day of the week, etc. 

While the above 3 things (listening to podcasts, brain dumping, time blocking, and time tracking) don’t really require too much of an effort, task batching, on the other hand, requires more effort than simply saying, ‘I will write all the blog posts for one month in 2 days’. It requires one to be disciplined (something I talked about in this post), and it requires pre-planning - for example, you need to make a list of groceries and finish grocery shopping before meal prep day. Or take into account all of the deliverables, deadlines, etc, in other words, have your content calendar ready before planning your photoshoots for one day. 

So task batching, though I know is immensely beneficial in helping me be more productive and hence more successful, it is the one I struggle the most with, but I am slowly learning to master the art of task batching. Because, as I said, my mind is always going from one thing to another at 263478 miles/hr. And to top that, I am the queen of multi-tasking, #nokidding, by the time I finish writing one blog post I would have done 234 other things in between. This is where brain dumping also helps me to not lose sight of what I am currently doing as I can put everything that is not related to the task (batch) at hand on Evernote for me to tackle or review later. 


Hope these time-management tips and productivity hacks which have been a total game changer for me are going to be helpful to you too! 

And please share with me other tips or hacks of your own, thank you! 

Next up -> 1. The hashtag I came up with on January 1st to make it easy for me to achieve my goals this year, and hopefully, it will help you too. 2. Five simple things to do every day to make this the best year of your life.
AND MUCH MUCH MORE, SO STAY TUNED!







“Either you run the day, or the day runs you.”

xoxo,

Kusum

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