Congratulations, you’ve marched on right through the month of March. Now, it’s time to get your gears into overdrive for quarter two. When it comes to professional development, there’s always an area for you to improve upon. If you want to be the best version of yourself, you’re going to have to look inside yourself first.
There are plenty of ways for you to improve your life professionally, and while the concrete jungle is moving at a fast pace, you should take a breath, slow down, pick up a new habit, apply it and see how it makes a difference.
According to research, the importance of physical exercise isn’t limited to its health benefits. It also affects your brain’s ability to grow and learn. There are plenty of professionals who hit the gym before work, after or both, but, if you’re pressed for time – there are instructional videos that run for under 10 minutes which you can follow in the comfort of your own home. Your quick workout doesn’t have to take hours, it just needs to be intense enough to make an impact.
Try this: 7-minute workout by Lifehack
Skip the snooze button
Before you bite my head off for suggesting that you give up your last few precious minutes of sleep, there’s a more meaningful way for you to spend the first few minutes of your day besides yawning as you scroll through your social media news feed.
Here’s what you can do instead. Start your day with gratitude. Recount all the things that went right during the previous day and make a mental list of all the things you’re grateful for that morning (waking up is a big one on the list, just saying). This will help you get in the right frame of mind for the day ahead.
Jump in a cold shower
Cold showers help increase your alertness, mood, strengthen your immunity and circulation, burn fat. It even helps refine your hair and skin. Research has also said that it’s a great way to give your mental toughness a boost.
Savour your meals
More often than not, we’re doing something else while we are eating. Experts suggest eating mindfully instead. Being fully present instead of watching tv, looking through your phone, reading a magazine or newspaper while you eat is said to help your body absorb food nutrients better. The next time you’re having a meal, savour it and see if it makes a difference.
Press play: podcasts
You can make the most out of the time you spend on your weekly commute by listening to a work-related podcast or TED Talk instead. If doing this during the week is a hassle, opt to set aside an hour during the weekend instead.
You could also pair it with your chores. For example, listening to a podcast while you sort through your laundry or while you declutter your room. Pairing chores with a reward can also help you look forward to chore time instead of approaching these tasks with a negative attitude.
Look for maximum impact
Invest in activities that can impact your professional and personal lives. For example, The Co. Kuala Lumpur organizes talks by different professionals, yoga classes and more that you can be a part of at their coworking space. Become a member and join in their member’s breakfast sessions. Not only will this help you expand your professional circle, you’ll pick up something new too.
Just last month, they hosted a Facebook Marketing 101 talk by Teo Sue Lin, the Digital Media Manager at Lion & Lion. If you’re interested in yoga, join their Hatha yoga session on Tuesdays with Theresa Data for RM25. Class starts at 6.45pm and remember to BYOM (bring your own mat).
Put your LinkedIn account to work
Professionals from various industries have discovered the benefits of having a LinkedIn account. Not only is it an avenue for you to keep track of your professional connections digitally, there are groups, articles, and threads for you to participate in, exchange views and learn from. Information sharing is all the rage these days, and there are a lot of people on LinkedIn who have their finger on the pulse. Richard Branson for example always has something interesting to share.
Tackle tasks in threes
Before you get to work or the night before – write down three important tasks that are your top priority for the next day. Once you get to work, put all your focus into completing those three tasks before you start doing anything else.
Stand up more often
We weren’t built to be sedentary creatures. Sure, technology has made it even more enticing to spend hours sitting down but doing it for prolonged periods (aka 8 hours a day at your desk jobs) is bad for your health. This simply means that you need to shake up your routine. Take short breaks away from your screen and your desk. Instead of chatting with your colleague over IM, walk over to his/her desk to talk.
Organize with the “Eisenhower Box”
Take a page out of America’s 34th President, Dwight Eisenhower (source). The “Eisenhower Box” decision making strategy challenges you to separate your tasks into these four categories:
- Urgent and important (tasks you will work on immediately).
- Important, but not urgent (decide on tasks you will schedule to do later).
- Urgent, but not important (tasks you will delegate to someone else).
- Neither urgent nor important (tasks that you will remove from your list).
Hey, if you want to get ahead of the game, you have to do the leg work and learn new skills.