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Pagan’s guide to improving by just 1% each day

Pagan’s guide to improving by just 1% each day

Written by Pagan Harrison-Brown

2022 seems to be the year that people decided they wanted and needed to do better. Perhaps it’s because of COVID, TikTok and Instagram Reels are lit up with people ‘having their life together’. Well… what looks like they have their life together and sometimes we get curious to know what they have done, or what we could be doing to achieve that.

No, I am not suggesting you pack up everything, move to a different country and re-invent yourself to help get your life together. I am suggesting we take this one step at a time, form new habits, get rid of old ones, and do things that will help us become our best selves along the way. It is a journey that needs to happen, but you must want to do it.

When it comes to improving by as little as 1% every day, you should hopefully be making improvements on habits each week. Things like reading 2 articles related to your interest or industry each morning, getting your workout done in the morning with your phone away, getting in a 20-minute walk, or completing 3 set goals (work or life). It is the small things that will set you up, help your mindset and get ‘your life together’. These hacks can help guide you to being more efficient, organised and less stressed.

My time management hacks

  • The two-minute rule
    • If you see a task or action that you know can be done in two minutes or less, do it immediately
    • If you are in a creative flow and something pops up, don’t do it
  • Make your own deadlines
    • Just because you have 100 things due in one day, doesn’t mean they are due in one day
    • You must set your own deadlines way in advance, according to your own schedule
    • Prepare
    • Set deadlines according to your time-blocking, give yourself a realistic amount of time to complete the tasks
    • The deadline is not your deadline. Which means you can schedule in off time when you are burning out, rather than drowning yourself for weeks on end.
  • Tasks vs time
    • Work by task rather than time
    • Get to understand how much capacity you have and work on tasks accordingly
    • ALSO, if you are having a day where you are finding it hard to concentrate, you can set yourself a few easier tasks to complete and give yourself a break.

My productivity hacks

  • Be aware of how long tasks take you
    • You will find it harder to plan effectively if your estimates are off
    • Spend a week or so monitoring and taking notes of how long it takes to do a simple task or complete a larger task. With this you will be more in touch with your working processes and capabilities
  • Stop multitasking
    • In meetings: stay engaged
      • They can be draining on effective time, but you must use them properly
      • Plan ahead of time to make sure you get the most out of them in the least amount of time
      • Write down your questions beforehand and have an agenda in place
    • COMMIT to the task you are doing rather than multi-task and you will get it done in half the time
    • Learn to engage in deep work
  • Learn what technology enhances your focus rather than hinders it
    • A news feeder block to reduce scrolling to help you get work done faster
    • Using a time managing app to help police your time blocking

On those days where you need to be productive:

  • Set 3 tasks you absolutely must do
  • Make sure you get them done by the end of the day
  • If these tasks line up with your long-term goals, you are making progress
  • Get 3 tasks done a day and choose 3 more for the next day

Getting back into it

  • Write out a list of goals
    • Keep them realistic, set yourself up for success
    • Start slow so you don’t burn yourself out
  • Write out a full schedule for the week ahead
    • Slot in exactly where the above goals are going to be met (gym, UNI, work)
    • Make sure you have enough time for rest, or you will burn out.
  • Set an alarm
    • Get up early
    • Make yourself a drink
    • Get moving

Monday mornings

  • Set goals for the week ahead
  • Think of 3 things you are going to progress with that week that are in line with your longer-term goals and write them down
  • If these goals are outside of your 9-5/full time concentration, schedule them into your week today to make sure you can fit them in
  • Consistency is key.

As the semester comes to an end and we head onto break, slowly implementing these hacks each day will help you in being more organised and on top of work, UNI, and life. You do not have to do all these hacks all at once, but by doing them weekly you will feel like you have your life together and will get things done faster and more efficient. 

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