What I learnt this month: March 2017

The financial year in India has come to an end and I took the opportunity of the year ending as MY year ending hoping to push myself by setting a deadline of 31st of March for some of my pending projects.

Did it work?

I didn’t necessarily finish everything I had to simply because there were things constantly adding to my list which were more urgent.

But, was it a waste of time? No, because I probably got more things done in that last week of March than any other week in the month. So, at the end of the day, I did win.

So, here are some additional tips that I picked up along the way of trying to cram as much as I could in that very tiny little 31 day month.

  1. Set deadlines

I know that we have deadlines for the big things in our lives either set by ourselves or others we are accountable to but, there are the little things that need deadlines too, just to make life more interesting. If I had not set the 31st March deadline, as I mentioned in the intro to the blog, that month would have been just like any other month where I obviously would have gotten work done, but in the usual way. Now, however, I powered through meetings, I multi-tasked whenever possible, I listened to audio books in my car, I stayed back late after work, I even typed faster and forced myself to complete those personal and professional projects that were piling up all around me. To tell you the truth, it was fun. I enjoyed the momentum. I enjoyed the challenge. I enjoyed the adrenaline rush that overcame me as I finished a task and checked it off my list.  I challenge you to challenge yourself to finish something by the end of the song, or the day or the week. You can choose an hour slot or a special day to complete your challenge and if not anything else, it will definitely make your life more interesting.

  1. Take time to think

As an introvert, I should be pretty good at taking time to think but I many a times cover up that time with sound and background noise that doesn’t actually give me that time at all. If I am sitting still, I put something on the laptop or put on some distracting music and my time alone with my thoughts is lost. This month I intentionally chose to shut down the background noise as much as possible, unless absolutely necessary and took that time to think. Thoughts need that free flow through your mind, they need to be thought and then filtered and only then can they become ideas. Oftentimes, our thinking is only limited to the times where we are forced to think and I can only imagine how many brilliant ideas are stuck inside the minds of people. So, take that time, whether it is during a walk outside, or a quiet evening or even while watching the sunrise in the morning to spend some time alone with your thoughts.

My thinking time is during my nightly runs.

  1. Chip at it. Chip at the big stuff and do the small stuff in between.

The ‘big stuff’, usually the large time-consuming chores, the mind boggling puzzles or the research-needing projects are just some things we try to avoid until the very last minute. I am guilty of doing it all the time. This month I learnt to just start. I learnt to just sit and force myself to chip away at the big stuff until it was big no more. If it became too overwhelming, I would switch to a smaller, less mind needing job and then I was back, using my mind and chipping away at the massive task ahead of me and it worked. It worked because it did not scare me as I knew I had the time to complete said task. It worked because I could finish the smaller tasks sooner in the many breaks that I took. It worked because I realized that the time I spent worrying about the task was exponentially more than the time it took me to do the actual task anyway. So, if you are in that place where you do not know where on earth to start, just sit down at your work space of choice and begin. Chip at it for at least 5 minutes and then take it from there. It gets easier, I promise.

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