How to Be a Strategist in Daily Life 165

be a strategist in life

In life you need to be a strategist.

You should use tactics, always be mindful and with a plan in mind, and willing to try new things in order to see what works best for you.

I came to that conclusion some time ago. It’s the result of all the information I’ve consumed on productivity, success habits, building a powerful mindset, and more, over the years. That includes my own experiments, my constant desire to see progress by doing things the smart way.

Little daily improvements lead to personal excellence.

After all, you don’t need to try to be ahead of others. Comparison itself is pointless and only brings negative emotions. You job is to be on top of your game. And that can happen by developing good habits first, taking control of your time, and being strategic.

Now, the tactics I’m talking about here don’t need to be aggressive. The fact that you’re winning doesn’t mean someone else should be losing.

It’s all about eliminating anything you do that doesn’t give you results, doing regular stuff faster, breaking big goals down to manageable action steps, tricking your mind into being productive when it doesn’t want to, saving time, working smarter rather than harder, and so on.

So let’s dive into the strategies we can implement today to take personal development to the next level and never feel stuck again:

How to Be Strategic?

1. Do your research.

That’s preparation. And it doesn’t need to be complicated. Get out there – online or in real life – and speak with people, read about anything related to your field, see what others have tried and how you can avoid their mistakes.

2. Plan.

Once you have the information, you can make a plan. Start with the end goal in mind. Then break it down into smaller ones. Now do it again and again until you have tiny steps and can start with the first one right away.

3. Experiment.

The whole point of being strategic is to always find better ways to do stuff – in less time and for maximum productivity. That’s why you need to be open to doing things differently.

The moment you stop seeing progress, a change needs to be made. But even if you consider yourself successful, it doesn’t mean that there isn’t an even smarter way to do it. So the trials need to continue.

The goal is to always be looking for what works best for you, and eliminating anything that doesn’t bring you big wins.

4. Think.

That should be done at every step of the process, all the time. Brainstorming, generating ideas and just contemplating on the big picture. It engages your brain more, unleashes your creativity.

Whatever you come up with, write it down. It may be useful after some time (that’s an example of a simple strategy that works pretty well).

5. Track.

Everything needs to be documented. A true strategist keeps track of any area of his life he wants to improve. Here are the 7 things I’m tracking and the benefits that habit brought me.

My 3 Favorite Strategists of All Time

Here’s just another chance for me to mention some incredible people I admire:

1. Sebastian Marshall.

He describes himself this way “I’m a strategist. I figure out what is winning, and then how to get there.”

He’s famous for his super detailed tracking system. Here’s what he says about strategies:

“Grand strategy is figuring out what the goals of an organization or a solo person ought to be. Arguably, this is the hardest part of strategy, because there is no right or wrong answer. It’s subjective. And if you work on the wrong stuff, it doesn’t matter how good of a job you do at it

Most people don’t think about this very often, probably less than once a year after they’re solidly in their career. Me? I try to look at my overall large goals, dreams, and big plans at least once every week or two.

It’s difficult to do, and even the best strategists don’t get everything right. The harder and more important the problems you’re working on, the less likely your first guesses as to strategy will pay the results you think they will. Thus, you need to adapt your strategy as you get more information.

Tactics are the specific implementation of your strategy. Tactics are small-sized chunks of actions that are designed to put your strategy into action.

2. Tim Ferriss.

If you’re familiar with his work, then you know what I’m talking about. He’s one of the original lifestyle designers and life hackers, and is all about experiments. The latest proof for that is The Tim Ferriss Experiment – a TV show where he tries something that seems impossible to learn in a week or so and masters it without ever having tried it before.

He’s a jack of all trades and with every new article, book, podcast, interview, TV show, or else he produces, he shares super powerful and yet easy tactics on how to hack every area of our lives – from building muscles, learning a foreign language (like Chinese, for example) and dancing tango (in which he set a World Record, by the way) to kickboxing (became a national champion in China) and writing a bestseller (The 4-Hour Workweek , 4-Hour Chef, 4-Hour Body). These are just some of the more attention-grabbing details from his past.

The rest of the time he masters his sleep, memory, body and mind, and is always looking for a way to become a better learner, more productive, healthy and focused.

A small part of the things he hacked during the first season of The Tim Ferriss Experiment, for instance, includes Brazilian jiu-jitsu, playing poker professionally, rally car racing, starting a business from scratch, tactical shooting, open-water swimming, and more.
And his motto is that if he can do it, we can do it too. Amazing, right?!

3. Oliver Emberton.

The third person that comes to mind when I think about strategists in the modern world is this guy. I actually wrote a whole article explaining what’s so extraordinary about him. Check it out.

My Daily Life Strategies

And here’s some of the stuff that works well for me:

1. Finding my most productive time.

That does require many trials. I still remember the time when I used to think that I’m just a night owl and that’s when I’m most creative.
But here I am at 6 every morning writing page after page, building sites, completing work tasks, and – in a nutshell – getting things done.

I’m most productive in the first part of the day. That’s why I schedule my days around it. No one is allowed to disturb me then. It’s my sacred time, when I do what I do best and see results.

2. Making money online.

I’m a full-time freelance writer now, but am constantly working on new stuff. Yes, I do self-publish books, write for others sites every now and then, get interesting offers, and try different monetization strategies on this blog. However, writing for clients is what brings the money.

But my ongoing quest to hack the digital world includes daily research and experimenting. I do enjoy it more and more and am an eager learner. That’s how I started with the basics of web design, niche site building, SEO, copywriting, and other powerful skills that everyone who works online should improve when he’s not doing the work that actually brings in the money. That’s also how I got into ecommerce, started working with marketing networks, etc.

And I know that if I want to see progress and eventually create digital businesses, I’ll need to get out of my comfort zone. Yes, it exists in the online world too.

I do feel quite comfortable writing, blogging, editing and working with high volumes of information. And these skills will always be practical. It’s what I would have been doing for free anyways.

But just like I started becoming more tech-savvy although I always said that technology wasn’t my thing, I’ll also explore new fields.

I can re-purpose content in many different ways (create infographics, courses, use SlideShare to make presentations, offer my books in audio format, etc), while using what I’ve already written.

I want to try podcasting too. Been listening to them for so long now, and feel confident when speaking. I can easily conduct podcast interviews, just talk freely when I’m abroad and sharing tips and hacks, or use content I’ve already created to share useful information in a new way. And thus reach new audiences via iTunes, for instance.

In order to scale things, I have to start paying for services, delegating work that doesn’t need to get done by me, and let experts do what I’m not good at. For that to happen, I can hire writers, VAs, designers, etc. Or just buy gigs every now and then. There are cheap ways to do this nowadays, and plenty of people waiting for tasks to work on.

That will not only get me ahead in my work, but will also help me make another mindset shift. Just like a first online sale changes the way you think (as you see things are possible and now your job is to make the second one), so does hiring your first person, getting help, working with professionals, etc.

I’m okay with basic HTML, but coding is one of the most powerful skills these days and is never useless. So that’s another direction I may be heading.

3. Starting a new behavior strategically.

When we talk about habits, checking out the best content I’ve written on the topic is worth it.

And here are all the hacks I’ve found to work best when ingraining a new behavior and trying to make it stick.

So what do you think? Is there a strategist somewhere inside you? What can you do today to improve your performance and achieve more?

Image by Marshall Matthew @Flickr

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How to Stay Focused When Studying: 5 Tips to Keep You From Getting Distracted 17

How to Stay Focused When Studying: 5 Tips to Keep You From Getting Distracted

All people have been interested in studying at one moment in their lives. There are different goals set for diverse learners and each of them requires serious learning at one point in time.

Successful learners are those with full concentration during their studies as this helps them in remembering what was learned and apply it in the undertaken tests. However, irrespective of the reasons as to why people study, most of the times one would have his mind invaded by different thoughts distracting his concentration.

It is also possible to have one diverted by noises and stories made by one’s roommates, children, and neighbors among others.

With these intrusions, an individual would lose focus and this is what is required to be successful in what one was reading. It is therefore important to identify possible issues that can lead to distraction in order to come up with the most appropriate ways of remaining focused. Here are some tips:

1. Pick the right time and place when reading.

This helps in getting rid of the clear distractions.

For instance, a person would not easily focus if he chooses to study in the presence of friends who are engaged in other activities. Similarly, one would not read well if with music, television, phone, or computer on.

Once the phone vibrates or rings, an individual would be tempted to answer and this would divert his attention.

In understanding how to stay focused, it is recommended that a reader has conducive environment bearing in mind that different learners would stay alert at different circumstances.

This is an indication that no single environment fits all types of students. The right time would also involve studying at the moment when a learner feels comfortable with the schedule such as in the evening or very early in the morning.

The place chosen should not be the classroom or bedroom. But rather a quiet and nice place with a relaxed sitting position such as the library or the office.

2. Take frequent breaks.

How to Increase Your Productivity No Matter Where You Are

In addition, tips for students indicate that instead of succumbing to distraction, a pupil has to take short breaks.

When engaged in 45-minutes of learning, the student should take breaks of between ten and twenty minutes. Taking longer of breaks of over 20 minutes are dangerous for they might lead to forgetting what one was initially studying.

By planning breaks with an alarm, you not miss them or accidentally take longer ones.

Breaks are considered very crucial because they help the brain to recharge after processing the earlier acquired information. Breaks involving walking around should also be taken as an opportunity to improve recalling memory and test scores.

Breaking in between reading is, therefore, a good way of ensuring that a reader does not overburden his brain/mind with information that would not be processed. Taking pauses in between the reading session refreshes the brain and makes it possible to read for long and wide volumes.

3. Staying focused while reading is also linked with staying motivated.

As stated on EssayZoo, there are different forms of distractions for varied learners and this can be addressed by understanding the reason behind one’s studying.

This is done by taking a test or exam as something meant to challenge the reader’s learning. Since a person’s learning would eventually be rated, the process should start by setting a goal.

Even though the set goal should not be unrealistic, it should be challenging so that the learner can perform better than he has been found in the past tests or maybe better than people expect.

Once an individual is able to surprise others based on their expectations, he would feel motivated to continue studying.

Additionally, learning should be motivated with a reward, which acts as a form of self-control by ensuring that a student is compensated for hard work, studying well, being prepared, and performing well in an exam.

Encouragement should also be done by understanding what learning is important, which is different for diverse readers but all meant to enhance attentiveness to achieve personal goals.

4. Getting enough sleep during studying is a vital way of improving concentration.

What It Really Takes to Write a Book [+Free Documentary]

Even though many of the times pupils learn under pressure especially when exams are near, this does not mean an individual should read without sleep.

Just like taking breaks during a day of reading, sufficient sleep refreshes the brain and makes it ready to be fed with and process acquired information.

Learning is successful if one can remember and apply the learned information during a test. This is possible if a person is able to actively concentrate during the planned hours of studying.

According to tips for students, studying for long hours without break or sleep is on strenuous and does not bear the expected results.

Dedicating at least 6-8 hours of sleep ensures that a person wakes up fresh, alert, ready, and relaxed for the day’s scheduled learning activities.

Once ready to learn, a student would be organized and in an ordered place with only the reading materials a person requires, aware of the number of hours to spend on a topic, and the number of breaks he will take including their times.

5. Stay calm to concentrate.

Lastly, remaining focused when learning can be done by practicing concentration.

Once a student has everything he needs on the table, he should not postpone the learning exercise. It is advisable that a pupil is aware of the most crucial information to study first before proceeding to the rest. This is to ensure that one is guided by key concepts that would make the learning enjoyable and encouraging.

Also, practice concentration by not panicking, minimize computer and phone use, don’t listen to music unless it aids in studying, and remaining on topic.

It is notable that by panicking, one would make mistakes.

So make sure you remain calm, take deep breaths, and convince yourself that you read, understand, and pass the exams.

Further, a student should turn the computer, Internet, and the cell phone off to ensure maximum concentration. This is to avoid responding to text messages or searching via the Internet things that are not related to the topic of study.

It is arguable that listening to music when learning acts as a distraction because the learner is provided with additional information to process thus interfering with the real intention of the learning process.

In order to stay on-topic, you shouldn’t explore different subjects at the same time more so when studying boring, complex, and unexciting topics.

Studying would thus be effective if a person remains focused in order to achieve the set goals. Nobody enrolls for a course or learning institution without a goal. This would be achieved if concentration is always at its maximum.

While there are major ways of enhancing attentiveness, the discussed ones in this essay are picking the right time and place, instead of succumbing to distraction, taking short breaks, staying motivated, getting enough sleep, and practicing concentration.

The aim is to ensure that a learner understands the importance of learning and is committed to achieving his intentions.