Posted on Leave a comment

Productivity Vs Procrastination: 5 Pertinent Points

Productivity Fist

Productivity vs Procrastination: Civil War.

Procrastination, ‘The Land of Counter-Productivity’, and civil unrest. Whether you’re studying, working, or developing a project, we’ve all journeyed there at one time or another. A self-destructive government wasting it’s resources, and you’re the President. But it’s time to clean up the streets, and appoint a new Secretary of Defence that isn’t so easily corrupted by fidget spinners and Netflix. The campaign for productivity has begun…

The 5 Pertinent Points of Productivity

Your productivity is measured by your level of quality output. This quality output is what you need to produce in order to achieve your goals. The more efficiently you can do this, the closer you’ll be to success. The first step towards being productive, is actually being there…

1. Be Where You Are.

This is a lesson on managing your internal and external environment, and the things that you can, and cannot control. Are you losing focus whilst writing an essay because you can’t help thinking about the deadline? Stop it. You can’t change the deadline. So put that thought aside, and concentrate on what you can do now, with the resources that you have available now.

2. Consider Your Goals.

Goal setting is an important part of creating direction and motivation that you need to consider. Why are you putting yourself through this? The process of achieving our goals may at times be tedious, but this hard work is what gives value to our goals in the first place. If it were easy and valuable, wouldn’t everyone have already achieved your goals?

3. Consider Your Consequences.

If goal setting is the positivity, then consequences are the negativity. Don’t ignore negativity simply because you fear it will classify you as a pessimist. Be aware of what you could be missing out on if you choose not to do the work required. But, don’t dwell on it. That is the difference between being a realist and a pessimist. Hoping to achieve your goals won’t achieve your goals.

4. Re-Think Your Approach.

This point refers to efficiency, productivity’s dearest relative. If you feel like you’re chasing your tail, perhaps its time to change your process. There will always be improvements and adjustments that can be made to the way you approach any activity. After all, nobody is perfect. So, time spent procrastinating could instead be spent on reviewing how you do things. Is your environment conducive to productivity? What could you change? What distractions could you avoid, and how?These questions will lead to improved efficiency and productivity.

5. Do Something Else.

If all else fails, you can declare a productivity vs procrastination cease-fire. Walk away, and do something different for a little while. That doesn’t mean go off and watch a feature length film. It also doesn’t necessarily mean that you should indulge in the activity that is causing you to procrastinate. If you’re studying, it might mean go for a walk to grab a coffee, and get back to work in ten minutes time. Basically, give yourself short breaks if you become distracted for a period of time, and then return ready to work.

Signing the Peace Treaty.

Learning to work harmoniously alongside the inevitable temptations of procrastination will take some doing. Follow The 5 Pertinent Points, and begin campaigning for a stronger balance of efficiency and productivity today. Like anything, you’ll refine and adjust as you go along… It may not be a perfect process, but with each step you take, you’ll be far closer to where you need to be. Realise your goals, and earn your happiness.

As always, thanks for reading and we’d love to hear your thoughts in the comment section below.

Posted on Leave a comment

Stress Management And Future Uncertainty: The Stress-Less Game Plan

TSA Footballer Soccer Cartoon Stress Management

Who Knows What the Future May Bring?

It’s an exciting thought, but also the source of much stress for many people. We live in an age of opportunity. And, although the socio-economic status of our readers varies greatly, you have internet access, so you’re already at a huge advantage! Vast opportunity is generally seen as being positive, although it can bring with it a degree of uncertainty. Who knows where you’ll end up in 10 years time? What if you haven’t progressed? What if you pursue the wrong opportunity, and it was all for nothing???

Put Your Stress to Rest… But not all of it.

A degree of stress can motivate us towards achieving our goals. It’s normal, and necessary. But if we succumb to it, then it can hinder our ability to capitalise on opportunities when they present. The ability to think clearly in stressful situations, comes from a general understanding of the internal (or micro) and external (macro) environment (a business analogy, where YOU are the organisation). The internal environment includes the things we can control, whereas the external environment covers the things we can’t control. Stress that stems directly from the external environment is generally unnecessary. This will only slow you down. Although it is good to be aware of external environmental factors, so that you can adapt accordingly. Your ability to adapt, refers to how well you manage your internal environment. These are the issues that you have the ability to change. So, exercise your control.

Exercising Your Control.

If there is an issue in the external environment causing you stress, consider what changes you can make internally to better cope with this issue. This is the process of exercising control, or explained simply, putting yourself in the driver’s seat. Lets use this theory in an example. Perhaps your employer has increased your hours, without a pay rise. Definitely a stressful situation. Whilst you can’t decide on your own pay increase, you can control your response. So lets focus on this. Perhaps you (diplomatically) express your disenchantment to your employer. You negotiate, however an agreement is not reached. You could strike, you could wait, you could find a new job. But, you can’t increase your own pay (external environment). Of course, you could take control of your own pay, by starting your own business. A difficult and extreme solution to the original issue, yes. But still within your control (internal environment). The lesson here, is that there is always a course of action that you can take within your internal environment, to influence the external environment.

The Stress of Uncertainty, and Taking Your Opportunities.

It’s easy to get caught up in the stress that is presented by the uncertainty of one’s future. For a student, the question might be “what career will I choose to work in for the rest of my life?”. A scary thought indeed. But the reality is that you don’t have to get it right the first go. Whats more important is your ability to recognise a worthwhile opportunity when it presents itself. Sometimes, you won’t know whether or not it is worthwhile until you give it a try. Whatever doesn’t work out, will serve as a valuable experience for the next opportunity. There is a very solid lesson here also, and that is that opportunity breeds opportunity. That’s not a typo, every opportunity that you engage will present another opportunity. Somewhere, somehow… You just need to be looking for it. It might present as a valuable lesson. Or perhaps be the refinement of your goals. Maybe it’s the career opportunity you’ve been searching so hard for. Eventually, all of these opportunities will lead to something special. Not taking your opportunities, is the only mistake that won’t teach you a lesson.

The Stress-Less Game Plan.

Lets outline what a stress management plan might look like if it were a game of football. At the end of the day, life is but a game. Success and stress go hand in hand. So tag it out of the game early, and reduce it’s negative impact on your life. Remember, there is no ‘I’ in team. The entire field must work together if you (the coach) ever expect to hold the premiership cup.

Offense

The best form of defense is offense! In other words, be proactive. Don’t wait for your stress to mount. By developing a firm understanding of the internal and external environment (what you can control vs what you can’t control) you’ll be well equipped to deal with stress when it does start to impact your game. So, critically analyse your environment, and sort the internal from the external. Beat stress before it makes it’s way into the back half!

Defense

In a football match, there are ebbs and flows. The ball simply cannot stay in your forward half forever. The same can be said of life. So, when stress does get on top, you need to exercise your control, and fight back. Put the external environment aside. Focus on what you can control. Make a positive impact by actioning the areas that can influence the external environment. Send a nice clearing ball into the forward half…

Midfield

Always involved in the play, this line represents the resilience, determination and accountability that will get you through the hard times. The midfield must help out the defense when they are under attack. They also have to create the zone, to make sure the ball doesn’t easily find it’s way out of the offensive half. This is an attitude towards life. A midfielder’s job is never done…

Final Note

The undertone of most of our articles is ‘accountability’. It’s all about self-help, in the direction of self-improvement. Back yourself, it’s never over until you say it’s over. Don’t yield to stress, follow the steps to manage it better, and allow yourself the opportunity to take your opportunities. Thanks again for reading, feel free to leave us your thoughts in the comments section below.

Posted on 4 Comments

Financial Stress: 6 Simple Management Strategies.

Monopoly financial stress

The Pressure of Financial Stress.

Pressure and stress can be factors that motivate us to work hard. But, if they’re not properly managed, they can hinder our ability to perform at a high level. Not only can this make it more difficult to appropriately manage our finances, but it can also be the cause of many stress-related health issues. There are a few simple ways that we can better manage financial stress, starting by simply taking a seat, and pulling out a pad and pen… Budgeting is the most obvious strategy, and we’ll discuss that in more depth later. However, one strategy that is often over looked by many people who suffer from financial stress and pressure, is the insatiable desire to compete with their neighbour. That’s why we’ve included this strategy at the top of our list:

6 Simple Management Strategies for Financial Stress

1. Ignore the Competition

Monopoly. Dubbed ‘The Game of Life’. Sadly, it’s a truth that is all too real. Many of us lose track of why we set out to earn in the first place, and tend to measure our financial achievements against those of our friends and family. Do you live to work, or work to live? What are your priorities? Before you start looking at how you will spend your money, or how you can save more money, you need to consider the why. You may not need all of the lovely expensive things that your wealthy friends have. Don’t put yourself under severe financial stress, and over-extend so that you can achieve somebody else’s financial goals. So, before engaging the following 5 strategies, put the competition aside, and focus on what suits your lifestyle. 

2. Set Financial Goals

Goals provide us with the direction and motivation needed to succeed. Of course, it does take a little more than simply setting goals in order to succeed (mental toughness for one). But it certainly is a great place to start. Set a long-term goal, and then a series of short-term goals that will act as ‘stepping stones’ towards achieving that long-term goal. To break it down further, you can brainstorm some daily, and weekly activities that will help you in reaching each goal you set. For example, if your long-term financial goal is to purchase your first home in 2 years, a short-term goal might be to save $10,000 in six months. Your daily/weekly activities might be cooking everyday, instead of eating out, or counting and reviewing your expenditure every week. 

3. Create a Budget

The absolute staple of every financial planning/management article you’ll ever read. Budgeting is important, as it helps you to set realistic financial goals. It’s also a great way to consider how your finances can best serve your lifestyle/priorities. Using the example above, perhaps purchasing a home in 2 years is a goal for you, although you are unwilling to sacrifice regular brunch dates. Thats fine, if thats what fulfils you, although you may need to reconsider the time frame you’ve set to purchase your first home. Depending on your circumstances, you might like to use a budgeting template, or just create a very simple one yourself. Make sure you track your in-goings and outgoings, and ensure that you have a realistic savings goal so that you always put money aside. 

4. Enjoy Without Spending

The advertising industry has you convinced that you can’t have fun without spending money. It’s a lie, but for some reason, we all believe it. Usually, the lies we believe are the ones that are convenient for us to believe… But this lie is extremely inconvenient! So, instead of subscribing to this common misconception, find something fulfilling that you can without spending money. Can you converse with your friend whilst walking in the park and eating a banana, instead of sitting in at a cafe and eating poached eggs with avocado? Probably. We won’t ramble on any longer about all of the great things you can do for free, but to immediately relieve some of that financial stress, go and find something!

5. Live Within Your Means

Living to excess in any facet of life can be dangerous, and a major contributing factor to financial stress is excessive spending. Credit card debt, personal loans, and crippling mortgages won’t make life any easier. Each of these examples of over-spending are usually quite avoidable, simply by exercising some restraint. Once you’ve sat down and budgeted, you’ll have a better idea of what you can and can’t do financially. Your goal will one day be to make a significant outlay in order to satisfy a ‘want’, and that’s fine. But excessive spending in the mean time will not help you to get there any faster. So, be smart, and be disciplined. It will pay off. 

6. Consider New Opportunities

This is a step that might not suit everyone, but it can’t hurt to add it in. Opportunities for new revenue streams are a click away these days… I mean hey, you could start a blog! If it’s something you are passionate about, it might also double as your new ‘free’ hobby. You could be creating a new opportunity to earn, and saving yourself money at the same time. Of course, there are a multitude of opportunities out there for those who are actively seeking them. If supplementing your income is something you’ve always been interested in, why not do a bit of research? But don’t wait until tomorrow, it may never come… 

Final note…

Financial stress is bound to strike at some stage, so be proactive in your approach to stress management. Check out our previous article about managing stress, and get across ‘The Stress-Less Game Plan’. As always, thanks for reading, and we’d love to hear what you think in the comments section below.

Posted on 2 Comments

The Success Blueprint: Defining, Planning And Achieving

TSA Success Cartoon

What is Success?

Success can have a number of definitions, depending on who you’re asking. That is an important lesson in it’s self. Success is relative. Relative to your environment, level of ability, and goals. Often, people tend to focus on the success of others, and forget to consider their own achievements. If you’re an actor, don’t belittle your efforts that were recognised by the local theatre’s awards night, simply because Leo has an Oscar. Each small victory is a stepping stone towards your next successful endeavour. The recognition and confidence attained from being crowned the best local actor will translate to personal growth and development. If you have the work-ethic to match, this will expose you to a new environment, with new measures of success. But remember, every good idea needs a plan…

The Success Blueprint.

It doesn’t just happen. You need to make it happen. You can’t wish it’s way into your life, nor can you purchase it. So what is it, exactly? That’s the first thing you need to figure out… What does your success look like? This leads us to step one of the planning process:

1. Defining Your Success (Long-Term Goals).

This is how you will define and measure your own success. Perhaps start with one major goal to begin with. This goal may seem far away, but don’t sell yourself short just yet. If all we did was set long-term goals, we’d almost never reach them. So, we need to map out a path towards achieving these long-term goals, which brings us to step two.

2. Paving the Way (Short-Term Goals).

Your long-term goal probably looks pretty scary right now… Fear of failure is normal, and often a motivating factor towards achieving our goals. However, sometimes it can prevent people from ever embarking on the journey. If you can map out the steps required in order to achieve your goals, you will give yourself a greater shot at success. So, in chronological order, what minor successes will you need to achieve in order to reach your long-term goal?

3. The Daily Grind (Regular Practices)

This step breaks down the goal-setting process even further. What activities, processes and practices will you need to consider on a regular basis in order to achieve each short-term goal that you have set for yourself? Often, these are the activities that require discipline and a strong work-ethic. Ideally, your vision is something you are passionate about, and therefore you should enjoy the process of achieving it. But, reality tells us that you won’t always enjoy it. So, are you willing to endure? This could be the make or break of your overall success.

4. Implementing, Refining and Achieving

You have set yourself long, and short-term goals. You have considered the regular practices and activities that will allow you to achieve those goals. You’ve recognised the level of discipline and mental toughness required to complete these regular activities. Now, you are ready to implement your plan and start achieving. As you achieve each small step, and immerse yourself in ‘The Daily Grind’ activities, your knowledge of what is required in order to achieve your goals will develop. This generally means that you’ll need to rethink some aspects of stages two and three of your ‘Blueprint’. All of this refinement, as a result of engaging your plan, will bring you closer to the success that you’ve been working towards.

Managing Your Expectations (and failures).

It would be nice to see everybody achieving their goals, and being happy, and helping one-another.  But if you’re waiting for that to happen, you’ll be waiting for a very, very long time. The reality is that we won’t all get to achieve the success that we’ve set out for. But that’s what makes success so special; the inevitability of failure. Failure is not the end of success, but rather an important part of achieving our goals. It might even be the reason you navigated your way to this post to read about success in the first place. What better way to describe it’s role in the process of achieving your goals? An understanding of this balance will help you to better respond to the challenges that will present throughout your journey towards success.

The Journey, Not The Destination.

A classic cliche that you’ve no doubt heard before, but one that we all need to constantly remind ourselves. Embarking on the sort of journey outlined in ‘The Success Blueprint’ will create opportunity. And opportunity breeds opportunity. Your idea of success will grow and develop, as you continue to. Your goals will shift, and you’ll be met with many more challenges and opportunities along the way. Most people will opt-out, and choose a far less stressful existence. For those who choose to persist, success will be as inevitable as failure. And that’s as good a ratio as one can ever expect.

Final Note

Setting yourself goals and finding the discipline to achieve them comes with a variety of challenges. You’ll need to understand how to manage pressure and stress, and develop the mental toughness to maintain focus when failure presents. As always, thanks for reading and we wish you all the success in the world! If you have any thoughts you’d like to share, we’d love to see them in the comments section below.