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How to Make “Me Time,” Your Time

For the first few months of the pandemic, we all needed a little “me time.” It was a great opportunity to reorganize, relax, and reevaluate. However, you can only look at the past and present for so long before you start craving future plans. Read to see how you can turn “me time,” into your time with effective goal-setting tricks, tips for self-motivation, and ideas for taking yourself to the next level.

The Art of Goal-Setting

That “I got this” feeling.

It’s easy to say you’re going to do that one thing one day. It’s another to actually say when. Or, for that matter, actually do it.

Goal-setting is more than screaming into the void with conviction about your plans. It’s an art, and it requires practice. When goal-setting, think SMART: specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timed. Defining the different aspects of your goal will help make it a reality.

Think of goal-setting like making a friend. You wouldn’t have a strong connection with a stranger. Nor with someone you only see once in a while. The best result you’d get would be a casual wave or a behind-the-mask smile. The same occurs with goals. In order to achieve a goal effectively, you have to get to know it. 

The best part about goal-setting: cool stationery.

Setting time away from computers and distractions can help streamline your thinking process. In fact, a retired U.S. Navy Seal claims setting time apart to think helped him realize his purpose. Here are some questions to guide your thinking process:

  1. Where do you want to be at the end of this year? How about 5 years?
  2. How can you keep track of this goal? What are the milestones?
  3. Can you achieve this goal on your own? What resources do you need?
  4. Do you believe in yourself?
  5. Can you realistically accomplish this goal?

Knowing what you want to achieve is the beginning of actually accomplishing it. After that, goal-setting is a matter of holding yourself accountable.

Becoming Your Own Coach

Bill Belichick. One of the most notorious, stoic yet encouraging faces on the football field. In a way, you should be like Bill when motivating yourself: your own strong and stable coach. While you can definitely cheer yourself on, becoming your own coach paves the way to success with accountability and planning. Rely on inner stability, confidence, control and consistency for effective motivation.

Eyes on what’s on the horizon.

There are two types of motivation: extrinsic and intrinsic. Extrinsic motivation refers to the actions you perform for an external reward or to avoid punishment. It’s all about the final result. For example, running a marathon so you can get a picture at the finish line.

Intrinsic motivation refers to doing an action that you find personally rewarding. It’s all about the journey. Let’s revisit the marathon example. If you were running for the benefit of making your mind and body stronger, each and every practice would feel rewarding. Both types of motivation have their uses. However, when it comes to goal-setting, the intrinsic motivational factors get the job done.

All smiles over here.

Ayelet Fischbach, Professor of Behavioral Science and Marketing at The University of Chicago, recommends breaking down tasks into elements that you find joy or satisfaction within to encourage intrinsic motivation. For instance, listening to music while tackling tasks, or changing your perception of a presentation from a scary moment to an opportunity to show the world how great you are. 

Motivating yourself is key to starting your goals, and eventually achieving them. It’s the fuel that gives you the drive you need.

Why Now?

The number of unemployed people in the U.S. is 7.8 million higher than it was in February. As companies try to rebuild their staff after laying off many during the pandemic, many interviewers will want to know how you spent your free time. Or, if you already have a job, there’s never been a better time to work on elevating your skills and knowledge. In light of these times, we have gathered a few ideas anyone can use to make the most of their times indoors.

1. LinkedIn Learning Courses: 

Extra credit if you watch the LinkedIn courses in a suit.

From now until September 30, 20 of the most popular LinkedIn courses from the past year are free to non-Premium members. Take advantage of this irreplaceable opportunity to get ahead of the crowd! 

2. Hit the Books

Learn to learn.

There are endless resources around for you to gain updated knowledge about your field, or even get another degree. We recommend our friends at Curry College, who make education not only feasible, but also incredibly valuable. With a variety of majors and programs, you could earn your master’s in as little as 2 years at Curry. 

There’s also Coursera, which offers hundreds of online courses from a variety of notable institutions, ready for the taking. 

3. Network Like No Tomorrow

The safer face-to-face communication.

With hundreds of applicants in the pool, what you know is becoming the same, if not less important, than who you know. Charles Tharp, a Questrom School of Business professor at Boston University, recommends efficient networking should center around advice and emotions.

Asking for advice from professionals in your circle (rather than for jobs) can help reveal areas where you can improve or provide different routes for exploring your interests. In addition, establishing emotional connections with your friends, family, and colleagues can strengthen the quality and longevity of your relationships. At the end of the day, being a person and helping others maintains community in a world where everyone is six feet apart.

4. Side Hustle and Bustle

Paint and craft away.

Side gigs, or side hustles, are becoming just as common as blue-light glasses. 64% of Americans 24-and-up who lost their job or had hours reduced said they have or are planning to have a side gig, according to an April survey. While a great way to make money on the side, side gigs also are great for exploring your passions.

Etsy makes it easy to sell handmade crafts, or you could create your own merch on Redbubble. Who knows? Maybe your side hustle could become your main one someday.

You can’t spell game time without “me time.” Take control of the resources around you, plan ahead, and set yourself up for a future of success.

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