SKILLS DEVELOPMENT / 24 July 2020Soft Skills: Why They are Harder Than You Think and How You Can Acquire Them
The world is moving at a fast pace. We run the risk of losing the race if we don’t keep up. That doesn’t mean stressing yourself out about all the things you haven’t done. It just means finding ways to work smarter to achieve your goals.
Speaking of goals, how are those New Year’s resolutions you set coming along? Around this time of year, most people have already fallen off the wagon. And we haven’t even made it through the first quarter of the year!
In fact, as much as 80 percent of resolution setters have given up on their goals by February.
Your resolutions may be threatening to die on the vine, but don’t go down without a fight. All of your goals for self-improvement can help get you a long way. When you set smart goals, actively work towards reaching them, and feel the satisfaction of achieving them, you’ll have the boost in confidence you need to tackle all aspects of your life with more efficiency and productivity.
Let’s examine three run-of-the-mill resolutions from the business end, i.e. from the point where we’ve lost our January mojo and give you the kick in the shins you need to push you to the next level.
Resolution #1: Lose weight
You lost 5 pounds in the first two weeks when you went to the gym eight times total. You gained back 2 the next two weeks and haven’t been to the gym since. Maybe it’s because you ran into a scheduling obstacle. Or maybe your trainer is weird. I don’t know your life. Basically, something made you lose faith in the process.
If your motivation quickly lagged, you need something that will just help you show up at the gym. Find a workout buddy so you’re responsible to someone else for the workouts. Or change trainers. Heck, change the time you go to the gym. Gazing at a new crowd from the comfort of your elliptical could be the boost you need. Just change your routine.
Looking for a more scientific approach to your problem? The Mayo Clinic explains what happens to you physically when you hit a plateau in your weight loss journey and suggests ways to get back to losing weight.
Resolution #2: Eat healthily
You meal-prepped like a beast for two weeks, ate chicken and veggies like an Olympian and felt like a new person. Then (1) you got a promotion at work or (2) you caught the flu from your 6-year old or (3) you got lost on your way to Whole Foods and ended up at Krispy Kreme. Whatever happened, your busy life got busier or tougher and you didn’t prioritize doing the things you need to do to eat well.
Hey, Resolution #1 isn’t happening without Resolution #2, but you do now feel strapped for time. Try making sure the steps to eating healthier (shopping, prepping, cheat days) are on your schedule and in your phone as reminders. Drink plenty of water, because we feel hungry when we’re dehydrated. Make the wait staff at your favorite restaurant do the work. Ask them to recommend healthy options if you do eat out!
They aren’t wrong when they say, “You are what you eat.” Okay, practically speaking you aren’t a hamburger and french fries, but you are affected by your food choices. Maybe they should change the saying to, “Your food affects your mood.” Pick healthier choices and you’ll be able to stay energized to tackle anything that comes your way during the day.
Resolution #3: Get more sleep
After your January boost of working out regularly and eating to live instead of living to eat, your sleep probably started coming more naturally and easily. Odds are, seven hours of sleep became the norm for a blissful two weeks. But then, you forgot to prioritize your sleep. You went back to the late nights finishing up work on a tight deadline and skimping on your sweet hours of rest.
Once you start slacking on your sleep, everything else will fall downhill. You need to sleep at least seven hours per night to ensure your own physical and emotional health. If you’ve tried a set bedtime, if you’re avoiding electronics at least an hour before bed and if you’re avoiding caffeine at least five hours before, and you’re still losing sleep and waking up sore, it’s time to start looking at other underlying issues. The problem might be your bedroom and even your mattress.
If an environment isn’t conducive for good sleep, you’re doomed to a night of poor rest. Block out the lights, mask the disruptive noises with a sound machine, and turn down the air to get more comfortable. When all else fails, decide if it’s time for a new bed. Just read some reviews and get educated on what type of bed you need to give you the sleep you need.
Resolution #4: Boosting your productivity
Whether you felt like you were slacking during your work hours and falling farther and farther away from your chances at a raise, or you felt a lack of accomplishment by wasting your free hours dazing in front of the TV, you likely had a good run in January. When you’re hard on yourself at the beginning of the year, it’s not too hard to give yourself the kick you need to get started. But then after time passes, you’re back into your old ways. Hours are flying by and your outputs are dwindling. Let’s start with how you can turn your productivity around in the office.
A large culprit for our productivity is our boredom. Once we’re bored, we’re essentially useless. Avoid the office boredom by scheduling regular brain breaks. Science has shown that our productivity is far improved when we avoid long stretches of focus. You could also break up your day by volunteering to tackle more small tasks. Adding variation in your day will help you feel the satisfaction of checking off boxes on your to-do list and keep you moving through the workday.
Now, what happens when you get home? You can allow the work-day exhaustion to hit you, or you can feel energized by the shift in your day and maximize on your hours off. It’s time to launch that side hustle you’ve talked about for years. Set a time limit for yourself each night. That book you’ve always wanted to write? Work on it for an hour each night. Don’t go past your time limit; otherwise, you’ll be able to excuse yourself for skimping time on other days. Keep yourself limited and you’ll look forward to this time for your side projects each day.
Please don’t get overwhelmed by this advice. No one is judging you.
Our intention here is to let you know that someone understands your struggle and wants to help you take the next steps to change your life. You can do it! ProSky will help motivate you and keep you stay productive.
Good Luck Friends!
Laurie Larson is a freelance writer based in NC who writes on home, health, and lifestyle topics to help others live healthier and happier lives!