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Simple Time Management Strategies

Simple Time Management Strategies

Time management is the key to achieving your goals, increasing your productivity and having time in your life for the activities you love. A good time management strategy begins with reviewing how you spend your time currently then altering your day to spend your time the way you need and want. By taking these steps and removing some of the obstacles in your way, you too can manage your time consciously and enjoyably.

1.    How do you currently spend your time?

“Does this spark joy?” – Marie Kondo, The Lifechanging magic of tidying up

Every day, there are likely to be a few essential activities. Things like sleeping, engaging in money earning activities to survive, eating and caring for those you are responsible for. If you are really honest, you will likely also realise that a lot of your day is lost, wasted, frittered away watching YouTube, sitting in transit or doing activities that you might not need to.

One very telling way to consider how you use your time is to review your device usage. You can see your activity under screen time on an iPhone or Digital Wellbeing on most Android phones. It is not uncommon to find you have lost 2 hours a day to social media, Facebook or Instagram, YouTube or TikTok. Image what you can do with that time if you consciously reclaim it.

Marie Kondo radically tidies homes by asking of every item, ‘Does this spark joy?’. Once you know how you are spending your time, ask this question of your non-essential activities. Large amounts of time spent on activities just because it’s what you do, may suggest you have some room to change.

2.    What would you like to achieve/enjoy with your time?

“It’s never about having the time. It’s about making the time.” – Marie Forleo, Everything is Figureoutable (p67)

Now that you know how you are currently spending your time, it’s time to decide how you want to be spending it. What are your goals this year? Does your current time management strategy allow for time progressing them?

Your goals don’t need to be big. Maybe you want to spend more time playing Dungeons and Dragons or going to Zumba class just because you enjoy it. Maybe you would like to achieve a small housekeeping goal or a career change. Good time management is about using time consciously to achieve what you want to.

We all have the same amount of time in a day. Even small changes to how we use our time can mean big differences towards our goals and daily satisfaction.

3.    What obstacles are in the way of your time management?

The Law of Forced Efficiency says that “There is never enough time to do everything, but there is always enough time to do the most important thing.” – Brian Tracey, Eat That Frog!: 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time

Often there are obstacles between how we currently spend our time and how we want to spend our time. Many of us experience difficulty getting organised, managing multiple projects, trouble starting big projects or finishing said projects.

It helps to work out the most important goals or activities. Then schedule the most challenging or  important task first thing in the morning every day while your mind is still fresh and your spoons all available to you.

Now consider why you might be procrastinating your tasks or activities. Are you afraid of failing or overwhelmed by size of task? Do you need more resources to achieve it?

A few quick tips for overcoming procrastination and focussing

  1. Use the ABCDE Method to prioritise your to do list A = Very important – serious negative consequences if you don’t’ do it, through to E = Eliminate it because it’s not important at all and you should free up your time! Now start with the A’s first thing in the morning if possible.
  2. Learn to say no to activities that don’t support your goals – it’s a muscle like any other and gets easier the more we do it.
  3. Limit TV, internet or gaming time – these time wasters are for killing time, not smashing goals.
  4. Don’t get stuck on the small details – most of the time, getting it done imperfectly is better than not at all.
  5. Just start. Focus on one task for 15 minutes. You may be surprised how much you can achieve or how much easier it will seem once you have started.

If you would like to go deeper into Time Management Strategies and how to make them work for you, please get in touch with us today to discuss our course availability.

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Smashing Your 2022 Goals with Good Planning Starts Now

Smashing Your 2022 Goals with Good Planning Starts Now

A goal is an excellent planning tool that provides a target to aim for. Having a target ensures that we focus our energy on the right area.

As we approach the end of 2021, it is an excellent time to consider your goals for 2022. What are your big goals? New beginnings, including new years, come with a boost of motivation we can harness to increase our chances of achieving our goals.

If you plan them right, with realistically small steps, and surround yourself with the right people, you can plan, take action and achieve your 2022 goals.

New Year Motivation

Every Monday, every birthday, every new year, we experience a tiny fresh start. A feeling that this time accounting period (week, month, year) can be different. We expect more from ourselves and feel more empowered to see our success rather than past failures.

This motivational spike is incredibly potent as we enter a new year because we are starting a considerable new accounting period. Having an entire year to achieve our goal allows us to dream big and then look at what actions we need to succeed.

Successfully achieving these big goals starts with planning.

Plan your 2022 goals

Start by thinking about where you would like to be at the end of 2022. Are you looking for employment? A new group of friends? Perhaps you would like to finally complete a course of study that you have been delaying? Focus on the most important goal you have right now.

Now, make your goal SMART:

  • Specifically defined
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Relevant to your values
  • Time-bound

SMART goals are more likely to succeed because they include a detailed plan. For example, if you are keen to work in IT and have found the right course that you know only takes six months, you have a relevant and time-bound goal. But it is big, so let’s break it down to more defined, attainable goals. Perhaps, study two hours Monday – Wednesday every week, or four hours every Sunday afternoon. Now you have an attainable goal that is measurable and specific.

However, even SMART goals are not going to achieve themselves. Luckily, there are some tricks you can use.

Achieve Your 2022 Goals

If you can get 1 percent better each day for one year, you’ll end up thirty-seven times better by the time you’re done – Atomic Habits, James Clear

Tiny Changes

In his book Atomic Habits, James Clear talks about habit stacking and the remarkable results of simple small changes over time. Habit stacking uses an existing habit as a trigger for a new one.

For example, if your goal is to exercise more, maybe you made it SMART by saying, 5000 steps a day, measured by my apple watch. Now, you could habit stack by saying, every time I go for coffee, I will walk to the coffee shop just a little further down the block.

Even when making small changes, it is essential to be specific. For example, ‘I will walk to Michael’s Coffee Shop’ will be more successful than ‘I will walk further for coffee’. The aim of habit stacking your small changes is to avoid making the same decisions every day. Less choice means more headspace for action towards achieving your goal!

Surround Yourself with the Right People

Like habit stacking, surrounding yourself with the right people can help you achieve your 2022 goal with greater ease.

For example, if you want to get out of debt or save money – spend more time with friends who meet in a park rather than a restaurant and also value saving money. Spending time with people who share your values or current priorities will make it easier to stick to your plan and achieve your goal.

The people around us are the most significant influence on our behaviour, attitudes and results. So think about the people you most admire or aspire to be like in your life, and take action to spend more time around them – Especially the ones who most align with your values and goals.

If you would like a hand planning your goals for 2022, please reach out to the team here at Self Plus Plus or book a free Strategy Session to see how we can help you.

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Building Skills with LEGO® Bricks

The Benefits of LEGO® Brick Build Activities are Social and Practical 

You may remember LEGO® bricks from your childhood, or still be an avid fan (like me). A common learning tool of play for children, its popularity has been revived for adults with shows like LEGO® Masters reminding many of us just how much it has to offer.

There is also now a growing recognition of the benefits of building with LEGO® bricks as a tool for building social skills, analytical skills and mindfully relaxing. This is particularly helpful for individuals with autism (including adult autism) or other neurodiverse diagnoses. Many of our clients are surprised to hear just how much it has to offer in terms of social capacity building and problem solving skills, especially while building in a group.

Building on your own is great for improving problem solving, spatial awareness and physical development of fine motor skills. LEGO® Build Sessions like ours use teamwork to add new dimensions. In particular, it is great for levelling up your communication, negotiation and team work skills.

Benefits of LEGO® Brick Activities #1 – Social Capacity Building 

Many of our clients, particularly those with adult autism, set their own capacity building goals and work with us for coaching. Often these goals include social capacity building which can be hard to achieve through 1:1 coaching alone. Group projects build and consolidate social skills like sharing, collaboration, problem solving and teamwork.

By working in teams to achieve a common (and enjoyable) goal, you find yourself naturally working to express your thoughts clearly, listening to your teammates and working through negotiation and compromise. These skills can then be transferred into the rest of your life.

Importantly, when building with LEGO® bricks you will likely enjoy yourself so much that you won’t feel like you’re working on anything other than the build itself. You may even make some like minded friends along the way.

Benefits of LEGO® Brick Activities #2 – Practical Analytical and Fine Motor Skills

We all learn differently and at different speeds. Sometimes this means our fine motor skills can use some refining well into our adult years. Building with LEGO® gives you space to practice, strengthen and grow your fine motor skills.

Alternatively, as an adult on the autism spectrum, you may wish to practice your analytical skills. When building in teams, you will need to analyse your build and fine tune your planning to withstand the pressures of life; without the need for the dreaded ‘Kragle’!

At the end of your build you will also have created something tangible. It is rewarding to see physical evidence of our progress and achievements.

Benefits of LEGO® Brick Activities #3 – Relaxation and Mindfulness

Whatever your social, professional or life goals we all need to unwind from the stresses of general life. Reports are now suggesting that building with LEGO® bricks can help do just that.

The simple act of being in the moment, focussing on placing each piece where you would like it (or where instructed) can be incredibly relaxing and provide an excellent antidote to overstimulated days in a busy world.

When you take time each week to relax and de-stress, you will find many other parts of your life begin to ease too. You may be more able to focus, less likely to react emotively and more capable of putting into practice other life skills you are working on.

Join Us for LEGO® Build Sessions Every Wednesday

We invite everyone 15 years and over who identifies on the autism spectrum or with mild to moderate intellectual disability to join us in Queanbeyan for our weekly LEGO® Build Sessions. Work in a team as a builder, supplier or engineer to compete in teams while working towards your goals for social capacity building, analytics or fine motor skills. Contact us today to book.

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The Importance of Building Confidence

One of the biggest obstacles I see with the people I work with is lack of self-confidence.  This is also something I’ve experienced myself in the past.  A lack of self-confidence can significantly affect anyone’s ability to perform at their full potential.  In this post, I’ll go through a couple of strategies that can help you improve your self confidence.

Before I go into some strategies to help you improve your self-confidence, I’d like to briefly go into what self-confidence is.  At it’s core, self-confidence is you believing that you are capable of doing something.  This can be specific to a particular task, or it can be in general.  Confident people often share common traits, such as being open to learning new things, recovering easily from setback and not being afraid to ask for help.

Now that we know a bit more about self-confidence, we can go into a few tips that can help you improve yours.  The first tip, and I’ve talked about this in previous posts, is setting goals.  One of the most important things is the ensure your goals are SMART – Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound.  This gives you the best chance of achiving that goal and making sure it is meaningful as well.  Another great thing about goals is they can be broken down into smaller goals.  This is important so as not to overwhelm you by trying to achieve something so big that it seems impossible.

The next tip is to celebrate your wins – no matter how small.  This includes celebrating when you achieve a goal, which is another reason why it’s important to break larger goals down into smaller ones.  The reason this is important is that it gives a motivational boost that will help keep you moving towards your next goal.

The final tip I’d like to share today centres around the use of positive language.  How do you feel when you say things like “I’m so disappointed in myself” or “other people are so much better at this than me”?  Not very good, is it?  Now say something like “I have many good qualities” or “I am good enough”.  That feels a lot better, doesn’t it?  Positive language is a great way to improve your self-confidence as it helps you feel better about yourself.

That was just a small sample of some of the things we cover in the confidence building course we offer.  If you’re interested in building your self-confidence, get in contact with us to find out how you can enrol in the next self-confidence course we’re running or do some one-on-one coaching to help you build your self-confidence.

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The importance of goal setting

One of the core tools in the high achiever’s toolbox is the humble goal.  There is a significant amount of research to support the fact that settings goals leads to a higher level of performance.  So much so, that one of the underlying principles of the NDIS is linking supports to specific goals in a participant’s plan.  While this is all good and well, you might be wondering why on earth are goals linked to such an increase in performance?

Before we delve into the ‘why’, we first need to look at what is a goal.  Basically, a goal is something you want to achieve at some point in the future.  One of the most popular frameworks for setting goals is the SMART technique, as defined below:

The goal must be clearly defined – it must paint a picture of the future with a reasonable level of detail.

The goal needs to have some sort of measurement, whether it’s a quantitative (numeric) measurement or a qualitative (the quality of something) measurement. This way you’ll be able to see how you are tracking towards your goals, and when you have achieved them.

The goal has to be realistic and achievable, otherwise you’re likely to feel demotivated when you inevitably fail to meet your goal.

The goal needs to be in alignment with your values. If there is a conflict with your ethics and the goals you set, it’s not going to end well.

You need to put a time-frame on when the goal needs to be achieved by, otherwise our friend procrastination will step in and you’ll be watching Netflix instead of chasing the goal.

Now that we know what a goal is, we can go into why they are important.  First and foremost, goals give you something to aim for.  If you go shooting and there’s no target, it’s going to be a bit of a pointless exercise.  However, if you have something to aim for, you’ll be able to focus your energy on the right areas instead of wandering around aimlessly.

A Harvard study found that even by having unwritten goals, people were 10x more successful that those who didn’t have goals at all.  Furthemore, those who had their goals written down were 3x more successful than those who didn’t have them written down – 30x more successful than those without goals.

Goals also give you motivation.  By having your goal written down somewhere you can see it every day, you’re going to have a regular reminder of what you’re working towards.  It may also provide you that little extra bit of motivation you need if you’re having an off day.

Another great thing about goals is they can, and should, be broken down into smaller sub-goals.  Having a huge goal to buy a house, for example, might seem quite overwhelming, especially if you have no money and no job.  You can start by breaking this into sub-goals such as getting a well paying job, then have another goal that involves saving up the deposit, and so on.  You can even break these goals down even further if you have to.

There you have it, by having a goal that is specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound, you’re able to design your future in advance and increase the level of success in your life.  And the beauty of the goal is that it isn’t set in concrete, so if your circumstances change or you find that you’re not on track to meet your goals for whatever reason, you can still rethink your goal and make any necessary changes.

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New shop/office

Sometimes the universe works in mysterious ways, and you have to roll with the punches.  A couple of months ago I was in the unenviable situation where I had to move house quite abruptly.  Despite this being a rather negative situation, it turned out to have quite a few positive aspects to it.

One of the biggest benefits is that now that we’re not running out of a home office is that we’re now able to host clients on-site, opening up a plethora of support opportunities to help with employment goals.  Our office is collocated with our sister company, Finny Migs, which sells individual pieces of LEGO® online.  In the next week or so, I’ll be posting about some of the program we can now offer as a result of this move.

Order packing area
Aisle of LEGO®
Minifig wall, and more LEGO®

Instead of LEGO® lining my hallway, and taking up one of my bedrooms and the dining room, we now have a dedicated space that’s also free from a certain cat who likes to knock things over, and I now have a dining table that I can actually eat at (or store other things on).  This new workspace also has a better flow, with everything being more central, as opposed to being spread throughout the house.

Whenever I’m faced with a challenging situation, instead of playing the victim, as would have been the case in the past, I now ask myself “how can this benefit me”?  While it’s not the most extravagant of spaces, it’s a step in the right direction that allows us to do things we couldn’t do previously, and I’m quite grateful that we’ve gone through what we went through so that we’re better able to service our clients.