Andreea has 6+ years experience as a consultant and project manager, for shared-services organizations, with expertise in operations and performance management. Being passionate about entrepreneurship, in the past years she took over roles of strategy and business development for startups and recently launched Firsty, the first online community solely for extreme sports.
2013 was a good year. Good for work, learning and growing. At the beginning of the year, I decided that, considering the volatility of the economy and labor market, I have to develop skills entirely opposite to the ones I had. It always helps to know more, but usually, developing unrelated topics to the task at hand in a corporation is not the ticket to growth in your job. So 2013 was not the year when I grew in a corporation but on a personal level, I feel like I had the highest skills development in the last four years.
What did I manage to achieve in 2013?
- I become a certified fitness instructor. I took a certification course, I learned anatomy and biomechanics, increased my gym presence and I made it. I have been doing fitness for over three years now so it wasn’t entirely new, but learning the biomechanics of the human body, the logic behind exercises and training theory was completely new and challenging.
- I started Firsty in my spare time, after playing with the idea for almost half a year. It’s now happening and a lot of things need to be done but the whole process is really great. It’s just a unique feeling to build something that comes from your passion and can be called your own.
- I got my first PRINCE2 certification and on my way to the next level. This one task has direct application to work.
- I completed quite a few useful courses on Coursera, Novoed and edX. One of the universities I followed was Wharton University of Pennsylvania, which is very good – not only in terms of content – but in terms of volume of courses and teaching methods. I highly recommend their courses.
Procrastination was my biggest enemy. You can’t ignore it and move on, it requires will, passion, and energy to get out of it. Sometimes procrastination is a clear indication that whatever you are doing is not something you are interested in but if you prefer to watch Breaking Bad instead of working, it might just mean that you’re lazy.
My strategy to fight the foe was to make a list of objectives to achieve on a certain period of time (mine was an excel sheet). There are plenty of productivity tools out there (todoist is one that I sometimes use) so if that works for you, go out there and find one that has your name on it:
1) Main objective split in weekly little wins. Making that week green was my weekly little pleasure. After a while I think I was pushing forward especially to green my excel sheet (green being the code for “done”).
2) Prioritize. Which tasks are a “must” for this week and which are a “should”? It will help you focus on the important things when you run out of time.
3) Re-plan. If you don’t accomplish your weekly tasks, it’s very easy to become disappointed. Every Monday morning I’d re-plan everything and make sure I also record some wins, otherwise I’d get discouraged and get to the “There is not enough time in a day for me to check all these points so … Breaking Bad maybe?”.
4) Make sure you under-plan. There are always things that come up: friends’ anniversaries, something that you need to finish at work, social obligations. So let yourself room to feel a little bit free.
5) Plan your weekends carefully. It’s so easy to get carried away but the huge amount of free time that the weekend promises. So much time to Facebook, watch TV, lunch with friends, sports, coffee, and so on … working can come later. Whoa, when did Sunday evening happen?
6) Never lose sight of your goal. Easy to forget why you’re doing all that instead of just enjoying free time like normal people (who are these “normal people” everyone talks about, as I only see people that constantly want to do more?).
7) Enjoy every little victory. This is the key. Make little celebrations, take breaks for the mind to rest, sleep, eat properly and healthy and exercise. The mind is the happiest when the body is healthy.
In the end, don’t forget to plan things that you also enjoy. You’ll find yourself excited to complete a task just to jump to another that really is something you are looking forward to do. Don’t let procrastination get the best of you in 2014!