5 Practical Self Improvement Techniques You Must Know
Have you been feeling the blues about your quality of life? Here are 5 effective and practical self-improvement techniques you need to get on with!
Updated 10 Dec 2020
After years of ploughing through exams and deadlines, you may have become one of those students leading your college life on autopilot. You start to feel the harrowing absence of excitement in your life when you see other students living their youth to the fullest.
While it can be irritating to witness such unfairness, it doesn’t have to be that way. The key to leading a quality life is self-improvement.
Here are 5 bulletproof techniques to achieve contentment and peace of mind as a college student.
#1. Practise “time blocking”
Having online classes can feel like an uphill battle. With no fixed schedule to follow, it’s almost like you’re working round the clock. This can lead to burnouts, exacerbate procrastination and on top of that, you won’t be producing meaningful work.
Achieve the right study-life balance by dividing your day into blocks of time. Instead of having an open-ended to-do list, dedicate a certain number of hours to complete just one task and “block” other projects, only moving on when it’s done. This includes completing an assignment, meetings with groupmates or replying emails. With this, you won’t have to constantly make choices between what to focus on.
The key is to prioritise your task list in advance so that you have a schedule to follow through. Take note of what’s to come a week ahead and organise your time accordingly. Slot any new tasks that come along and don’t forget to schedule your break time too! Over time, you’ll know how to juggle your days and feel less overwhelmed with work.
#2. Use the 2-minute rule
Do you want to start reading but can’t find it in you to pick up a book? Or perhaps you want to work out regularly but merely the idea of it feels challenging. With the 2-minute rule, you can progressively turn these actions into a habit.
The idea is simple — if you have a goal or habit you’d like to pick up, take 2 minutes out of your day to start. The goal is to make it easier for you to just start. For instance, if your goal is to study for a class, take out your notes and read for 2 minutes. Or, if you want to regularly work out, begin by putting on your shoes and do some jumping jacks.
Will you be able to get a lot done in that time? Of course not, but at least you’ve started and made some progress, however minuscule. Soon, you’ll work on it for longer than 2 minutes and start to see the results.
The more you practise the 2-minute rule, the easier it will be to make things a habit.
#3. Form a Junto Club
One of the keys to self-improvement is to create conversations that’ll make you think deeply about your goals, principles and what you want to improve in life. And the best way to do it is to form a Junto Club with people who thrive for betterment.
Junto Club is a safe space that focuses on the development of the members. You can discuss and exchange knowledge in a variety of topics such as politics, social issues, life, success, relationships and more. It’s best to establish a set of rules to guide how your Junto Club operates by deciding how often the meeting will be held, time and suitable locations. Take turns in proposing questions for meetings in advance so group members have time to prepare.
The purpose of a Junto Club is for improvement — it’s not the same as gathering your close friends for a hangout! Therefore, it’s better to select individuals who possess qualities you can learn from such as diversity, wisdom, humility, confidence and congeniality.
DID YOU KNOW
Benjamin Franklin was the founder of the first Junto Club (called Leather Apron Club then) in 1727 to discuss mutual improvement for members of the club and community.
#4. Keep track of your productive work hours
Everyone has different hours as to when they’re the most productive. You may be a night owl while your friends seem to have lots of energy when the sun is up. Either way, identifying specific times when you’re at your peak can help you better manage your work and improve your time management.
Get a time management app like Toggl Track or Harvest to track everything that you do in a week. All you need to do is record your time when you’re doing reports, assignments, group meetings and even chores until they’re done. You’ll then be able to know how long it takes for you to complete a task. Ultimately, you’ll be able to plan your days better by allocating specific time to do certain tasks.
You don’t have to be a hero, working at top efficiency and productivity during every second of work time. Just find the right hours that lets you stay on top of your game.
#5. Learn to set SMART Goals
Whether it’s short term or long term, we all know that setting goals is important. It means that we’re striving to achieve something great for ourselves. But how many of us actually achieve any of the goals we’ve set? Do you even remember your New Year's resolutions?
The key to achieving your goals is by setting SMART goals This will provide you with a strategy to achieve your vision over a period of time through its acronyms — specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, time-bound. In essence, you’ll need to specify what exactly your goal is, how you can measure the progress, if it’s realistically achievable, will it still matter after a while and setting a deadline.
With this method, you’ll be able to set better goals. For instance, specifying how many kilograms you want to lose and specifying how many interviews you plan to go for within a month is better than saying you want to be happy.
Whether it’s your work ethic, time management or productivity, the road to improvement takes time and patience. These suggestions may not be a one-size-fits-all solution but there’s no harm in trying to see if it works for you! But most importantly, always prioritise your health and wellbeing in your self-improvement journey.