Life Hack Tips: When you should NOT make a big decision

Being decisive is one of the greatest gifts of life. People who can make the right decisions for important events in their lives, achieve more success and happiness. Sometimes we do have to act quickly at the moment. But if you have the choice of taking your time, avoid making big decisions during these three periods below:

1. When you are angry:  

When we are mad, we tend to act at the spur of the moment which sometimes does irreparable damage that cannot be undone later. It is important not to lose your calm and not to make a bad judgment on impulse. If you think you won’t get in trouble for speaking your mind, do it without raising your voice. While it is important to let people know your standpoint, it is also advisable not to do it in a hurtful manner. When we are angry, we tend to say or do things that do the maximum damage to the person or people we are against at that moment. Later we realize our mistake but it is too late by then. So stay quiet, take your time and think through the situation later, which will help you make rational decisions. angry

2. When you are going through bad times in your life: 

You are sad, depressed, have anxiety, you are simply going through some rough patches in your life. Whether you are financially broke, lost your job, struggling to get your dream career, going through break-ups, physically ill, or simply in a bad situation, don’t take very big steps during those tough times. People usually have low self-esteem during sad times and act desperately to get out of those situations quickly.  People in dire situations fall prey to con artists and scams. Family, society and peer pressure are also liable sometimes to make someone feel desperate in low times. But think for yourself, no matter how much life tests you, have patience. With patience and persistence, you can change your fate for the better. Drugs and alcohol also provoke bad judgment, so avoid these as well.

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One good example is- suppose, you have recently broken up from a long relationship and feel very lonely. Your family and friends are asking you to find someone as soon as possible and you are looking for another partner from a revengeful perspective. Take your time instead. Don’t get into another relationship out of desperation. It will be broken sooner than the last one. Get on a long term commitment when you think you’ve found the right person and you think you are ready. Until then, wait.

3. When you are super excited and happy: 

People tend to overestimate their abilities and tend to make big promises when they are super happy and excited. Your dark days are finally over and you are thankful for those people that have been next to you through this time. While you do want to give it back, remember that promises are often broken but attempts become rather successful.excited.png

One good example can be- If you have gone through some financial crisis in the recent past and now are financially stable, do not take up a higher standard of life right away and don’t promise-making big donations that you cannot keep up. Learn from your past experience and be frugal. Save money for a better future. And do help back those who have helped you but do what is affordable for you.

Moral: Patience is the key.

So I will write a different article on how to make good decisions. Stay tuned and share this article if you have enjoyed it.

Edit: I have already posted:

Life Hack Tips: HOW To Make Good Decisions (By Tasnia Ponkti)

Life Hack Tips: Task Management & Productivity (from a lazy person’s guide)

I am not calling anyone out lazy but I am simply sharing my own experience as a lazy person. I have finished school and have a full time job as an engineer now. My image among my peers and co-workers is portrayed as a hardworking and disciplined person. Disciplined, organized and lazy they don’t seem to fit in the same sentence, do they? But I am originally lazy, yet at the same time have a competitive nature. The competition is not with someone else but rather with myself. There is another thing that works behind that competitive mentality and that is called-anxiety, fear of screwing things up. Now that is a whole different topic, which I will touch another day. Because of my competitive mind, I push myself to be pro-active and a go-getter. I haven’t reached perfection at every level but have made a lot of progress following my own tricks in the past few years.

In my own experience, the number one rule of success in life is called “persistence & perseverance”. In an age of social media, our biggest challenge is to stay on top of our goals without getting distracted. How many of you have thought that, when you get home you will study a bit more about certain topics or get certain things done, yet end up wasting time surfing through Facebook wall, Instagram feed and YouTube videos? Well, I am no exception. I still do that. And I have my own fair share of days when I get pretty much wasted without getting much done. I also have days when I am a peak performer. On those days not only I get most of my things done, sometimes I do even more than I planned.

These are the simple steps that I take.

1. Make a To-Do List:

I know some of you will say you have tried that and it doesn’t quite work for you, you wanna go with the flow blah blah. But it is important to prioritize work specially when you are juggling through multiple tasks. You can go fancy by using alarms, event reminders, to-do-list on your phone etc. But I simply write my things down with a pen on a notebook. Writing with hands does something to me, It helps me remember my tasks. As if I am stacking those list in my brain instead of in the notebook. I don’t even have to carry my notebook with me for the day, I remember it anyway after brainstorming and writing them down. I think that should be the goal. My mom makes a grocery list, forgets to bring it to the store and ends up buying more stuff than she listed while missing some important ingredients. LOL. So your goal is to remember your tasks, no matter how you do it. I make a rough weekly plan and also specific daily plans as well as a monthly plan for paying bills on time. Checking things off from the list as I get them done is very fulfilling to me. I divide a big task into smaller chunks and prioritize them. Make “sorting emails” an important part of your list whether it is work email or your other emails. Checking emails and replying promptly helps you get an idea of the work, event or correspondence that you will follow to keep up.

2. Stick to your plan:

Half of doing is believing that you can.

We have all probably made plans but sticking to the plan is the biggest challenge. Read the written list in between your down time to keep yourself on track. Make or read a list and try if you can back to your leisure. I don’t know about you, but it is almost like some alarm clocks start ticking in my head from the moment I make up my mind about getting something done. And I cannot relax in the same way after that.  I do use alarms and reminder occasionally for big events.  I am big about finishing things before deadline. I also reward myself in between tasks-whether it is food or snack, stretching, walking, checking on phones or listening to some music etc.

I must emphasize, please do not keep changing your plan just because it was hard for you to keep up with it the first time. Stick to it, make smaller flexible changes as you need and learn though your trials and errors. Learning to write computer programming? Playing piano? No matter how bad you are at first, stick to your plan and keep a track of your progress. The key behind success is steady progress. I see it quite often among highly intelligent people juggling through ideas and changing them way too quickly which ends up with no result.

3. Stay away from social media while you are at your work:

Now I am blessed because I cannot take any phone or outside devices to my labs or main work premises and our usage of internet is limited to work related email and research. Because I don’t have any choice of checking on my Facebook wall, Quora or Instagram feed, I use the time very efficiently at work. Without those distraction we tend to get things done faster. So if your work place is not like mine then turn off your phone/put it on silent mode or deactivate your social media accounts while you are in some serious business. Deactivate all phone notifications. Or just better if you don’t have any social media account to begin with. Sounds a bit archaic but if that makes you more productive then go for it. I do use social media in my advantage, to keep up with the updates, to keep in touch but try to control the over-usage.

4. Keep a diary:

You can keep a to do list and diary all in the same notebook or you can separate it by categories. One for work and one for home. If you are keeping a diary at work then refrain from writing too much personal details. The idea is to keep a track of the task progress in your own words.If you are multi/bi-lingual, working in an English speaking country, you can write in your own native language. I personally find writing diaries in my own language very therapeutic. At home I write diaries to vent but still refrain using too much personal details and names. As long as I understand what I write is fine for me. I write down important details and events that took place that day and I also write down possible outcome of a future event (!). I know it might sound interesting but even though sometimes things don’t go exactly as I planned, it makes me mentally prepared for the worse. For example, If I write I won’t lose temper in a certain ongoing stressful situation, I do see myself keeping a calm demeanor throughout the day.

4. Other things you can do to be more productive

Getting rid of stress is very important to be productive. Although I am not very religious, I pray to de-stress. No matter what religion you follow (or don’t follow anything), take some time to do some prayers or meditation everyday. Spend some quiet time with your self. Shut those chatter and noises in your head. The simple rule to relax your brain is, if in the back of your head you are thinking about some possible (worse) outcome of an imaginary situation, don’t follow through. simply change your mind from it. Or just write it down in your diary-what is bothering you.

I do travel, take a walk by the beach (I live in San Diego), take pictures, enjoy fine dining, like to cook, like to dress well, get a massage, read a book, write etc. Coffee is important to me. It keeps me going. Although I have skipped breakfast in the past (which is very bad), now-a-days I take the time to eat something healthy in the morning. Usually few hours in the morning are pick hours to be most productive. So when you have a breakfast, not only you feel more energetic during that time, you also end up eating less at lunch. I am trying to get into a routine of exercising. I do walk regularly. If it is hard for you to fall asleep at night faster, I would suggest finish dinner by 6 pm, do a bit of exercise, take a quick shower, write few lines or read few pages of a book, it should be enough to make you tired and go to sleep. Proper sleep and diet is important. I did not always have a sound sleep and proper diet during my hectic college years. But these are pretty staple to stay energetic and active.

Now-a-days I don’t get much time to draw pictures but I  used to spend down time in creative art before. Now-a-days I read about technologies or do some side gig in my down time. If you have some creative hobbies, keep up with it on the side. Have a pet! I I love puppies and kittens. Currently I don’t have a pet but I spent times with my siblings’ pets a lot. Having pets are very relaxing. Some people make a bed or clean table to de-stress. It does not work for me but it might work for you.

Share in the comment if you have more exciting ideas or tips to stay focused on your daily goals.