Now, today sprint in learning something that’s difficult to learn. Not because a teacher or a boss made us do it, but because we chose to. Not only do we get to keep that skill forever, but the act of taking control and expending the effort will change our mood.
And this is the perfect moment for generous connection. Going way beyond the news of the day, we have the chance to create intimate digital interactions that last. It’s a significant posture shift, one which might change who you see when you look in the mirror.
We might not be able to do anything about external events, but we have control over our actions. Sometimes, it’s hard to stare right into that opportunity, because it comes with a lot of responsibility. What will you learn today? Who will you teach?
High achievers often have lofty aspirations for self-improvement. But big goals — such as “meditate for an hour every day,” or “reading 50 books a year” — are often more burdensome than they are sustainable. So, start small by focusing on “microhabits” — more achievable behaviors that you build over long periods of time.
These habits should be ridiculously small, like meditating for 30 seconds or reading a paragraph each night. To minimize effort, piggyback on a daily task. Perform your new action at the same time as (or right before) something you already do every day. Read that one paragraph while brushing your teeth. Meditate while waiting for your coffee to brew.
Then, track your progress, but keep it simple. Try using a “yes list” where you write down the desired action, and under each date simply note a Y or N to indicate if you completed the task. Once you’ve accrued several weeks of Ys, you can increase your microhabit by a small increment, say 10%.
Continue these tiny, incremental adjustments until the new habit is part of your muscle memory. Focus on “Microhabits” to Change Your Behavior.
Some jobs have very clear lines between when you’re “on” and when you’re “off.” But when you work in a role where the lines are blurred — or potentially nonexistent — it’s important to protect your non-work time.
If you feel like work is taking over most of your waking hours, start by clearly defining what “after hours” means for you. Take into account the number of hours you’re expected to work each week, as well as personal commitments like taking your kids to school, making a certain train, or attending an exercise class you really enjoy.
When do you need to start and stop to put in the appropriate amount of work time? Then, develop mental clarity about what needs to get done and when you will do it. Keep track of your tasks and plan them out. Make sure you block off time for an end-of-workday wrap-up, where you review and make sure you did everything you needed to do for the day. Lastly, communicate with your colleagues about how (or if) you want to be contacted during your off-hours. Really guard your time.
If you don’t, you won’t get the mental break that everyone needs.
When you express your honest opinion during an interview, you present yourself as you are, not as who you think the employer wants you to be. But disagreeing with an interviewer isn’t always easy because of the imbalance of power. Navigate the potential downsides by doing a few things before and during the interview.
First, research the company. Is the culture one where people are receptive to new ideas? Are the organization and its founders are known for inclusion and open-mindedness or do they have a slow-moving, legacy mindset? During the meeting, if the interviewer asks a question that gives you pause, resist the urge to answer immediately.
Take time to formulate a thoughtful response. And ask for permission to provide a different viewpoint. Say something like: “I see this differently. May I share my perspective with you?” Of course, follow your gut. If you think disagreeing won’t be well-received, then bite your tongue.
If the interviewer made you uncomfortable — if you felt dismissed or unheard — trust your instincts. When expressing differing opinions isn’t welcomed in an interview, it probably won’t be encouraged once you’re part of the company.
We are often told to pursue work we’re passionate about, but for many people, this simply isn’t feasible. Luckily, research shows that doing something you care about outside of work can benefit both your personal life and your career. Look for ways to craft your job to allow for more time for non-work passions.
For example, if you have some autonomy over your hours, start your day early to make more time in the evening for cultivating other interests. These extracurricular activities can be a way to develop skills, meet new people, or decompress. To find the right activities, ask yourself what you care about that you haven’t been able to pursue in your job. Outside of work, you have the freedom to try new things out, so experiment.
Remember that passions can wax and wane over time, and it’s okay to stop one activity and pick up another. Find other people who care deeply about your shared interest so you can build a sense of community.
Only a privileged few are able to match their passion to their job, but leading a full life outside of work allows us to bring our best selves to the office — or anywhere we go.