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Set goals - and write them down: 5 business rules that are useful for daily life too

Want to be less stressed and fit more into your day? Look to the world of business for help.

IN ORDER TO become more successful in business, those working in the industry use key guidelines and principles to get by and make their working lives that little bit easier in an already stressful, competitive environment. 

What some people don’t realise is that some of those same basic principles can be just as easily applied outside of the workplace to those of us, of all ages and backgrounds, that want to improve our daily lives. 

Listed below are five key business principles that can also be applied to everyday life in order to enhance our daily experiences, help us to get ahead in whatever we choose to do or even just encourage us to think about something in a new way.

1. Figure out what you’re really good at

shutterstock_398402185 Shutterstock / Silatip Shutterstock / Silatip / Silatip

Knowing what your skills are can be a challenge, and as humans, we tend to compare ourselves to others and feel bad about ourselves when we see what their strengths are. But in reality, we all possess different skills in different areas, and in order to succeed, it’s important to know our own strengths and how best to apply them.

In business, these skills, or core competencies, are what one company does well that sets it apart from others. For example, Apple and its reputation for designing innovative technology, or Volkswagen and its reputation for designing high-quality, well-made cars. This same principle can apply to individual skills too. 

If you’re unsure about what your own core competencies are, one thing you can do is write down as many things you can think of that you know you’re good at, and then try to group the related ones together.

If you can make a strong case that you’re better at something than other people are, and that with this skill, you will be able to achieve results that others won’t, you’re sure to succeed. 

2. Boost productivity by cutting out distractions 

shutterstock_1626375430 Shutterstock / fizkes Shutterstock / fizkes / fizkes

In the technological age that we live in, we are constantly being distracted by something.

Whether it be text messages, push notifications, ads or social media posts, the amount of things vying for our attention is infinite, and collectively prevents us from being as productive as we’d like to be.

How many times have you found yourself “just quickly checking” something and have suddenly lost half an hour or more of your day to said thing? In business, this is no exception. Researchers at the University of California found that the average office worker is interrupted or switches tasks around every three minutes, losing over six hours of productive time each day. 

In order to cut out these distractions, the Harvard Business Review recommends “batch checking” things like emails, social media and texts at predetermined times so you’re not consistently becoming distracted throughout the day.

3. Set long-term goals – and write them down

shutterstock_1112658119 Shutterstock / antoniodiaz Shutterstock / antoniodiaz / antoniodiaz

The principle of setting goals for ourselves can often be overlooked in our busy lives, but doing so can play an important role in our ability to actually achieve them, and for good reason. 

Harvard Business Study found that the 3% of graduates from their MBA who wrote down their goals ended up earning ten times as much as the other 97% put together, just ten years after graduation.

While research has found a strong connection between goal-setting and success, the psychology of actually writing your goals down can subconsciously make them more attainable, whether they’re related to work, family, health, finances or something else.

4. Constantly upskill and diversify

shutterstock_397576393 Shutterstock / SFIO CRACHO Shutterstock / SFIO CRACHO / SFIO CRACHO

While it is important to know what skills you’re already good at, it’s also important to continue to upskill and diversify as you go through life. Maybe you’ve always wanted to turn your hand to knitting, or fancy becoming an expert in coding. Whatever your topic of choice, it could open more doors than you think.

Indeed, setting aside a certain amount of time everyday to learn new skills, concepts or ideas has been recognised as advantageous in business. In an interview with the Business Post, Vice-President of engineering at Payslip Padraic Mulligan said that embracing lifelong learning is something that will “set professionals apart”. 

A lot of professionals have good experience and a good background, but they can be slow to change and learn new technologies. They want to stick with the tools they know best. It’s really a discussion on embracing risk.

Increasing your knowledge of things in different areas and fields may seem like a tedious task at first, but reading new books, learning a new language or skill can give you an advantage in your career while also being a fun hobby. 

5. Make time for important relationships with others

shutterstock_339031355 (1) Shutterstock / loreanto Shutterstock / loreanto / loreanto

Networking is a necessity in business today. The ability to maintain relationships with others can help to grow your career in a number of different ways.

Studies have found that successful networking can lead to more opportunities, broader and deeper knowledge, improved capacity to innovate and faster career advancement. Building and nurturing professional relationships also improves the quality of work and increase job satisfaction.

Further research has found that people who invest in relationships outside of work are far more likely to thrive both professionally and personally.

Surrounding yourself with people that will help you to grow and encourage you – from friends to mentors – will help you to learn and build confidence.

Ready to get ahead in business? Move up in your current career or take on a whole new industry with NCI. With just two years of part-time online study, get a fully accredited Level 8 Honours degree in Business Management or Human Resource Management Strategy and Practice. Chat directly to lecturers and our Admissions Team at NCI’s Online Open Evening on Wed Sept 8 from 5-7pm. Sign up here.

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