My Past Professional Post-Graduate Qualifications has given me rigorous training and experience of how self-managed studies within limited resources can deliver enviable results not easily achievable by heavily funded and comprehensively supported students. Whereas some sections of my past may seem a bit out of touch today due to modern advancements in helpful resources available to excel in a wide range of work, student and private life, the problems and challenges for self-managed projects have also compounded in our modern lives with more complexities to cope than ever before. The purpose of the Blog is therefore not to elaborate on each personalised problem specific solution but rather to provide some form of objectivity to difficult life situations demanding troubleshooting strategies.
The top Problems which I have encountered when working on self-help basis is summarised below with counter strategies to partly if not fully overcome them. The list is not meant to be exhaustive as real-life situations are diverse, complex and demanding and no blog can possibly address every life difficulty with the same set of tick the box strategies. However, an objective mindset equipped with structured framework is likely to reduce vagueness and give much needed confidence for successful outcomes with a wider view of challenges ahead.
- FINANCIAL INSECURITY
The biggest threat for all self-help projects in my opinion is financial insecurity which can lead to most matured minds getting disturbed and reacting adversely to their top project goals. Countless stories of brilliant ideas which have transformed our modern lives provide evidence that financial insecurity is more of a state of mind, then pure number crunching exercise compared with others around us. Dealing and overcoming genuine financial insecurity requires high standards of personal discipline and rewiring of our brains to think differently beyond the ordinary. The Compromises involved in the initial phases should be seen more of a passing phase paving wave to future success. Some useful tips adapted to individual situation demands are as follows:
- Invest carefully in life areas which will improve productivity and save cash in the long term giving monetary and non-monetary returns such as quality recreation and health.
- Periodically budget for cash coming in and going out. Modern Smart phones provide countless free apps which can significantly simplify expense management. In my experience, any smart phone app which can regularly record seven major expense head on a weekly basis namely
-Transport and Auto
-Home & Utilities (Smartphone/ Rent / Mortgage)
-Personal and Medical
-Entertainment & Eat Out
is more than sufficient to control cash flows at individual level.
- Postpone non-essential expenses to a future point of time to avoid getting into debt which will be difficult to service in future.
- Have a strict time table for working week & weekends spending quality time with loved ones without being too busy or too free.
- Avoid company of people (if possible) in materially different set of financial circumstances which can trigger more feelings of negativity and compound problems rather than solve them.
Procrastination is harmful postponement of important issues impacting our daily living. Time Management is an art which unfortunately is learnt by tough life experiences regardless of academic background. I have seen numerous examples of people from diverse background hopelessly failing in this aspect of daily life wherein least important things are prioritised in preference to some of the most important daily chores of life such as personal hygiene, daily exercises, healthy eating and sleeping pattern. The flow on consequences of disrupting our internal body time clock can be disastrous and lead to difficult to break vicious cycle of daily routine if not managed to a reasonable level of competence in early stages of childhood and youth.
This is a tough lesson which every individual need to appropriately self-assess within his/her personal space & time and can rarely be addressed by any form of checklist or tips because of complex cultural diversity in daily living within different jurisdictions. For example, the working culture for a professional resident in Australia or New Zealand is vastly different to those residing in United States, Canada, Singapore, China or India due to varying work culture, climatic conditions, travel time, working hours, schooling, local taxes & outdoor community living standards. The key to successfully overcoming procrastination is a dual time management approach to work day and weekend life patterns. Monday to Friday or Monday to Saturday daily planning in countries with 5/6 days of wok life should never be the same for Saturday/Sunday.
Unlike most forms of commonly known paid employment, the chances of self-employed, under-employed, unemployed or self-help project managers succumbing to various forms of addictions is significantly high driven by lack of supervision, control or personal discipline. In nearly two decades of post qualifications work life, I would not be honest by making tall claims of never succumbing to addictive behaviour for example sugar and food cravings, as any normal person would do. The key to overcoming addiction is firstly understanding the root cause of addiction and thereafter applying a disciplined mindset to troubleshoot problems of addiction which in extreme cases can lead to untimely death at a young age as is commonly known. Troubleshooting addiction in my personal case involved cutting down on food / sugar portion size without necessarily giving them up completely which I must state is a never-ending work in progress.
Some serious addictions such as drugs, alcohol and gambling are unlikely to be managed on a personal help basis and professional help must therefore be sought before it is too late instead of simply placing reliance on family, friends and social support groups. Commonly known addictions which need varying levels of troubleshooting (Slight/Moderate/High) either separately or in combination are listed below:
- Gymnasiums and Other Fitness Studios
- Sugary Food Cravings
- Savoury (Salty/Spicy) Food Cravings
- Smart Phone
- MENTAL FATIGUE
Most people at varying points of time in their life from early childhood to old age must overcome Mental Fatigue Symptom or Boredom from repetitive daily work- a relatively harmless version of more serious mental stress conditions. The Mental Health and Alternate Medicine Industry is booming globally with specialists such as Psychiatrists, Psychologists, Therapists, Yoga Instructors and a wide range of Researchers making excellent progress to work towards improving our quality of lives. The volume of research easily available online has been at its very best in human civilisation history and therefore it is not very difficult to self-diagnose and predict adverse consequences of mental health issues on our bodies. In my experience problems of Mental Fatigue can be solved by adopting an easy to use approach and avoiding needless and expensive complicated reading and consultations. Here are some useful tips to overcome Mental Fatigue
- Distract brain into personally enjoyable activities such as Sport and Music
- Engage with Family, Friends, Associates and Acquaintances on Social Media
- Read Real Life success stories of people in overcoming health issues
- Pursue personally preferable hobbies and health initiatives
- Complete a skill based Trade or Professional Qualification if resources permit
- LOSS OF SOCIAL CONNECTIONS & SECLUSION
Professional workplace has undergone one of the fastest changes in the last decade or so with rapid advancements in technology effectively meaning that workers rarely spend majority of their working lives in places of their birth. Loss of family ties, cultural values and related happy aspects of life are likely to suffer considerably as people progress from Youth towards Middle and/or Matured ages in pursuit of better of quality of life and increased immediate family commitments and responsibilities for a better future. It is not very difficult to understand that voids in life cannot be fulfilled by hollow words and phrases or by perusing blogs including this one. This is a very personal emotion based on individual perception of culture, values and art of living which needs to be predominantly addressed through an objective decision-making framework. One can rarely form a special friendly relationship in places of work and living as formed in early stages of childhood and youth. However, finding common areas of interest with people in similar age groups can somewhat fill gaps and address a major problem in self-help projects.
Another interrelated problem is constant self-scrutiny of efforts and rewards which may pose a major problem in working productively towards goals of self-help projects. Often pressing short term priorities cause disruptions in optimisation towards project goals leading to deviations outside a range of acceptable standards. This does not mean that our personal standards have dropped but rather an inevitable fallout from subjecting ourselves to more rigidity than necessary. We must accept that the fact that there is no such thing as a Perfect Solution for all problems and over achievements can come at a higher cost than we had initially foreseen. We must make disciplined efforts in compressing the self-doubt problem as quickly as we can and measure ourselves regularly using a simple and easy to use range of deviations expressed in numerical percentage wherever possible. Minor deviations from acceptable ranges can always be overlooked while major deviations need to be addressed to avoid back to back major deviations which can in turn lead us back to where we initially started. A real example in wellness industry is of people losing substantial amount of weight within a small-time frame under the supervision of a certified trainer and subsequently regaining the same in quick time once the services have ended. I have benefited a lot by neatly documenting personal results in a systematic manner and would encourage readers to do the same to objectively manage self-doubt problems.
- FALL IN PERSONAL HYGIENE STANDARDS
The challenges involved in Self Help are like Start-Ups Business Entrepreneurship demanding constant multi-tasking between a range of priorities. Personal dress code, hygiene and simple standards of maintaining cleanliness and order around us are one of the most time-consuming chores of daily living which need to be mastered well before goal setting in self-help projects. Resource Constraints effectively mean that a range of simple tasks which could have been easily delegated at one point of time can no longer be done so at another point ultimately leading to cuts in time of most basic chores which maintain a reasonable standard of our personal hygiene. In my experience, a highly prioritised successful management of personal hygiene standards will reduce stress, improve our community perceptions and ultimately deliver better results than would have been possible in the absence of personal standards. A few extra hours spent in a week on inexpensive standards of self-maintenance is worth the efforts.
- RELATIONSHIP PROBLEMS
Relationship between two persons with materially different set of personal values can lead to inevitable friction. What is perceived as most desirable outcome of self-help by one matured person in a relationship can rarely be the same for the other person. This is possibly the most complex of all problems and must be dealt with differently in different set of circumstances with variable set of communication skills to solve problems. Compatibility issues are most difficult to detect and therefore to manage in relationships. Perfect relationships exist in theory although studies prove major diverse variation in the personal and community expectations of healthy relationships in different racial groups and diverse religions of the globe. The key to management of relationship problems involves genuine understanding of the strengths and limitations of each individual partner and to make genuine attempts to build the relationship stronger on foundations of trust. Third parties such as Family, Friends, Professional Counsellors and Community support groups can rarely can be of much help if they are asked to intervene by one of the partners without the consent of the other as their assessment of a troubled relationship may lead to further deterioration of mutual trust. Giving more time and space to each person is likely to solve majority of problems without the need of helpers outside of relationship.
However, professional and other available help must be sought if the risk to personal physical and /or mental health and safety breaches reasonable standards of tolerance provided one off instances of deviations from healthy relationship patterns are not intentionally/unintentionally misinterpreted to cause embarrassment to the other person.