The start of every month can be likened to a fresh start. And as with all fresh opportunities, there are things to do at the start of every month that should help increase your productivity.
Keeping an organized monthly schedule is the key to building a productive month. A popular maxim says “failing to plan is planning to fail”. You might not necessarily have a failed month but having a planned month keeps you organized.
Organizing your month helps you set priorities right. For example, if you have planned to go to the market on the 3rd of April, the only reason you would be doing otherwise is because of an emergency.
I kind of love the idea of a monthly plan just because of the organization. I mean, when I make my weekly meal plan, I know what to eat and when to eat. So why shouldn’t I do that for my monthly plan?
So, let’s jump right into 6 things to do at the start of every month.
1. Set a Monthly Goal
One of the things to do at the start of every month is to set your monthly goals. Goals are a set of things you want to achieve. Setting monthly goals can help you achieve maximum productivity as an individual.
Your goals could be financial, social, or academic goals. Whatever goal you aim to achieve, make sure it is something realistic and achievable.
I once had a goal to write 20 articles in a month. When I look back, I just laugh because I was going to stretch my limit. While writing 20 articles in a month is achievable, I had to add school tasks, other freelance gigs, and self-development courses. It just wasn’t realistic at that point.
So, when setting your goals for the month, consider other factors that can hinder you and see how you can work through them. Then break down how you wish to achieve that into weekly goals.
For example, if I decide to write 10 articles this month, my weekly goal will be to write 3 articles and my daily goal will be to write at least 700 words per day.
2. Create a Monthly Budget
I have been a victim of unbudgeted spending every time I receive my salary and this has made me go broke faster than you can say “sapa”.
One thing I began doing at the beginning of this year was to create a budget to guide just how I intend to spend my money. It hasn’t stopped me from going broke; it has just stopped me from going broke faster.
Creating a monthly budget is one of the things to do at the start of every month. If you have a stable source of income, it is best to prepare a spending plan, an investment plan, and a savings plan, if you can afford all three.
The good thing about creating a budget is that it gives you an idea of how much to spend and helps you know when you are over-spending. If your budget for expenses is
N50,000, the moment you spend above that, you know you are over-spending.
3. Make a Food Plan
Anyone who knows me knows that food is my favourite thing about being human. Honestly, I really feel for plants because how can I be a plant and not be able to eat pounded yam?
A monthly food plan is a great way to get the month rolling. You know as a student, I am constantly worrying about what to eat when I get home, a situation I could have prevented if I had created a plan from the beginning.
Making a food plan saves you from constant thinking like me. It also gives you the scope of how much food you consume, if you need to add more spice to your food selection, or even just how nutritious your meals are.
Once, I cooked beans (with varieties of course) for three straight days and it took the intervention of my mates to call me to order. How would I know when my favourite meal is beans!
4. Plan Out Your Outdoor Activities
For those of us who work remotely, it can be so tempting to stay indoors and not even notice. I mean, since the school closed, my routine has been waking up, writing, learning how to code, talking to a few people, using Twitter, praying, and sleeping.
Is it good? No
Will I stop? I’m working on that
A good thing to do at the start of every month is to make plans for recreational activities. C’mon! The outside world is fun. You can’t spend all your time working or staying indoors.
To spice it up, you can even make plans with friends so you don’t go back to your shell when you should be out sightseeing.
There are so many things you can do. Attend a wedding (an owambe is my favourite part of Saturdays), watch a football match, visit a famous site and the likes.
As simple as these activities seem, they are a good way to spice up your month.
5. Pick Up a 30-Days Challenge
To have a productive month, one of the things to do at the start of every month is to pick up a 30-days challenge.
A 30-days monthly challenge is a set of actionable steps taken to help you achieve a goal. You have 30 days in a month (sorry, February), and using those days to meet up with one challenge, one step at a time, is a pretty good idea.
Choosing what challenge to face should not be a hard thing. To begin with, you can decide to pick any part of your life you wish to improve on and work on it.
For example, if your challenge is to improve your body shape, you can pick an exercise challenge to focus on for the month. Like how I started working out on my abs for three months straight because I was beginning to eat too much.
If you’re still lacking ideas on what challenge to pick for a new month, check out Pinterest for more templates.
5. Do a Reflection on the Previous Month
It’s so easy to get caught up in the new month frenzy, we tend to forget that the past month was just yesterday.
A good thing to do at the start of every month is to take a look at the past month and take stock of everything that happened.
- What did you achieve?
- What did you not achieve?
- What mistakes did you make?
- What lessons did you learn?
- How do you intend to improve?
You can use these questions to take a reflection on how the past month went. The answers you get can then be used to shape your goals for the next month.
Having a 30-day plan for the new month has numerous advantages. Aside from keeping you focused, it helps you stay organized and productive when you follow through.
While writing this piece, I made up my mind to work on number 6 for April. What tip hit you hard? Let me know in the comment section.
What should I do to start the month strong?
To start the month strong, make sure you set goals that are realistic and achievable by writing down exactly how you wish to work on them.
What should I add to my monthly to-do list?
When making your monthly to-do list, make a list of things you couldn’t do the last month and add it to the current month’s list.
What should I do monthly?
Every month, it is necessary that you set out time to clean the house thoroughly.
In life, living and working alone on your own is impossible. Be it a school science project, a working committee, or a recreational group, people have to work together to achieve a goal. With how different everyone is, working together can prove to be a difficult task. Here are 10 tips to ensure you work better as a team.
10 Tips That Will Help You Work Better As a Team
1. Make Sure to Set Clear Goals
When a team is created, it is usually to serve a certain purpose. This purpose might be clear to some but to others, it might just be a blur of words and activities. It is important for the goals of the group to be stated clearly for the benefit of everybody.
Also, in many cases, team members have personal goals that they look forward to fulfilling while in the group. It is important to bring these goals to light. That way not only will people help you achieve your goal; you will not be a hindrance to the work balance as your personal goals will be considered.
2. Assign Roles and Responsibilities
The role and responsibilities of each team member should be clearly defined at the beginning of the process. These responsibilities should be assigned based on the weaknesses and strengths of individuals. For instance, a person who likes to make comics could be given the role of advertising and a computer guru could handle technical issues. This way, your team runs as efficiently as possible.
Assigning responsibilities also severely reduce the rate of failure in groups. This is because tasks are easily doable bits that form a whole when put together. In an event of failure, it is easy to identify the responsible party and push him/her to improve next time.
3. Ensure There Is Good Communication
In any system, communication is key. Communication is an essential part of everyday life and a backbone of any successful team. Communication does not just mean that one party talks and the other hears; it is when one party speaks and the other listens. In good communication, information, suggestions, feelings, etc. are passed from one person to another.
Skilful communication ensures that the team runs smoothly. It creates awareness and understanding between teammates. It is the way by which roles, responsibilities, and goals are set. Without effective communication, the team is as well as doomed.
4. Create Trust within the Team
In a system where people have to trust each other with their collective success, it is important to build trust among each other. Trust is a solid block that will hold the team up and allow each person to focus on their part of the job. This is because they trust the others to also play their part in ensuring the success of the group.
In addition, this trust can be built by a group discussion where everyone talks about their personal lives. Some studies suggest trust-building exercises to boost the team while some others just suggest that the team spends a lot of time together.
5. Decisions Should Be Made Together
Making decisions for the group is not the responsibility of the group leader. Everyone’s ideas should matter in the process. In making a decision for the group, each and every individual opinion should be sought and respected.
It is important to remember that our environments and personalities differ. As such, our opinions might be vastly different. Do not let this drive a wedge between the group. If necessary, decisions can be put to a vote but only as a last resort. It is better to try to convince one party or even come to a compromise.
6. Reward Every Achievement
No matter how little the achievement is, it is essential to reward people for doing their work well. Whether this reward is in form of praise, award, or gifts, every act of diligence would be rewarded. It makes personnel feel appreciated and motivated to do more. In a company system, a teammate of the year award, people person of the year award, and other such seemingly meaningless awards will greatly improve teamwork.
The human brain loves to be praised. When appreciated, it does not want to lose the respect of others hence, individuals work even harder to maintain their status. Everyone else who has had to clap for a successful individual would also love to stand in the person’s shoes thus enhancing their work. Care should be taken, however, to not let these awards divide the team.
7. There Should Be Constant Check-Ins
Team members should constantly check up on each other and their works. A social media chat room could be created and regular meetings should be scheduled to discuss the ups and downs of teammates’ personal lives and team responsibilities. This promotes trust, enhances communication, builds understanding, trust and so much more.
Also, when a teammate is stuck on his/her part of the project, they can quickly call the attention of the rest of the team to the problem.
Hence, a solution can be found and the team will be more effective. Frequent communication also enables teammates to communicate their inability to fulfil their roles so the project will not be put in jeopardy.
8. Celebrate the Team’s Diversity
In a professional or school team, it is very unlikely that everybody is from a similar circumstance, social standing, and even city. These differences should not be seen as a weakness but as a strength.
A group with 7 people from 7 different cities with 7 different skills will usually have a more beautiful project than with 7 completely similar people. This is because the first group pulls 7 different experiences into its project. Instead of a monotone work, their project will have diversity and will usually be unique as compared to the project of the second group.
9. Create Regular Brainstorm Sessions
For a group to work better as a team, everyone must have a say in the matter of the type of project to do and how to go about it. This is where brainstorming comes in. Brainstorming is a group discussion aimed at producing ideas and ways for problem-solving.
When the entire group is part of the project, they will be excited to see their ideas put into the play and be more willing to help the project come to life thus, ensuring a responsive, happy, and efficient team.
10. Select the Right Team Leader
A leader is not an authoritative, dictatorial person but a person who values trust, hard work, team spirit, and people’s opinions. To be a leader is to be ready to succumb to the people’s wishes and to be able to hold steadfast unto decisions. It is to be kind yet firm, to be as soft as foam yet as solid as a rock. A team leader is a person in front of a tug of war game. He is at the forefront and bears the brawn but knows that he needs to support of every other member to actually win the game.
Choosing the right leader is the second most important tip to work better as a team after communication. The right team leader will act as a cement to maintain the group. Therefore, teammates should study each other thoroughly before deciding. It is important to note that leadership is dynamic.
The person who is most fit to lead might not be noted right away but later into the group project or the former leader might no longer function as effectively, therefore, need a replacement. In these situations, it is important to discuss the new developments and decide on the change of leadership.
Team works are not easy. Many people would rather work alone as they feel it is more flexible, assured of success, and overall easier on them. But with the tips above, working in a team will feel like a cool breeze on a hot day and all the teammates will be content, happy, and satisfied.
I hope you find this piece helpful. If you do, please leave a comment in the comments section.
There are millions of ways to learn a new language by yourself quickly. Learning languages as a whole can be easy depending on the language of interest. You don’t only learn the language, you learn the culture of that language because the language is a huge part of that culture.
I can say that no language is hard. It all depends on your zeal and interest in that language. Languages are fun to learn. In simple words, learning a new language by yourself quickly all begins with your interests.
To learn a new language by yourself quickly, here are some very vital points to note.
Ways to Learn a New Language by Yourself
1. Download Apps Relating to the Language of Interest
If you’re looking to learn and enhance your ability in your desired language, then a good way is to download apps in that language. It could be Quizlet apps, dictionaries, or even pieces of literature written in your desired language.
The main idea here is to enhance your vocabulary and to also get familiar with words and maybe signs or rules in that language. Take French and Arabic for example, these are languages with rules and signs so getting an app on these languages should be vital to your learning of the desired language.
2. Listen to Audios and Videos in the Language of Interest
To be good in conversations and to learn your new language quickly, listening to audio and watching videos is another relevant point in learning a new language. By listening to audio and watching videos, you get to boost your conversational ability in that language. You get familiar with the way certain words are pronounced and sometimes in what context they are used.
Watching videos in your desired language also gives you an insight into the culture of the owners of the language.
3. Make Language Learning a Daily Habit
People complain that they can’t learn a language because it’s too hard or they aren’t “good” at it. In reality, the real reason is that people can’t get themselves to practice the language consistently.
To learn a language by making it a daily habit, you can do things like, opening your language app or revising your last 5 words from the lesson. All these are forms of active recall which help you to achieve your goal of learning the language quickly.
Again, you can reward yourself in some ways as it will help increase your chances of success. It could mean treating yourself to treats, but for a lot of people, just seeing their success is enough to prolong their habits.
4. Converse With Yourself or With a Native Speaker
A means of testing yourself is trying to converse with yourself or a native speaker. This helps because you get to construct your sentences and also you get to seek correction from a professional who is an indigene of that language.
Also, by learning the words and also trying to converse with them, your knowledge about that language tends to stick longer because mistakes make knowledge last longer.
5. Set Language-Learning Goals
By setting these language learning goals, you get to learn your language quickly and fluently. You set goals like:
Long Term Goals: This could be you saying that in the next 5 years of your life, you would have learned at least 6 languages.
Short Term Goals: This could be you telling yourself that by the end of the week, you must have learned 300 words in French.
Challenging Yourself: By challenging yourself, you get yourself together and also try to be consistent and determined. You also get to do this by letting yourself acknowledge your ‘why?’ and ‘how?’
6. Learn about the Culture of Words
It is not all about learning the words and how they will fit into a page of a book. It is also importantto learn about the culture and history associated with these words.
Learning and understanding the words of a language are deeper than just the language itself. You get to understand and why that language is the way it is and also why it has so many curves or signs as it does which differentiates its pronunciation (an example here could be French, Arabic, or even Mandarin).
Learning and acknowledging the culture of natives is one sure good and quick way to learn a new language by yourself. It does go a long way.
7. Change Your Phone Language to Your Language of Interest
To get familiar with your words and to understand how the vocabulary of these are used, changing your phone default language to the desired language of interest is a good way if I do say so myself. I have also been in the same situation of learning a new language and this point has been of help to me.
When you change your default langue to your desired language, you get familiar with words whether new or not. The main reason for this is familiarity. You get accustomed to the words and you also understand the meaning of these words and when and how to use them.
8. Have Fun
Having fun is one of the ways you can learn a new language by yourself quickly. This point is weird, yes I know, but it is relevant. When doing something that you were not forced to do, you do it with every ounce of passion and determination in your bones. You don’t have to make learning a new language a punishment or a must-do to strike off your to-do list.
Try to have a little fun. Try catching cruises sometimes and also have it at the back of your mind that the language which you are learning is not your mother tongue and it is ok to make mistakes. Laugh a little and take it the moment on your language learning journey as best as you can. People who are fluent in languages made mistakes too.
My Point Is…
When learning a new language, you should also take into consideration the 4 basic steps to learning a new language and these are, listening, reading, watching, and speaking. These are very basic but very important steps to learning a new language.
You also need to understand that learning a new language goes beyond talents and skills. It also deals with the history of those words coming out of your mouth or in those pages. Learning a new language is all about mindset and passion.
I hope this piece is of help to you. If it is, kindly leave a comment in the comments section below. Thank you.
You could also check on 3 Best Tips That Will Help You Achieve Any Goal In Life
A lot of people have never taken out time to ponder on ways to invest in themselves. There are millions of smart ways to invest in yourself, it all depends on your willingness to see yourself as a being to invest in.
Investing in yourself does not only deal with your physical self, it also touches other facets of your life like your spiritual, mental, and even emotional life. There are a lot of smart ways to invest in yourself that is you as a whole.
Taking out time to build yourself is a very good thing. It is like you see yourself as a broken building that needs to be reconstructed. As you go deeper into this literature you get to realize that there are infallible smart ways to invest in yourself.
Ways to Invest in Yourself
1. Travel More
Yes, travelling is a good way to invest in yourself. By travelling, you get to see and experience a lot of things ranging from seeing new people, learning a new language, learning new cultures, and even trying out new dishes.
Travelling also helps you relive your mind by changing environment and meeting people with different ideologies and experiences which help you see life from a different angle.
2. Plan for Your Future
Don’t wait until retirement age to start saving or investing. A lot of people fall into this category because they don’t save, they just spend all the money that comes into their hands.
By saving money, you get to invest in a business or even build a business empire for yourself. This business can be inherited by your children which is a good thing.
In the book The Richest Man In Babylon’ by George S. Clason, the author states you should pay yourself first. By paying yourself first, are not just keeping a certain amount of your money stagnant, you are keeping to put your money to work later on. It is a really good way to invest in your future.
3. Read a Book or a Blog
There are hidden benefits to the art of reading. It is not boring to read, it’s a blessing! Reading a book or blog which is beneficial to your life is another smart way to invest in yourself.
Books give you the power to learn new things and bust through career slumps. Books and blogs help you boost your career and show you a clear path to things you never knew possible. Books give insights into a lot of things in life. Because books and blogs are written by people from their own experience, you can grasp and understand life from these authors’ perspectives.
By grasping some of their ideas, you get to use the good to help your life and this is very good in investing in yourself.
4. Exercises and Yoga
Your physical self also has to be invested in. Exercises and Yoga are good ways to invest in yourself. Exercises bring a sense of lightness and confidence to your body, honestly stretching and flexing your muscles are very beneficial to you in the long run. To exercise and do yoga habitually, you have to motivate yourself to workout, you have to look beyond the pain of exercises and look at the beneficial part of exercises and what it does for you in the long run.
Exercising and doing yoga gives you self-confidence which is very good and helps you appreciate your physical appearance.
5. Pray More
As very religious as it may be, it is a very relevant way to invest in yourself. The art of prayer helps you feel at peace, you don’t only feel at peace but you also feel a sense of wholeness in yourself. Praying may seem orthodoxical to some but it is good for investing in yourself.
By praying, you are also investing in your spiritual life which has a link to other facets of your life. Praying goes a long way when investing in yourself. It is often neglected but it is very important to invest in yourself. Just praying solves and leads you to other ways to invest in yourself. It does not matter how your prayer, all that matters is how you take prayer and how it invests in your life.
You could join religious associations which help people know themselves and also helpless privileged people. By doing this you’re knowing yourself and also investing in yourself.
6. Another Smart Way To Invest In Yourself Is By Eating Healthy
Eating healthy can help optimize brain function. Eating healthy is also very beneficial to invest in yourself. Your body needs fuel to run efficiently, so be sure to serve it nutrients.
Here are some ways to nourish your body:
- Increase the number of fruits and vegetables going into your body.
- Drink at least 3 litres of water daily.
- Take supplements
7. Find A Mentor
Your path to investing in yourself doesn’t have to be a solo trip. Whether you want to be in business or education, finding an experienced mentor in your chosen industry will help you get where you want to go.
These mentors will often have your best financial interest at heart and can direct you towards a future of wealth and stability. Some tips to find a mentor maybe:
- Check social media for a mentor that fits your career path.
- Going for a program relating to your career venture.
- Sending cold emails to some mentors.
8. Develop Your Skills
Everyone has skills, it just depends on you finding them. Once you’ve found something you’re good at or would want to venture into, you have to build on it. Exploiting opportunities to help develop does skills. As they say, practice makes perfect!
Some skills for developing could be:
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- Leadership skills
- Digital skills
- Writing skills
- Intelligence skills
- Public speaking skills
9. A Smart Way To Invest In Yourself Is By Setting Goals
Setting goals is a really good thing if you plan on getting ahead in life. Setting goals will not only help invest in your life but will also help you get ahead in life.
Setting goals could be long-term, short-term, or even challenging yourself. A way to set goals is by taking time to do things you ordinarily would not do but are very beneficial to your life. Take for instance reading 10 pages of a book each day, that would sum up to at least 30 books a year! It is really good because it helps you increase your vocabulary.
10. When You Invest In Others, You Also Invest in Yourself
You may be asking how you can invest in people? There are numerous to invest in people and some ways include:
- Patronize a friends business
- Being moral support to people
- Praying for people
- Giving a talk about your experience at a conference
These are some little ways to invest in people and by doing this you’re also doing good and investing in yourself. You may not know this, but helping people gives you a place in their hearts. So if you would want to invest in yourself, start helping people!
11. Make Money On The Side
Earning money on the side of your day job is different from creating multiple income streams. A side hustle is not necessarily about investing or saving small amounts of money. Earning money in your spare time often means developing a skill that you can offer as a service to clients.
By knowing this little difference, you can use this to your advantage by investing in yourself. There are a million and one ways to create multiple streams of income that can be beneficial to you and your clients. Some ways include freelance writing, reading for a blog, or even tutoring on subjects you’re good at.
All these are ways to earn money that also help develop your skills in the long run.
12. Learn to Say No
Most individuals believe that saying no is a bad thing and makes you a greedy person. On the contrary, saying no does not necessarily mean you are a bad person.
It is good to say no because you do not also have to agree with everything, sometimes saying no is a way of keeping your mental health in check. You do not always have to be a people pleaser to be accepted, saying no can mean you put yourself first and you appreciate yourself better.
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13. Expand Your Network
You don’t have to just work and keep working, as they say, ‘all work and no play makes jack a dull boy. You have to go out, meet people, and get acquainted with these people you meet.
By expanding your network, you could get to meet people through friends at work or even mutual friends. These are little ways of expanding your network which can be beneficial to your life and help you invest in yourself.
A benefit of expanding your network is that you get to meet or people with different sides to life and this can help you in the future.
14. Invest In Your Relationship
This is another beneficial way to invest in yourself, you do this by paying more attention and giving more time to people who matter to you in life. You try to preserve this relationship by doing every possible thing, it could just be going out for drinks, going on a vacation, and also just going out to have fun in general.
You should always try to keep those you care about and who care about you close to you because these are people who help you in the future.
Investing in a relationship also helps you to invest in yourself.
The Point Is…
Investing in yourself is a very good thing to do if you plan on getting ahead in life. As earlier written, there are millions of ways to invest in yourself and these are very beneficial to yourself as a whole.
Most of the time when people suggest ways to invest, they are usually talking about a monetary investment. Learn how to strike the proper balance between investing time and investing money. In other words, be patient.
In other words, know when to spend and when to save, or when to invest and when to let time do its thing.