By Autumn Jordan (Tau, Brenau University)
Everyone is involved in systems in some way, shape or form. There is everything from computer systems, ecological systems, education systems, all the way up to the solar system. Even your body is made up of 11 different organ systems! In a world where we are always looking for the next system hack or quick fix, how in the world are we supposed to make it all work? How are we supposed to be at our best when we prioritize our work and social roles over self-care and gratitude?
In a second year working from home while navigating the highs and lows of life, I’ve found that although my system now might look or even feel a little different (thank you, pandemic), it isn’t broken. Last year, if anything, taught me exactly what I need mentally, physically, professionally and personally to keep my system going, and I would love to share a few of those tips with you.
- Use Your Goals as Fuel: Whether your goal is for one month or one year, create something to motivate you. Maybe your goal is landing your dream internship or getting to watch Netflix after studying. Whatever it is, set that goal for yourself. When you finally accomplish it, you will be so proud.
- Learn the Power of the Word “No”: Our society has made saying “no” almost equivalent to saying “Voldemort.” As hard as it seems, you have to say “no” sometimes. Saying “no” makes your “yes” that much stronger because you are intentional with your time and acknowledge your limits.
- The Road to Perfection Is a Dead End: Perfection equals stagnation, and the road to “perfect” is full of self-doubt and dissatisfaction. Taking a second to appreciate who you’ve become and who you will grow to be does not equal mediocrity! Remember, we do not get inspired by how perfect people are, but rather how people have overcome the imperfections and trials of life.
- Expectations Are a Two-Way Street: How often do we complain about individuals not meeting our expectations, yet we are not willing to be that strict or flexible with ourselves? Our personal and professional relationships revolve around expectations, so do not be afraid to reevaluate them or even acknowledge that you did not hold up your end of the bargain.
- Learn to Prioritize You: You are flawlessly you, and no social media platform can give you the best advice for your mental, emotional or physical health. Even if it is for 5 minutes, prioritize yourself. Take a quick walk or maybe turn back on those Apple Watch stand reminders. You deserve just as much love, time and dedication as that email or assignment you are rushing to work on.
- Be Empowered by Organization: If you know me, you know I love to organize. Pens, planners and sticky notes are my go-to, but I see many individuals struggle year after year with the thought of organization. There is no right or wrong combo, and every person is different, but let organization, whether at home or at work, inspire and empower you. Don’t spend what precious time we have being scrambled and unorganized. Spend it being productive and efficient! There’s always room to improve your organizational system.
Whether you take some system tips from me or formulate some on your own, it’s important to remember that while everyone’s experience is different, it all starts with mindset. Already this year has been one like never before, and as we work daily to make our mark and enact positive change in our lives and communities, keep pushing forward. We might not have the playbook for this thing called life, but we will at least write the plays as we go. In the words of John Lewis, “Be hopeful. Be optimistic. Never lose that sense of hope!”