It's a funny thing about elementary school, many of the lessons learned are so simple that you forget about them in the blink of an eye.
I don't care if it's been four or forty years since you left kindergarten, some lessons are critical to life and guess what - many of us have forgotten them.
No folks, these are just for kids, these are the basic elements the us 'busy people' seem to neglect every single day.
If your current report card would have “could do better” on it, think about applying these five basics to your life today.
Handwriting and presentation
When you were in elementary school, I’m sure your teacher insisted that you wrote in your “best handwriting” when you produced a piece of work for display. If you were an over-achiever, perhaps you made presented your homework complete with a front cover and neatly bound the pages .
Good presentation is vital in life; we judge based on appearances, even though we might not mean to. This applies to things like your clothes (especially if you’re attending an interview, or working an internship) but good presentation is important in so many other areas too – from writing a letter to a potential mentor to trying to sell your house.
If you’re a freelancer or small business owner, having professional-looking business cards can be enough to mark you out from the competition. Don’t underestimate how much a first impression – based on how well you present yourself or your work – can mean.
When your teacher wanted your class to concentrate, she may have asked you all to work in silence for a period of time. It’s much easier to focus when you’re not chatting to people.
In your life today, this might mean telling colleagues that you’re busy and that you’d appreciate not being interrupted for a couple of hours. For those of you who work from home, or who are students, “silent time” could mean logging out from instant messaging applications and switching off your mobile.
Having some time – even just an hour – to focus solely on the task at hand can make a huge difference to your productivity.
Put your hand up
When you knew the answer to a question that your teacher asked in school, you didn’t just shout it out – you put your hand up and waited to be called on. As we get older, we get more used to chipping in whenever we want. The art of listening is forgotten.
Of course, you’d look daft putting your hand up in a meeting whenever you wanted to speak, but the principle is to make sure that everyone has a chance to participate. If you’re in a meeting at work or a study group at college, make sure you don’t drown out the quieter people. Try letting someone else answer for a change. If you’re chairing or leading a group, ask the shyer members for input and make sure they have the chance to talk.
Do your homework
Most kids don’t like homework, but they get it done. Why? Usually because there’s some sort of punishment – detention – if they don’t. As we get older, though, we don’t have authority figures to lecture us about doing our “homework” – those boring or tedious tasks that we love to put off, but which would help us in our business or studies.
Whether it’s researching the market to put together a business plan, or reading the assigned text for a class, doing your homework can make all the difference between success and failure. If you’re struggling to motivate yourself, write it down in your planner or diary and give yourself an hour’s “detention” if you’ve not done it by the deadline. (During your detention, sit down and get on with the job, whether you want to or not!)
Teachers know how important play time is. It allows kids to have a break, run around in the fresh air, and come back ready to concentrate again. Are you missing play and forgetting to leave work at work?
If you work for yourself, or if you’re a student, try taking a break every couple of hours to go for a walk, chat to friends or read a few pages of a favorite book. You might feel like you’re wasting time – but you’ll be able to concentrate on your work far more effectively if you have a regular break.
For full-time employees, you might find this trickier to implement – but at least have a “coffee break” mid-morning and mid-afternoon where you sit back for five minutes, drink your coffee and recharge your batteries. Make a point of eating lunch away from your desk too, and get outside if you can.
Play time also means making sure you run around and get some exercise: this keeps your body and your mind at peak performance levels.
Have you forgotten about the basics because you are enamored with success? What can you change about your routine? Do you have a favorite tip from school-days to add to the list?