Productivity 101: The One-Year Rule
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What would you tell yourself if you could travel back in time to 2019? What about if you could travel to the future, to 2021? When I am trying to decide what to do with my time, I always ask myself whether my future self will thank me for the choice I make. Will I have any regrets in one year? For example, will I regret missing out on the opportunity that I was nervous about? Or will my future self be grateful that I took the chance?

As students, we can often have an abundance of time outside of our studies. It can be difficult to decide how to spend that time, especially with the numerous opportunities which are available to us. Sometimes these opportunities can also be very daunting, or you might think that your time could be better doing something else. I use the "One Year Rule" to give myself the courage to take up opportunities which I am nervous or unsure about. For example, I use this rule to weigh up decisions about how I can spend my time. Watch TV or catch up on my revision? I would probably prefer to catch up on my Netflix show, but my future self would appreciate it more if I caught up on my revision. This rule can also be applied to helping you find a good work-life balance. It is also too easy to get caught up with the pressure of being academically successful and neglect other aspects of our wellbeing. Personally, I know that the memories that I make with my friends will be much more valuable to me in the future.


What are you doing now that your future self will regret? Or what opportunity will your future self be grateful for, if you took the chance with it today? Is there anything you might regret in the future? Start applying the "One Year Rule" now to your decisions and see what you can achieve this year.

Your task this week: Write down your goals for the next year and spend a few minutes reflecting on your day in the evening. Write down some of the choices that you have made in the day with your time. Are you happy with your choices? What do you want to change or achieve for the next day? Repeat every day this week and see what changes you can make in your daily routine!

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Originally published 23 July 2020 , updated 23/07/2020

About the Author

Medical student navigating lectures, Tesco meal deals, and 8am ward rounds. Follow me for productivity tips.

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