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how to organize yourself to conquer personal peaks: strategies and approaches

My name is Rusin Alexander, and I am the CEO of the communication agency ICU. The year 2022 was not easy, but many of us look at life through the prism of opportunities, regardless of external factors. I belong to this category of people.

But what should be the basis for growth? What should you build your opportunities on?

On the one hand, the answer is obvious: you need to start with simple things and gradually move towards complexity, taking small steps towards achieving the result. On the other hand, the question arises of what exactly to focus on and what to prioritize.

I want to share the components of a full life that have helped me, and perhaps they will help someone achieve their goals in the new year.

Balance - it is in the small, but often underestimated steps.

Environment without assholes

Look back 5/10 years, or maybe just a year ago, and remember your environment. It becomes clear that we and those around us are changing, despite our seeming conservatism. We surround ourselves with people with whom we are comfortable, with whom we are on the same wavelength. This applies not only to colleagues, but also to friends, family members, and significant others.

There is a golden rule: "don't work with assholes." By following this rule and extrapolating it to all aspects of life, we free ourselves from unnecessary burdens and create an environment for development.

Your environment determines your growth.

15 Minutes for Clarity

Even in my youth, I realized that I feel more fulfilled and make my days more productive if I plan my day in advance. At the beginning of my journey, I used to write down my tasks for the day, starting from the time of waking up to the amount of time I would spend on evening reading. This disciplined me. Even now, after years have passed, I cannot fall asleep if I do not have a plan for the next day.

Find 15 minutes to plan your day, starting with the biggest and most voluminous task. Answer three questions for each item:

  • — What will I do?
  • — When will I do it?
  • — Why will I do it?

The presence of a plan determines your effectiveness.

Optimization as a Way of Life

When I was swimming, I set my alarm for 7:00 six days a week. At 7:04, I was already leaving the house. At 7:40, I was standing on the edge of the pool. I had 240 seconds to wake up, have breakfast, get dressed, wash up, and leave the house.

How did I manage? I optimized everything that was possible:

  • — Prepared breakfast the night before
  • — Got up with the first alarm
  • — Moved around the apartment without returning to one room twice
  • — Filled the kettle with exactly one cup of water, so boiling would be quick and in the exact volume needed for one cup of tea.

Once, I witnessed my colleagues in the procurement department painfully slow in creating their daily media plans. I thought of optimizing this process. I proposed a competition - to create a media plan with the same inputs, in which the winner received a power bank. The work immediately went faster. This case is about motivation, excitement, and optimizing time for a boring task.

Create scripts, standards, and regulations where possible and appropriate, use convenient services and applications. This significantly reduces the time for important tasks. Now I am amazed to see some people typing on the keyboard with only one hand.

Optimize by separating the main from the secondary.

Getting to Know Yourself

Meditation is for people who understand something that I do not. This was my stereotype for a long time. Now, it is a soothing practice that I find difficult to do without.

I paid attention to this practice when my colleagues gave me an Apple Watch. Pop-up windows "breathing" and "mindfulness" occasionally appeared on the watch. That's how I got to meditation.

Meditation practice brings me back to the moment, helping me realize where I am, what I need right now, and also supports my mental health - an important component of a healthy person. If doctors prescribed meditation as a medication, it would sound like "daily, on an empty stomach, 15 minutes".

All diseases come from the head.

Work as a hobby

We all have our favorite activities: watching TV series, making TikTok videos, spending Friday night with a glass of Viva Magenta wine or skiing down steep slopes. But what if your job is also your favorite activity?

My workday lasts from 8 to 13 hours. I spend 2 hours a day on uninteresting but necessary tasks, and the rest of the time I do what brings me pleasure, regardless of the amount of responsibility or stress. I don't see the point in spending 1/3 of my life on something that doesn't bring me joy. Favorite work can offer a full range of emotions: victories, defeats, disappointments, excitement, and even betrayal.

An attitude towards work as an adventure does not lead to burnout or depression, but, on the contrary, gives strength and energy. I believe this is the secret of the energy of Boris the cat from a famous commercial.

Love what you do.

Fear as a growth point

We are all afraid of something - spiders, public speaking, loneliness or responsibility. It is essential to realize and accept your fear, and then the next step is to face it head-on, as most fears are overcome and eventually pass with time.

12 years ago, I visited the Kingdom of Thailand for the first time. Of course, I wanted to see all the sights. Never having ridden a motorbike before, I rented one. In the first minute, I fell off it and scraped my legs and arms. The next day, coming down a steep hill in the rain, I lost control, fell off the bike, hurt myself badly, and my bike hit a parked car. That's when I drew the line.

And only this year, I overcame myself, studied the riding technique, watched videos, and sat on a bike again. Now it is my favorite vehicle.

And if you enter the search query "Alexander Rusin ICU" on YouTube, you will see how I invite specialists to a brand session as part of an event dedicated to plastic surgery and cosmetology. The whole body is stiff, the speech is unclear, the expression on my face is strained, and there are a dozen glued together takes. At the conference itself, I had fast speech, a purple face, and a feeling of thousands of lost nerve cells.

Now, facing my fear of public speaking, it's just a slight excitement for me.

Expand your horizons by overcoming your fears.

Habits of a Quality Life

I feel that if we don't integrate self-improvement and physical health into our schedules, we risk falling behind those who do.

Brushing teeth and waking up at a regular time are natural rituals.

I consciously train the rest:

1. I meditate every morning.

2. I practice yoga, cardio, or strength training 3-5 times a week. I alternate them so it doesn't get boring. During cardio, I listen to podcasts, during strength training I play rock from the '70s-'80s, electro, modern jazz, movie soundtracks, during yoga I do shavasana.

3. I read news on Telegram once a day in the evening for 1 hour: The Bell, Secret of the Firm, Sostav. The first two media cover a general cross-section of information, Sostav is for tracking changes in the advertising market, and to see creatives.

4. I write down the theses of business meetings and carry a daily planner. I don't have absolute memory, I remember better through a pen.

5. I watch the channel "Math and Tricks" on YouTube a couple of times a week. I solve math problems.

6. Russian bath is sacred. The habit appeared thanks to my dad when I was 4 years old. Now I go to the bathhouse once a week.

7. I say "no" to devices during meals. When I was first at "Probka na Dobrolubova", I was surprised that among several restaurant rules, it was forbidden to talk on the phone. Sometimes we forget that eating is intimate and it is better to engage in it with immersion in our sensations, even if it is such cult restaurants as "Karlan" or "Tochka".

Useful habits help to follow the intended course.

The Path and the Journey

I know people who hardly ever leave their city. But there are also those for whom travel is Turkey, a 5* hotel, 10 days / 9 nights, and a sunbed. They occupy it at 7 a.m. and then go back to bed.

For me, travel is about the "path" and the "journey", about the unknown and adventure, about traditions and mentalities, about new acquaintances and discoveries.

For the first time, I traveled abroad with my parents at the age of 7. It was the island of Crete. I visited the Cave of Zeus, the Palace of Knossos, the first water park in my life, rode a mountain donkey along no less mountainous serpentine roads, ate fruit from trees, broke my elbows and knees playing with Greek children, exchanging only a few words in English.

From the age of 15, I spent 3 to 5 months a year at sports training camps in different regions of Russia, and also traveled to international competitions in Europe.

I purchased construction materials for renovating my apartment in Estonia, weighing 2000 kg, and transported them in parts to St. Petersburg on my own car. I also imported cars from Germany for myself and my family, built a villa in Thailand where my colleagues and I worked for a month before the pandemic, drove from St. Petersburg to Ljubljana with a stopover for a nap at 2 am, and traveled by car with my children through the North Caucasus on a route that included St. Petersburg, Moscow, Rostov-on-Don, Kislovodsk, Vladikavkaz, Grozny, Makhachkala, Derbent, Elista, Volgograd, Moscow, and St. Petersburg.

In 2011, at the age of 23, I ran out of blank pages in my biometric passport after 3 years. Since then, I have only been using a regular passport. In other words, traveling has become a habit that makes my life fulfilling.

Live by traveling.

Not only goals, but also dreams

Once, I wrote down on paper what I wanted to do, see, learn or buy. The list turned out to be long — from cooking penne verde prado (pasta with spinach and shrimp in a creamy sauce from Sardina restaurant, which has long been closed on Rubinstein street) to walking through lavender fields in France.

This list became a travel guide to the unknown world. It motivated me. This is how I started a business abroad, grew 18 bushes of my favorite feijoa fruit, went to Asia for 3 months, took a boat ride on the Kazenoy-Am mountain lake in Chechnya, watched sunrises on the wildest beaches in Thailand, and of course, cooked those same pasta.

As the famous songwriters said, dream up your dreams.

We often postpone things, forgetting that we only have one life and we need to live it to the fullest and in good company. No matter what they say about time flying by, do not lose touch with yourself in this world, listen to yourself and your desires. Answer the questions: What do you want? How do you want it? When do you want it?

Happy New Year!

Rusin A.S.

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