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There are a number of important life skills that you master over time as you develop into a well-rounded successful adult. It is unfortunate that these skills are not adequately taught in schools. Regardless of your profession or role, these skills will increase your likelihood of success and help you maintain it.  Going through school helps us to become book smart; however, to be life smart, you absolutely need these essential skills.

1. Time management

Finding that balance between your professional and personal lives relies majorly on conscious time management; your ability to schedule and organise yourself. Effective time management enables you to prioritise tasks and effectively keeps you self-disciplined and focused on the goals at hand. It does not mean that you have to spend every minute working; it just implies that you should be able to allocate time for work, family, leisure and self-development. Learn to eliminate distractions, delegate where you can and plan ahead to maximise productivity. Determine your desired results before starting a certain task. Cure procrastination by planning your week and breaking down your daily tasks. Keep in mind that your enthusiasm and resourcefulness will fluctuate throughout the week. Do not compromise family time by failing to manage your work schedule.

2. Money management

Do you know where all your money goes? Do you know how much money you spend when you go shopping or when you go out for drinks with colleagues after work? Living within your means and sticking to a monthly budget takes study and effort. Good financial sense allows you to accumulate savings and provides the resources to deal with unexpected expenses. You have to master how to identify bargains and avoid bad purchases. Most of us start to fail in this area when we fail to pay bills on the due date and always find ourselves broke at some time during the month. This eventually results in a constant state of worry about the future. Having a surplus of money can relieve this pressure. Bear in mind that the goal is not just about having huge sums of money stashed in the bank but also about investing and allowing that money to work for you. Being knowledgeable about money matters and business ventures is key in finding smart investments.

3. Decision making

The main thing that separates the doers from the “wannabes” is the ability to take action based on available information. It takes analysis and being able to respond quickly and effectively. Over analyzing and waiting for more information before making a decision can have costly implications. Making decisions is part of everyday life; ranging from trivial matters like which shoe to wear to life-changing issues like who to marry. Examine your gut feeling and apply reasoning using facts and figures for justification. Beware of vested interests and emotional attachments as they pose a crucial blockage to effective decision-making. When there is limited information, anticipate both negative and positive outcomes especially if the decision will involve the prospect of change. Hope for the best and prepare for the worst. Take responsibility for your actions.

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4. Emotional Intelligence

Know yourself too well to be able to sense the emotional needs of others. Become a master at managing your own emotions. Develop the ability to look at a problem calmly and relate well with people with different personalities. This is most crucial in managing relationships. Observe your reactions at your work environment and practice humility. Learn how to manage disputes and drive hope and optimism in situations where a solution is not found. Listen to other people with your full attention. To build self-awareness, find time to reflect on your day. You can meditate, go for a walks, pray or journal.

5. Strategy

For you to succeed, you need to always think about your next move and have a contingency plan in place for when things change. This way, you will save a lot of time that would be put into starting from scratch. To be a great strategist, you need to be well-informed. You need to know which buttons to press, when to press them and when to withdraw. It also involves putting in place systems and structures for realization of immediate and long term goals. Strategy fosters a sense of direction and unity among people who work together. It is an important aspect in making a great leader.

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6. Relationship management

Being able to relate well with the people around you will help get through tough times and celebrate good times. Getting to know people as individuals is vital in building strong long term relationships. Find out what you have in common with your team mates and customers and build on those interests to deepen your relationship. Practice common etiquette. Develop trust by keeping your word on deals and agreements. On a personal level, understand that friendships are hard to maintain. Marriage, family and kids require an intense understanding of commitment, love, forgiveness and connection to pull through. As much as there numerous wonderful things about family, raising one takes you through countless ups and downs. Everyday offers a new lesson to learn. Be open and receptive to those lessons.

Source: The Standard