Our capacity to produce the results we want and be the best we can be is closely related to the way we use our mind.
The better we use our mind, the more effective we’ll be, which will translate to the type of results we achieve. The more cluttered our mind, the less effective we’ll be.
If we have too many things cluttering our minds, it means our units of attention, or our ability to focus, is being taken up by different things, which will result in less attention being given to the things we want to do.
In order to more effectively use our minds, we have to give it better attention. Our thoughts form the key contents of our minds. The better we learn to harness our thoughts, the more effective we’ll be.
We’ll never get rid of all our thoughts and it should not be the objective. Our objective should be to free up mental units attention so that we can direct more attention to doing the things that’ll cause us to have greater progress in life.
There are times when we can trick ourselves into believing that because we’re busy, we’re also being productive.
Being busy doesn’t always mean we’re doing what’s important. Sometimes doing what’s urgent, which often are false emergencies, can cause us believe we’re productive.
As we get busier, take on new responsibilities or start new ventures, the demands on our time will continue to increase.
If we don’t have intelligent ways to use our time, it can lead to:
- High levels of stress or pressure.
- Feelings of overwhelm or frustration.
- Delays in getting things completed.
- Poor quality work.
- Our relationships with those we interact with being affected.
Using our time intelligent doesn’t mean better time management. The reality is time cannot be managed. We can only manage ourselves or our activities in relation to the time available to us. Not matter what we try to do, we cannot increase the time available to us.
Having intelligent but simple ways to better use our time in our daily activities will help us be more productive and effective.
From an early age, we’re told that in order to be successful in life, we have to work hard, which often gets interpreted as working long hours.
We hear people say they’ve been “burning the midnight oil” or “doing an all-nighter” in order to achieve a particular outcome.
There is value in having a strong work ethic and doing what’s required to get to where we want to be, but there also has to be a certain level of intelligence as to how we go about it. Working long hours doesn’t always equate to how much we actually get done.
Have you ever been in a situation where you know you’re about to go on a holiday and you have certain things that must get done before you leave? What usually tends to happen?
Oftentimes, the last couple of days before we leave is when we get the most done because we have an unmovable deadline. We somehow manage to become so productive and get things done.
If we can be so productive being we leave for a holiday, it means we have the capability to do that whenever we want. It also means we have to question the need to work long hours consistently.
Working long hours does not always result in us doing our best work.
Our habits can either lift us up or bring us down. If we have empowering habits, we’ll create better experiences and results in life.
Likewise, if we have disempowering or toxic habits, they can affect our lives and those around us in a detrimental way.
As most things we do are habitual, it’s makes sense to be more aware of which habits may be affecting us in a negative way.
5 Consequences of Having Toxic Habits
- Poor overall health.
- Lower levels of confidence, drive and motivation.
- Unhealthy or estranged relationships.
- Slower progress towards goals.
- Less willingness to take new risks or try new things.
The more toxic habits we can replace with empowering habits, the better our lives will be.
A common excuse we hear as to why people aren’t doing the things they really want to is that they don’t have enough time.
This excuse of not having enough time has become a story we constantly tell ourselves which results in:
- Poor planning and productivity.
- Our health, relationships and work suffering.
- Lack of ambition or drive.
- Lower levels of motivation, self-confidence and self-esteem.
- Disconnection from our dreams.
The truth is we all have the same amount of time each day. How we use our time determines the quality of our daily experiences.
If we’re honest with ourselves, we all can find time daily for things that matter most to us.
Consider this scenario: say you have 30 minutes to spare because you’re between tasks or appointments, or you simply don’t have anything planned — how can you make better use of that time?
Goals give us meaning and direction in life. Those don’t have goals usually lack the motivation to achieve things that matter, and often settle for the life they have drifted into.
While setting goals is important, achieving them often requires more focus and commitment.
Common advice related to setting goals include:
- Set goals that motivate or inspire you.
- Ensure goals are measurable and have a due date.
- Write down your goals.
- Create a plan to achieve your goals.
- Take consistent action.
While those are valuable advice, there is more we can do to give ourselves a better chance of achieving our goals.
How we operate daily is a reflection of the habits we have. The more good habits we have, the better our lives will be.
As we all desire to improve and have better lives, sometimes we struggle to follow through and stick to doing the things we know will be beneficial to us.
While having an intention to make a positive change, such as exercising a few times per week, drinking plenty of water daily or getting enough sleep each night, is a good starting point, sticking to the new habits is challenging.
One of the reasons why people abandon their New Year’s resolutions is because they are not able to lock in their new habits over the long term.
The Costs of Not Sticking to Our Habits
- It generates feelings of disappointment, regret and resignation.
- We lose trust in ourselves as we’re unable to keep our commitments.
- It lowers our self-confidence.
- We’re reluctant to try something that requires a long-term commitment.
- We don’t progress as quickly as we’d like to.
It’s one thing to identify a new or good habit we want to have, but it’s much more challenging to actually stick with it.
Our ability to stay focused on anything we’re doing determines the quality of our outputs or results. The better we focus, the better results we’ll produce.
The challenge we all face today is that it’s so easy to get distracted. With so many advances in technology, such as all the different smart devices available to us, being able to stay focused is a major challenge for most people. Unfortunately, our smart devices are making us more distracted than ever before.
Today, distraction removal has become the new focus. The better we’re able to eliminate distractions from our everyday lives, the better we’ll be able to focus.
Focus is a muscle and it’s also a process, which means we can learn how to improve it. An important thing to be aware of is we don’t have focus, we do focus. If focus is something we do, then there are things we can implement to get better at doing it, just like improving any other skill.
There are a number of reasons why improving our focus will be beneficial to us and they include:
- Getting more done in a shorter period of time.
- Producing better quality outputs.
- Creating more free time as a result of being more effective.
- Feeling less stressed or overwhelmed.
- Being happier and in a better mood.
Learning how to focus better is now a critical skill if we want to have a better quality life.
I’ll admit this is an area I struggle with as I tend to work more than I should. Over the past couple of years, I’ve taken steps to change my habit of working too much.
We’re in a global culture of being busy. Whenever we say we’re busy, it’s like a badge of honour because it makes us feel we’re important and we actually matter. We also use being busy as an excuse not to pursue what we really want to do in life.
If we ask most people what they’re busy with, it almost always comes down to day-to-day responsibilities and working to make ends meet. The truth is most people are busy doing work they would rather not be doing. So we get caught in this trap of being busy, doing work that’s not inspiring or fulfilling, which takes us away from what we’d rather be doing.
5 Signs You’re a Workaholic
- You spend a lot more time working than originally planned, which cuts into your evenings and weekends.
- You put your work before other areas of your life like health, relationships or family.
- You use work as a distraction not to face the real issues or challenges going on in your life.
- You free up time, that is, give up your leisure time, so you can do more work.
- You are highly stressed and fatigued, which generates feelings of anxiety, frustration and overwhelm.
It’s time to stop working ourselves to the ground and break the workaholism trap.
Has this ever happened to you? You get to the end of a year and wonder, “What happened this year?” or “What did I actually achieve this year?”
You had started the year with a lot of enthusiasm and hoped that this would be “the year” in which you had big breakthroughs and moved your life forward in a big way. However, things may not have worked out the way you wanted and now you feel like you’ve not made any significant progress over the past year.
If you’re like me, then you know that feeling we’ve not made any real progress in our lives can be demotivating and cause us to question whether we have what it takes to achieve what matters most to us.
The bad news is unless we’re aware of what may have caused us to fall short in achieving what we wanted, it’s very likely we’ll do the same things again and achieve similar type of results this year.
The good news is things can be different. By becoming aware of certain mistakes that prevented us from achieving what we wanted this past year, we can make the changes necessary and achieve big breakthroughs this year.
What is a Big Breakthrough?
A breakthrough means achieving an outcome that will make a significant improvement or bring forth a major benefit in our lives. As we’re all different and have different priorities, what we consider to be breakthroughs may be different.
For example, for one person, earning an additional $50,000 in one year may be a significant breakthrough, whereas for another person, that figure may not be a big deal at all.
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