Have you ever noticed some people tend to be “lucky” consistently, whereas other people tend to continuously attract negative experiences?
Our experiences do not occur by chance or luck. We create our reality based on our thoughts, emotions and behaviours.
If we’re responsible for our reality, then we have the power to create the reality we want. The starting point is being able to condition our minds and our brains so that we maintain a healthy, positive attitude, and direct our attention to what we want to create.
The brain is an organ that’s dynamic and constantly changing based on what we’re feeding our minds. If we’re constantly stimulated in a negative way, then that’ll affect how we see ourselves, others, and how we operate in the world.
On the other hand, if we’re feeding our minds with positivity, then we’ll have a more positive outlook on life. We know there’ll be times when we go off track and get caught up in negativity, but if we’ve trained ourselves to focus on what’s positive, then it’ll be so much easier to shift our focus away from negativity.
Our job is to train our brain in such a way that it’ll be easier for us to focus on thoughts that’ll lead us to where we want to go or what we want to achieve.
It should come as no surprise that the better rested we are, the more alert, focused and effective we are as we go through our day.
The challenge we face is getting enough sleep, but more importantly, getting enough quality sleep, every night. When we don’t get an optimal amount of sleep, we usually feel out of sync and don’t operate at our best.
While getting up earlier may appear to contradict the importance of getting enough sleep, they key point is we want to ensure we get the best rest we can every night.
There are numerous advantages to getting up earlier, however the challenge for those who aren’t used to it, is to consistently do the things that will lead to the habit of getting up earlier.
Getting up even 30 minutes earlier, five days a week, gives us an extra 125 hours of awake time every year. If we get up an hour earlier, that gives us 250 hours of additional time every year.
Just imagine what you can achieve if you used that time intelligently.
An extra 30 minutes per day can be used to:
- Take care of our physical and mental health.
- Develop a new skill over a period of time.
- Learn something new that can benefit us in the future.
- Spend more time with those that matter to us.
- Start our day earlier.
The key is to implement daily disciplines that will lead us to getting better quality sleep.
It’s no surprise that most of us are living busy, hectic lives, and finding time to do all the things we want to, is one of our biggest challenges.
The demands placed on us, either personally or by others, often pulls us in multiple directions during the course of our day or week.
Any advantage we can achieve to gain more time each week can make a huge difference in what and how much we accomplish.
For most professionals, a working week is typically 40 hours, therefore, in order to gain five working weeks over the course of a year, our objective is to save at least 200 hours. If we use 50 working weeks a year, that means we only have to save fours hours per week, which is not difficult at all.
What can you do with the extra hours?
It’s common for busy professionals to give more attention to their career or business endeavours, however there are many other benefits to gaining additional time each week such as:
- Giving more attention to our mental, emotional and physical health.
- Learning new skills.
- Completing an education course.
- Spending more time with family.
- Having more time off to pursue passions or hobbies.
- Starting a new venture or project.
Gaining additional time each week does not necessarily involve making drastic changes. It requires us to become smarter and more intentional in how we use our time.
Not having enough time has become one of the biggest reasons why we don’t do the things we really want to.
The idea that we have to fit in as much as possible into our already busy lives is a dangerous mindset to have. The reality is we have a limited number of hours each day and if we continue to have the mindset that “we can do it all” or “we can have it all,” it can lead to:
- High levels of unnecessary pressure or stress.
- Feelings of overwhelm or inadequacy.
- Mental or emotional fatigue.
- Physical health issues such as burnout.
- Slow progress towards achieving goals.
The key is to change our relationship with time and adopt something new that will enable us to utilise the time we have available better.
One of the most common excuses we hear as to why people aren’t doing the things they really want to is because they don’t have enough time.
Comments such as, “I’ll get to it when I have more time” or “I wish I had more time” or “I just don’t have enough time” confirm the fact that most of us now are so time poor.
The reality is we all have the same amount of time every day and every week — 24 hours per day and 168 hours per week. We cannot get more time, which means that in order to free up time to do what matters most to us, we must become more efficient and effective in how we do things.
When it comes to doing what matters most to us, it may include:
- Taking care of ourselves mentally, emotionally, physically, relationally and spiritually.
- Spending more time with our families.
- Learning something new.
- Planning for the future.
- Taking more time off.
- Doing things that bring us joy.
The challenge we face is finding the time to do these things, but the good news is there are things we can do daily to free up time.
With most of us living such busy lives, it’s so easy to become overwhelmed and discouraged, which can often lead to procrastination.
If we don’t address the early signs of procrastination, it can easily become a habit and have some long-term implications such as:
- Low motivation.
- Delay in completing tasks or projects on time.
- Failure to achieve our goals.
- Reduced levels of confidence.
- Low self-esteem.
The root cause of procrastination is often an emotional issue such as reluctance to deal with a situation, or avoiding something because it brings up certain insecurities or fears.
The better we can deal with procrastination, the more productive we will become.
We all crave for free time, where we can slow down, pause and take a break from being busy and constantly doing things.
Our busy and hectic lifestyle has made it difficult for us to be at our best consistently because we’re always “on the go.”
Not being able to relax and recharge ourselves can lead to:
- Overwhelm and burnout.
- Serious health problems later in life.
- Mental fatigue.
- Low performance and productivity.
- Conflict in relationships.
If we want to be more productive and effective, we must be able to quickly recharge ourselves whenever we do get some downtime.
Imagine this scenario… you get up in the morning knowing you have so much to get done that day.
The first thing you do is turn on your computer and check your messages and emails. You start responding to messages and emails. Then you check your phone for new notifications and start responding to them. Before you know it, 90 minutes have gone by!
Now, you are feeling really annoyed with yourself and flustered because you’ve lost a good part of your morning and you still haven’t started on the work you were supposed to do. For the next few hours, you’re in reactive mode, trying to make up time you lost in the morning, hoping you can still get everything done that day.
Does that sound familiar? Does that happen to you more often than you’d like to admit?
I think we’ve all been there. We may have had the intention to be productive and get a lot of things done but for whatever reasons, our day just got away from us.
To avoid such situations, we have to be intentional with how we start each day and condition ourselves to be at our best consistently.
In recent times, productivity techniques or hacks that will help us work less but get more done have become increasingly popular.
High achievers are always looking for ways to get more done in less time. There are many productivity techniques available today such as:
- The Pomodoro Technique or Sprints.
- Getting Things Done.
- The Eisenhower Matrix.
- To-Do lists.
While all these techniques are powerful and effective, they mainly focus on getting more things completed. The challenge with this is that the more things we get done, the more things we want to get done.
This continuous cycle of fitting more in and trying to “do it all” is not an intelligent long-term strategy for a healthy work life. There has to be a better way to get what we want done without working ourselves to the ground.
There is a fine balance between getting something right and getting something to be perfect. Perfectionism is a misleading or false idea.
One definition of perfect is “excellent or complete beyond practical or theoretical improvement.” This means that once something has reached completion, it cannot be improved.
The truth is no matter how good something is, whether it’s a product of service, our physical health, our relationships, or our finances, there’s always room for improvement.
One reason why we buy into this idea of perfectionism is because it can be a good avoidance strategy. If we are focused on getting something “perfect,” then we’re not putting ourselves at risk of being judged or criticised because we can always say, “It’s not complete yet.”
While perfectionism can be related to having high standards, if we’re not careful, we can end up creating some bad habits.