Only going through the motions can lead to a poor life. Step away from the fear and the multi-tasking. Doing everything badly doesn’t have to be a lifestyle.

1. Rushing ahead has become your go-to action.

Doing everything badly is one part mental and one part physical. If your mind is always on the finish line, you won’t be in the present. And you won’t be alert to the details or what’s going on around you. If you are rushing through your work or projects, you may be getting involved with things that you have no true passion for because you are not relishing in all the various aspects of the topic or activity at hand. This is a sure path to failure and discontent.

You will continue to do everything badly if you insist on this pattern. If you spend your time engaging in activities to please others or to merely complete a goal, you may find yourself going through the motions, but only half alive. You will begin to live like this, as well. The quality of your work will suffer and eventually your health.

Rushing through things or producing poor work creates tension and anxiety, which leads to even more stress. Rushing ahead and prizing quantity over quality only adds to stress. A frenzied outlook will spread to those around you, and in the end your productivity will dwindle. Living and working on autopilot will not serve you well and is a way many continue to do everything badly.

2. Too much multi-tasking.

Multi-tasking doesn’t mean taking care of multiple things in a day. It means doing multiple tasks at once, often poorly. It’s exhausting just writing about it.

If you volunteer yourself for more work or responsibilities before you have even completed the ones in front of you, or if you are attempting to do several chores or activities at once, you will notice quickly that it’s nearly impossible to provide each activity with the same quality of attention, and in the end, you will find yourself doing everything badly. It will nag at your self-confidence and you’ll burn out.

In some cultures or societies, being over-committed shows you care or you are capable or you are important. It’s time to challenge this behavior and stop doing everything badly. Neurologists have come to the conclusion one can’t be truly successful if they have spread their thinking across a myriad of goals at once. Stop for a moment, and think about how draining it is to multi-task daily. If you want to stop doing everything badly, find more positive ways to delegate chores or tasks throughout your day, instead of all at once.

3. All work, no play.

We all need downtime. Treating ourselves like machines and demanding we are always on, ready to produce, perform and please will only encourage us to continue doing everything badly. Many successful people throughout history have benefitted from scheduling light hearted activities into their busy lives.

Those bits of free time dispersed throughout the day can make room for creativity, insightfulness and even make us “more ethical”, according to scientists at the University of Southern California. Rest, quiet time or a little playfulness can aide in mental and physical health. It’s time you took playtime seriously. Playtime can help you stop doing everything badly.

4. You’ve come to expect only one outcome.

Thinking that you already know how things will turn out, or expecting one outcome over all else, will perpetuate you doing everything badly. With age, I have come to understand that life is constantly challenging what I expect and demand of it. Life is unruly and offers many plot twists.

Writer Kathryn Schulz notes in a TED presentation that we are often relying on an internal guide to rightness that is often out of touch with our external world. We get stuck, realize we are doing things badly, and begin thinking we are what’s wrong. We must acknowledge our fallibility but also step outside of it, stop over-reacting to our failures and when we let go of what is supposed to be, we encounter what will really be.

5. You’ve begun to rely on fear and are losing curiosity.

Plotting your goals and life plans based on fears or expectations is a slow and vicious death. It is one of the reasons we do things badly. A life without curiosity will lead to quick stagnation and monotony. You’ve compared yourself to others, tried to live someone else’s dream or became apathetic and retreated to your shell. You don’t want to know anything else, you don’t want to feel anything else. We have all been there.

When you get into a psychological rhythm of chastising yourself or approaching everything with suspicion instead of curiosity, you will continue doing things badly. You begin to think that it’s better to not even try lest you fail.

6. Avoiding the lesson at the end of each failure keeps you doing everything badly.

F. Scott Fitzgerald once wrote, “Never confuse a single failure with a final defeat.” Just because you have been failing doesn’t mean it’s the end of everything. The most important part of your journey, will be in accepting the lessons that you encounter with each disappointment. These lessons are what will empower you to prepare for and attempt another path.

Not learning anything new is akin to paralysis. You remain frozen in time, reliving the same things over and over again, and continuously doing everything badly, with no change in sight. Sometimes the lesson will be painful. But it will always make us stronger in the wounded parts.

7. Practicing Has Become Just Another Boring Chore. 

Practice makes better. No one is perfect. Perfection can be an elusive goal that you spend your whole life chasing after. Practicing a skill or learning to code a new computer language requires diligence, time allotted for mastery and not focusing on perfection itself, but rather the quality of the work.

If you are thinking that you will fail anyways, or that it is too hard to become a master or even proficient at something, you will have already decided to not even start. If you are committing yourself to practicing something you have no interest in, you should ask why you even picked it up in the first place.

If it truly was not of your volition, find another skill or hobby that was your intention. When you do not like what you are doing, everyone can see it. You will not be successful at anything when frowning in disgust. And you will not be happy, either. Doing everything badly is a pattern you can break, by replacing poor productivity and action for the sake of action with tried and true authenticity.

Happy people used to annoy me. I was never one of those happy people until the last year or so. How to Build Positive Thinking to Improve a Bad Day

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