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10 Enemies You May Have That Could Ruin Your Life

10 Enemies You May Have That Could Ruin Your Life

Enemies don’t always come in human form. But we pick them up, nurture them, and sometimes they stay with us forever, slowly draining away our happiness, sense of worth, and even our professional success. The good news is that, once we do identify them, we can take steps to embrace them and lovingly send them on their way. Take this little “test” and see if any of these 10 creatures are lurking about!

1. Ignoring Important Things

If there is a leak in your roof, you can choose to ignore it. But every time it rains, the leak will get worse and damage more plywood and support beams. And so it is with life’s important problems/issues. They are not going away, and the earlier you deal with them, the less you will have to deal with. Suppose, for example, you have a colleague at work or a family member who continually takes advantage of you – perhaps borrowing money or eating up your time with incessant complaining and/or drama. Ignoring these behaviors in the hopes that they will soon end is a “pipe dream.” As difficult as it may be, you need to be calm but firm. Each time there is a request for money or your time, you simply do not have it to loan or to give. Eventually, they will “move on.” When you continue to ignore issues that should be dealt with, you become resentful, irritable and angry – not good emotions and feelings to have! But when you deal with them and resolve them, you get a sense of relief, comfort, and peace – how about those feelings?

2. Envy

We can all find others who have more – more money, better relationships, more career success, and we can choose to spend our energy being envious of all that others have. And we can spend time being envious of them. There is the family in the neighborhood that always have new cars, goes on great vacations, and is just living in a “style” we covet. There is the colleague who got a promotion that we felt we deserved; there is the friend who inherited a great deal and is now living a much “larger” life. Envy, while we often don’t realize it, leads to resentment and dis-satisfaction that masks all of the great things about our own lives. This is a difficult enemy to transform, but you can do it. Begin with making a list of all that you have to be grateful for. You will find that it is quite long. How many others would envy your life? Quite a few, actually! Place signs with the word “gratitude” in easily seen places around your home – on the mirror in your bedroom, on your refrigerator – you need to remind yourself on a daily basis that you have many things that inspire gratitude. The more you focus on these, the less you will focus on what others have.

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3. Insecurity

Do you need to be in control? Do you bully others? Do you deflect compliments? Are you a people pleaser, always saying “yes” when you really want to say “no?” Do you get defensive when others provide constructive criticism or suggest that you could do something differently? These are all signs of insecurity. Insecurity is a deep-seated enemy, and “he” is hard to transform. You begin by embracing and accepting it. By holding this enemy very close, you can get to know him intimately; you can see the behaviors that are resulting from it, and you can the reverse those behaviors as they “rear up,” one by one. Those are how the habits of insecurity get changed. You are a unique person with wonderful qualities – start living those!

4. Indecisiveness

You only move forward when you make decisions. Not making decisions is paralyzing, whether it is which car to buy, which job to take, or something as simple as what color to paint a wall. This “enemy” is easy to identify, because you are simply stalled, and then you do the following:

  • You play “what if” games, as you ponder each option, and you never stop
  • You continue to ask others for their advice, and you never stop.

Here’s the thing: You are never going to make the right decision every time, and you don’t always have to be right. So ask yourself this. What is the worst that could happen if I make a wrong decision? You will have made a mistake, you will learn from it, and you will fix it as best you can. But you will survive! And start learning to trust your “gut” rather than the advice of others. Set a time limit for the decision and stick to it!

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5. Intolerance

This is an “enemy” that most people with it fail to identify. We consider ourselves to have strong opinions about things, and most often we tell ourselves that these are based upon our basic principles and values. But when we use those “strong opinions” to be judgmental of others in negative ways, we become intolerant, and intolerance can then make us rigid, unforgiving, and unwilling to accept change. When we become these things, others do not want to be around us, we stall in our careers, and we miss out on so much rich diversity that exists in this world. So, start with something small. When you next stand in a line and there is an individual ahead of or behind you who, because of his/her dress, hair color, etc., you have always judged negatively, start a simple conversation. You may be quite amazed that the young man with his pants low and underwear showing is actually personable and able to carry on a conversation! You may find that the young lady with the tattoos and piercings that you have always condemned, is quite friendly and nice. Tolerance must be practiced on a daily basis, and it makes us so much easier for others to be around!

6. Fear of Failure

This enemy is a cousin to indecisiveness, and it causes us not to take risks. Without taking risks, we may never know our full potential, and how sad is that? Without risk-taking, we stay in our rut while the rest of the world pushes forward into the unknown and the exciting. Do people fail when they take risks? Absolutely! But they learn, and they get back up much wiser for the next risk they take. So, again, start with something small. Change your hair color or style; grow a beard; accept that blind date you friend has offered. When you get used to taking risks in small ways, an amazing thing happens. You find that it can be exciting and fun (even if the blind date was a disaster, you’ll have a good laugh). You may decide that you will turn that great idea into a business. And if you fail, so what?

7. Workaholism

It’s so easy to justify 16 hour work days and working weekends. All of these tasks and projects – no one else can get them completed, and it just has to be up to you! Here’s what psychologists say about workaholics – they are compensating for lacks in other parts of their lives. So, if you are a workaholic, you have to identify that first, and then you have to identify what you lack in other parts of your life. Maybe you are avoiding relationships because you have been badly “burned.” Maybe you are afraid of “getting out there” and meeting new people or working on a social life. You must begin with an activity or hobby of some sort, if you are to slay this dragon. Force yourself to take a class; force yourself to join the “Y;” force yourself to say “yes” to the next happy hour invite; even if you cannot force social interactions yet, at least get outside, walk through a park trail and get around nature. The goal? To learn that life outside of work is not an unpleasant or scary place!

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Interesting: 11 Differences Between Busy People And Productive People

8. Impatience

Many are able to identify this enemy and its consequences, but embracing it and then changing it – well – that is quite another matter. We all have a tendency to want what we want right now. And when we don’t get that, we become frustrated, angry, and often unhappy. When people are impatient about the “things” they want, they go into debt to get them; when they want more rapid career advancement, they become more aggressive and perhaps make enemies along the way. Impatience is contagious in that it tends to carry over into all aspects of one’s life, so that the individual has a difficult waiting for even the smallest things – the coffee pot to finish percolating before getting that cup filled, the cars ahead to move faster when the light turns green, or the people in line at the checkout. Impatience creates impulsivity, frustration and even anger. Getting rid of this enemy depends upon how it manifests. If, for example, you are deep in debt because of it, you cut up those credit cards and vow to stay off of shopping sites and out of stores. If it manifests itself in your being rushed all of the time, deliberately drive 3-5 miles under the speed limit as often as possible. Patience is a habit that is built over time, so be patient about it!

9. Insensitivity

This enemy is insidious because so often we have no idea that we exhibit insensitivity to others. We are simply used to “telling it like it is,” to verbalizing every thought that comes into our heads, and we rarely stop to consider whether what we do or say injures others. Sometimes, another person will tell you that you have been insensitive. Rather than get all defensive, make a note of it. It is probably not the first time you have heard this. And when you have offended or upset enough people in your environments, you reap the consequences. You won’t be invited to social gatherings; you won’t be asked to join co-workers for lunch. The first step in the homicide of insensitivity is to admit that you are brash, brazen, and too outspoken. The second step is to practice compliment-giving. Find something nice to say to everyone you encounter in the course of your day. Bit your tongue when you are about to spout off with some opinion. Try it for a week and the ways in which others respond to you will begin to transform. You will like what you see, so keep it up!

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10. Rumination

You can’t sleep because an incident from the day is still bothering you. You are running scenarios of it in your head, going over all of the conversation that occurred, thinking of things you could have said instead. Or you can’t sleep because you are worried about next week, or next year, of 10 years from now. You are definitely a ruminator and this enemy is stealing your time, your energy, and your happiness. So, why let him stay in your life? Can you have a “do-over” of what happened today? No. Are you psychic enough that you know what next week or next year will bring? No. The only time you can control is right now, and if you choose to spend the “now” in the past or future, you will never find contentment. So when the ruminating begins, stop yourself and say, “What should I be doing right now?” Or get your thought on something pleasant in the “now.” Is there a bird at your feeder or a child having fun outside your window? Is there that leftover pie in the fridge? Give it a try – you’ll actually be far more productive too!

Real enemies do not surrender without a fight, but you have a lot more fight and power than they do – remember that!

Featured photo credit: Michael Carian via imcreator.com

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Published on January 16, 2019

How to Effectively Manage a Heavy Workload at Work

How to Effectively Manage a Heavy Workload at Work

We’re all busy, but sometimes we go through periods where the work piles up and it seems like it might never end.

You might have such a heavy workload that it feels too intimidating to even start.

You may have said yes to some or too many projects, and now you’re afraid you won’t be able to deliver.

That’s when you need to take a step back, take a deep breath, and start looking at what’s working and what’s not working.

Here’re 13 strategies you can use to get out from under your overwhelming workload:

1. Acknowledge You Can’t Do It All

Many of us have a tendency to think we can do more than we actually can. We take on more and more projects and responsibility and wear numerous hats.

We all have the opportunity to have and take on more work than we can reasonably expect to get done. Unfortunately, our workload is not static. Even now, while you are reading this article, I’m guessing that your inbox is filling up with fresh new tasks.

To make real, effective progress, you have to have both the courage and resourcefulness to say, “This is not working”. Acknowledge that you can’t do it all and look for better solutions.

At any given time in your life, there are likely many things that aren’t going according to plan. You have to be willing to be honest with yourself and those around you about what’s not working for you, both personally and professionally.

The more you exercise your ability to tell the truth about what’s working and what’s not working, the faster you’ll make progress.

2. Focus on Your Unique Strengths

Whether you’re an entrepreneur, a leader or working as part of a team, every individual has unique strengths they can bring to the table.

The challenge is that many people end up doing things that they’re simply not very good at.

In the pursuit of reaching your goals or delivering a project, people end up doing everything themselves or taking on things that don’t play to their unique strengths. This can result in frustration, overwhelm and overwork.

It can mean projects taking a lot longer to complete because of knowledge gaps, or simply not utilizing the unique strengths of other people you work with.

It is often not about how to complete this project more effectively but who can help deliver this project.

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So, what are your unique strengths that will ensure your workload is delivered more effectively? Here’re some questions to help you reflect:

  • Are you a great strategist?
  • Are you an effective planner?
  • Is Project Management your strength?
  • Is communication and bringing people together your strength?
  • Are you the ideas person?
  • Is Implementation your strength?

Think about how you can bring the biggest value to your work and the projects you undertake.

3. Use the Strengths of Your Team

One of the simplest ways to manage your workload effectively is to free up your time so you bring your highest level of energy, focus and strengths to each project.

Delegation or better teamwork is the solution.

Everyone has unique strengths. It’s essential to think teamwork rather than working in isolation to ensure projects can be completed effectively. Besides, every time you give away a task or project that doesn’t play to your unique strengths, you open up an opportunity to do something you’re more talented at. This will empower both yourself and those around you.

Rather than taking on all the responsibilities yourself, look at who you can work with to deliver the best results possible.

4. Take Time for Planning

“Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe”. – Abraham Lincoln

One hour of effective planning could save hours of time. Rather than just rushing in and getting started on projects, take the time to map everything in.

You can take the time to think about:

  • What’s the purpose of the project?
  • How Important is it?
  • When does it need to be delivered by?
  • What is the best result and worst result for this project?
  • What are the KPIs?
  • What does the project plan and key milestones look like?
  • Who is working on this project?
  • What is everyone’s responsibilities?
  • What tolerances can I add in?
  • What are the review stages?
  • What are the challenges we may face and the solutions for these challenges?

Having absolute clarity on the project, the project deliverables and the result you want can save a lot of time. It also gets you clear on the priorities and timelines, so you can block out the required amount of time to focus and concentrate.

5. Focus on Priorities

Not everything is a priority, although it can often feel, in the moment, that it is.

Whatever you’re working on, there is always the Most Urgent, Important or Most Valuable projects or tasks.

One tool you can use to maximize your productivity and focus on your biggest priorities is to use the Eisenhower Matrix. This strategic tool for taking action on the things that matter most is simple. You separate your actions based on four possibilities:

  1. Urgent and important (tasks you will do immediately).
  2. Important, but not urgent (tasks you will schedule to do later).
  3. Urgent, but not important (tasks you will delegate to someone else).
  4. Neither urgent nor important (tasks that you will eliminate).

James Clear has a great description on how to use the Eisenhower Matrix: How to be More Productive By Using the Eisenhower Box

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    The method I use with my coaching clients is to ask them to lay out their Top Five priorities for the day. Then to start with the most important priority first. At the end of the day, you review performance against these priorities.

    If you didn’t get everything accomplished, start the next day with your number one priority.

    If you are given additional task/projects during the day, then you will need to gauge their importance V the other priorities.

    6. Take Time Out

    To stay on top of a heavy workload, it’s important to take time out to rest and recuperate.

    If your energy levels are high and your mind and body is refreshed and alert, you are in more of a peak state to handle a heavy workload.

    Take time out of your day to go for a walk or get some exercise in. Leave early when possible and spend time with people who give you a lot of energy.

    In the background, it’s essential to get a good night’s sleep and eat healthily to sharpen the mind.

    Take a look at this article learn about The Importance of Scheduling Downtime.

    7. Maintain a Healthy Work-Life Balance

    Maintaining a healthy work-life balance can be tough. The balance we all crave is very different from one another.

    I’ve written before about 13 Work Life Balance Tips for a Happy and Productive Life. Working longer and harder doesn’t mean achieving more, especially if you have no time to spend with the people that matter most. The quality of who you are as a person, the relationships you have, the time you spend in work, deciding on what matters most is completely within your control.

    Work-life balance is about finding peace within yourself to be fully present, wherever you are, whether that be in the office or at home, right now. It’s about choosing what matters most and creating your own balanced life.

    If you feel there is not enough balance, then it may be time to make a change.

    8. Stop Multitasking

    Multi-tasking is a myth. Your brain simply can’t work effectively by doing more than one thing at a time—at least more than one thing that requires focused attention.

    So get your list of priorities (see earlier point), do the most important thing first, then move to the next item and work down your list.

    When you split your focus over a multitude of different areas, you can’t consistently deliver a high performance. You won’t be fully present on the one task or project at hand.

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    If you allocate blocked time and create firm boundaries for specific activities and commitments, you won’t feel so overwhelmed or overworked with everything you have to do.

    9. Work in Blocks of Time

    To keep your energy up to produce your best results it’s essential to take regular breaks.

    I use the 60-60-30 method myself and teach it to my coaching clients.

    Work on a project for a sustained period of 50 minutes.

    Then take a 10-minute break. This could be taking a walk, having a healthy snack or just having a conversation with someone.

    Then continue to work on the project for a further 50 minutes.

    Then take another 10-minute break.

    Then take a complete 30-minute break to unplug from the work. This could be time for a proper lunch, a quick bit of exercise, reading or having a walk.

    By simply taking some time out, your energy levels stay up, the quality of your work improves and you reduce the risk of becoming burned out.

    10. Get Rid of Distractions

    Make an estimation on how many times you are distracted during an average working day. Now take that number and multiply it by 25. According to Gloria Mark in her study on The Cost of Interrupted Work, it takes us an average of 23 minutes and 15 seconds to return to the original task after interruption.[1]

    “Our research has shown that attention distraction can lead to higher stress, a bad mood and lower productivity.”

    Distractions don’t just take up your time during the distraction, they can derail your mental progress and focus for almost 25 minutes. So, if you are distracted 5 times per day, you could be losing almost 2 hours every day of productive work and almost 10 hours every week.

    If you have an important project to work on, find a space where you won’t be distracted, or try doing this.

    11. Commit Focused Time to Smaller Tasks

    You know sometimes, you need to simply tackle these tasks and take action on them. But there’s always something more pressing.

    Small tasks can often get in the way of your most important projects. They sit there on your daily To Do list but are often forgotten about because of more important priorities or because they hold no interest for you. But they take up mental energy. They clutter your mind.

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    Commit to spending a specific period of time completing all the small tasks you have on your To Do list. It will give you peace of mind and the space to focus more on your bigger priorities.

    12. Take a Time Audit

    Do you know exactly where your time is going each day? Are you spending too long on certain projects and tasks to the detriment of bigger opportunities?

    Spend a bit of time to analyze where you are spending your time. This insight will amaze you and give you the clarity to start adjusting where you focus your time and on what projects.

    You can start by taking a piece of paper and creating three columns:

    Column A is Priority Work. Column B is Good Work. Column C is low value work or stuff.

    Each day, write down the project or task and the time spent on each. Allocate that time to one of the columns.

    At the end of the week, record the total time spent in each column.

    If you are spending far too much time on certain types of work, look to change things so your focused time is in Column B and C.

    13. Protect Your Confidence

    It is essential to protect our confidence to ensure we don’t get overwhelmed, stressed and lose belief.

    When you have confidence as a daily resource, you are in a better position to problem solve, learn quicker, respond to anything, adjust to anything, and achieve your biggest opportunities.

    Confidence gives you the ability to transform fear into focused and relaxed thinking, communication, and action. This is key to put your mind into a productive state.

    When confidence is high, you can clearly see the possibilities at hand and create strategies to take advantage of them, or to solve the challenges you face each day.

    Final Words

    A heavy workload can be tough to deal with and can cause stress, burnout and ongoing frustration.

    The key is to tackle it head on, rather than let it go on and compound the long-term effects. Hopefully, you can take action on at least one of these tips.

    If it gets too much, and negatively affects your physical and mental health, it may be time to talk to someone. Instead of dealing with it alone and staying unhappier, resentful and getting to a point where you simply can’t cope, you have to make a change for your own sanity.

    Featured photo credit: Hannah Wei via unsplash.com

    Reference

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