“Be careful what you water your dreams with. Water them with worry and fear and you will produce weeds that choke the life from your dream. Water them with optimism and solutions and you will cultivate success. Always be on the lookout for ways to turn a problem into an opportunity for success. Always be on the lookout for ways to nurture your dreams.” – Lao Tsu
Blind spots, in the context of us humans, refers to those aspects of ourselves that we are not fully conscious of. Whether we admit it or not, we all have blind spots. Some of which affect those of us pursuing dreams. These blind spots could be qualities like our personality traits, values, actions, habits, feelings, thoughts, etc. Some are just because we are human. It’s due to how we process information and how we see the world around us.
Why is it important for people who are pursing their dreams to know their blind spots? Because it is a necessary part of their personal growth.
Identifying the blind spots and understanding them heightens a person’s level of self-awareness. When they develop a greater self-awareness, it puts them in greater alignment with themselves. The result is a speedier progression toward achieving their dreams.
Here are 10 common blind spots that people pursuing their dreams are unaware they have.
1. They Forget To Live A Great Life In The Now
Dreams are about the future and reaching a destination. When people are chasing their dreams they tend to lose sight of where they are in the here and now. They are often pursuing the dream to fulfill their own desires. Many people lose perspective when they are in the pursuit of happiness.
Many believe that by achieving their dreams they will gain happiness. This is not so. Happiness is experienced within a person and within their present life. If a person can not appreciate the things in their life that make them happy now, there is no guarantee that happiness will come to them in the future.Advertising
Happiness is a high energy vibration. When people take care of the good things in their life (that they already have now), their dreams will follow.
2. They Fail To Recognize The Importance Of Self Reflection
Focus and commitment are key when one is pursuing a dream. Without the practice of self reflection, focus and commitment soon die away.
Self refection is a technique that fuels energy. It is this energy that drives one’s focus, commitment, and motivation towards their dreams.
Reflecting allows a person to learn from his or her own mistakes and past situations.Without the process of actively thinking about those experiences and questioning ourselves, learning doesn’t happen.
To maintain motivation and commitment to pursuing the dream, one needs to practice the technique of self reflection. A person’s life significantly improves by asking simple questions such as: “What did I do well in that situation”, “What didn’t go so well for me?”, and “What would I do differently?” These questions ultimately provide more energy to follow the dream.
3. They Ignore The Importance Of Their Emotional and Physical Health And Well-Being
Pursuing a dream takes time and energy. It is a challenging journey. People who are so focused on chasing the dream often ignore the importance of looking after their emotional health and physical well-being. Looking after one’s health and well-being is the key to building a person’s strength: physically, mentally, and emotionally. It is also a key ingredient to people living a resilient life and an important trait to have when pursuing the dream.
4. They Don’t Realise The Importance Of Asking For Help
Asking for help is a sign of strength, not weakness. There is no way a person can pursue their dreams alone. It is essential to seek support, advice, and encouragement from others, especially when times are tough.Advertising
In fact, asking for help is a critical factor in the success of the journey. When chasing the dream, people need learn to value the input of others, along with their wisdom and energy. Others can help them overcome adversity or solve the problems they are facing.
5. They Forget To Keep Learning
Pursing dreams takes up a huge amount of time and energy. Who has the time to read books, search out information, and gain more knowledge? Often people think that once they have achieved the dreams, then they will have all the time in the world. This does not happen.
Information and knowledge empowers a person to take action. As a result, they are able to make decisions that are effective. Little knowledge and small bits of information do not help make the kind of decisions one needs to make when pursuing their dreams.
6. They Believe They Don’t Have The Time To Serve Others, Or Practise Appreciation And Gratitude Daily
Life tends to become very insular for people while they chase the dream. They don’t have much free time to do much else but pursue their dream.Their passion is usually wrapped up tightly into their dream. Life; however, is not just about them. They need to remember that happiness in life is very much about how they can help and support others.
Helping others, practicing appreciation, and gratitude strengthens a person’s emotional resilience. This strategy is another source of energy that fuels the commitment and motivation for people to continue chasing their dreams.
7. They Fail To Seek Feedback and Ignore Opposing Views
Confirmation bias is a tendency of a person to search for instances that confirm their beliefs rather than search for evidence that challenges their beliefs. For the most part, people are not aware of the many times they use confirmation bias.
This bias causes people to think selectively. However, the real trouble begins when confirmation bias distorts a person’s active pursuit of facts, how they gather information, and how they makes decisions. Bad decisions are often made when confirmation bias is operating. People can place too much faith in their own knowledge and opinions. They believe their contribution to a decision is more valuable than it actually is. When this happens, people fail to spot their limits of their knowledge, thus perceiving less risk.Advertising
Some will succeed in achieving their dreams, but most won’t because they have not considered the risks or have made decisions based on hunches and potentially unreliable information. The best strategy to ensure a person’s confirmation bias is to constantly seek feedback from others and be open to considering opposing view points and information. By seeking feedback and considering opposing viewpoints, a person will know that they are making decisions that are based on fact and analysis, rather than thinking which has been influenced by confirmation bias.
A person pursuing their dreams will be faced with many challenges, problems, and issues along the way. Keeping an open mind and knowing how to make informed decisions will enable them to to stay on task. They will be more focused and confident that they are on the right path to achieving their dreams.
8. They Forget That Small Changes Can Make A Big Difference
Dreaming big and chasing your dreams is a fantastic quality. It is courageous and hugely rewarding. However; on the flip side, it is also scary, challenging, and overwhelming. The dream can be so big that many people will become tangled up in the web of activities that focus on chasing the big dream. They forget that by making small changes and taking small steps every day is how one really achieves their dreams.
9. They Fail To Prepare For The Unexpected
When people are pursing their dreams they often forget to expect the unexpected. When they are not prepared for the unexpected and it happens, these events bring their world to a crashing halt.
Preparing for the unexpected is the best they can manage, when it comes to pursuing their dreams or any other life goals that they set. By preparing for the unexpected, they are more likely not to give up on their dreams.
There are 3 key steps to prepare for the unexpected:
Step 1: Acknowledge the unexpectedAdvertising
Step 2: Prepare for the unexpected by making an Action Plan. The Action Plan needs to consider these two questions: How would you deal with this obstacle when it comes up? And, What steps would you put in action to overcome this hurdle?
Step 3: Move on toward achieving your dreams
10. They believe That Celebrating And Having Fun Comes When You Achieve The Dream
Having lots of fun, being positive, optimistic, and consistently celebrating successes creates an energy that is upbeat and positive. This energy creates momentum to keep chasing the dream. It also attracts positive experiences into a person’s life.
People are attracted to another person’s enthusiasm, energy, optimism, and hope. These are contagious qualities. The more supportive and life-loving people that a person has around them, the more chance that person has in successfully achieving their dream.
Many people rush into chasing their dreams without being fully prepared. The end result for many of them is that they never achieve their dreams. They often end up disillusioned, hugely disappointed, and full of regret. By identifying and acknowledging these blind spots, the pursuer’s chances of achieving their dreams increases by 100 percent.
“All men dream, but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds, wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act on their dreams with open eyes, to make them possible.” – T. E. Lawrence
Published on January 16, 2019
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.
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:
- Urgent and important (tasks you will do immediately).
- Important, but not urgent (tasks you will schedule to do later).
- Urgent, but not important (tasks you will delegate to someone else).
- 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
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.
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.
“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.
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.
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
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