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How To Be More Action-Oriented: Obstacles And Tips

How To Be More Action-Oriented: Obstacles And Tips

Action speaks louder than words. This is a very common expression that explains a very crucial concept that is associated with our life. There are times when words are not suffice enough to complete a work in hand. Words compose planning. Planning on doing something, taking elaborate measures to complete the task consume a lot of time. In certain instances, you may not have sufficient amount of time to make plans. It is in those times, you should keep aside your planning, and start acting out. Express yourself through actions, and not by mere words. For example, you want to bring changes in your community. You open a page in a social media, successfully gather your neighbors to sign up, or to agree to your plans. Then what? Everyone gets busy with their hectic lives, including you, and the page remains as it is, with certain amounts of advices and no action taking place, and therefore, no changes.

What makes people less action-oriented?

Lack of motivation

Once you lose your motivation in doing a certain task, you won’t feel the urge to transform it into action. It happens to people who get easily over-excited about one thing and go for a prolonged plan. By the time the plan is completed, they lose every motivation to carry out the plan because they are distracted doing too much planning.

No self-confidence

In order to be action-oriented, you need self-confidence. You have to believe in yourself. If an ordinary person can climb up the ladder to success, then I believe everyone of us can, too. In order to climb the ladder, you must be actively involved and must be willing to take the risk.

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Being a perfectionist

There is no harm in being a stickler for impeccability, but insisting too much on perfection can lead to waste opportunities in life. Fast feedback loops from your mistakes are more realistic than aiming for perfect performance in one action. People learn from mistakes. If you can learn from the worst times of your life, you’ll be ready to go into the best times of your life.

Confused about your goal

Getting distracted is fairly easy. At one point in time, I wanted to be a doctor. I prepared myself for that too. But it didn’t work out for me. I didn’t put my 100 percent on it because I just didn’t feel right about it. Sometime later in life I realised, my goal is to write. Ever since then, I got stuck to it, I worked hard and I never looked back.

Getting used to procrastination

Many of us have the habit of leaving the work for the last moment, thinking, “It won’t take much time”, but in reality, you are frantic because you have so much to do in so little time. The end result? Not satisfactory at all! There is no procrastination in action-oriented chores. There’s no need to pressurize yourself when you have ample of time.

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Analysis paralysis

You want to do something, but there is a lot of confusion racing through your brain: What to do first? Is it the correct path? What if it backfires? How to deal with the consequences? The prime way to over come analysis paralysis is to differentiate a bigger problem from a smaller one. Prioritise your problems, and act accordingly.

I am not saying that planning is not important. Planning is very important if you want to carry out your action. Without planning, you won’t know the ‘4 W’s and the H’ – What, where,, when, why and how. What I am saying is too much planning will kill your choice for action. There should be a striking balance between planning and acting out. It is because what we think and plan sets a ‘motion’, and it only becomes an ‘action’ once we out it into practice.

‘Motion’ vs ‘Action’

Motion doesn’t necessarily mean action. Motion sets the platform of the task which produces no results on its own. However, action is what that will produce an outcome. For example, you want to know a certain recipe of a food that you have enjoyed at a friend’s house. Searching on the internet, getting hold of it and saving it for the future, that’s a motion. But if you actually buy the ingredients and cook the food, that is an action. To be successful, set your motion to action, because that is how you will reach your desired goal. Here are 6 tips for you to be more action-oriented in life:

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1. Set a limited time-line for planning before acting out

Naturally, you can’t be action-oriented if you don’t know what to do. For this, planning is important. Time management is also valuable too. Therefore, set a limited time-line for planning. Jot down the important things you want to remind yourself before action, so that at least you know where you are going. Don’t over plan or over think. It should be more of a brainstorming for you.

2. Failure shouldn’t dishearten you

Failure is part of life. If you don’t fail, you can never taste success. You may break down many times when failure runs over you, but never give up on yourself. Learn from the mistakes and try not to repeat it again. Instead of stopping a child from climbing a tree, encourage them to do it. If they fall, they’ll be more careful next time, and will continue to do so until they are successful. Be that child.

3. Discipline yourself

A person who leads a disciplined life is more action-oriented than those who lazy around. Being lethargic to work is a deadly weapon. You are not only killing valuable time, you are also wasting opportunities that may come your way if you maintain discipline. Set tasks for yourself and complete them accordingly. Organise your works.

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4. Reward yourself

If you successfully complete an assigned project on time, reward yourself. Be it a treat or some shopping, encourage yourself that if you cut down on procrastinating and work harder, you will be rewarded. But, if you complete a task at the eleventh hour, refrain from celebrating. This will transmit a message to your brain to be more action-oriented.

5. Being curious and impatient

If you want to be action-oriented, you have to be the curious cat. Also, being impatient is just fine. If you are curious and impatient to know the outcome, they will push you to be more active. For this, you need to sharpen your curiosity and urgency.

6. Picture yourself to be the person you want to be

Start from the beginning. When you set your goal, picture yourself there. If you want to start a business, visualise yourself as the chief, and slowly work it up there. If you want to be a successful musician, start from scratch, aiming for the ultimate prize that awaits you. Picturing yourself to be the person you want to be will pave the path for you to be an action-oriented individual.

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Forget Learning How to Multitask: Boost Productivity 10X More with Focus

Forget Learning How to Multitask: Boost Productivity 10X More with Focus

There’s a dark side to the conveniences of the Digital Age. With smartphones that function like handheld computers, it has become increasingly difficult to leave our work behind. Sometimes it seems like we’re expected to be accessible 24/7.

How often are you ever focused on just one thing? Most of us try to meet these demands by multi-tasking.

Many of us have bought into the myth that we can achieve more through multi-tasking. In this article, I’ll show you how you can accomplish more work in less time. Spoiler alert: multi-tasking is not the answer.

Why is multitasking a myth?

The term “multi-tasking” was originally used to describe how microprocessors in computers work. Machines multitask, but people cannot.

Despite our inability to simultaneously perform two tasks at once, many people believe they are excellent multi-taskers.

You can probably imagine plenty of times when you do several things at once. Maybe you talk on the phone while you’re cooking or respond to emails during your commute.

Consider the amount of attention that each of these tasks requires. Chances are, at least one of the two tasks in question is simple enough to be carried out on autopilot.

We’re okay at simultaneously performing simple tasks, but what if you were trying to perform two complex tasks? Can you really work on your presentation and watch a movie at the same time? It can be fun to try to watch TV while you work, but you may be unintentionally making your work more difficult and time-consuming.

Your brain on multi-tasking

Your brain wasn’t designed to multi-tasking. To compensate, it will switch from task to task. Your focus turns to whatever task seems more urgent. The other task falls into the background until you realize you’ve been neglecting it.

When you’re bouncing back and forth like this, an area of the brain known as Broadmann’s Area 10 activates. Located in your fronto-polar prefrontal cortex at the very front of the brain, this area controls your ability to shift focus. People who think they are excellent multitaskers are really just putting Broadmann’s Area 10 to work.

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But I can juggle multiple tasks!

You are capable of taking in information with your eyes while doing other things efficiently. Scientifically speaking, making use of your vision is the only thing you can truly do while doing something else.

For everything else, you’re serial tasking. This constant refocusing can be exhausting, and it prevents us from giving our work the deep attention it deserves.

Think about how much longer it takes to do something when you have to keep reminding yourself to focus.

Why multitasking is failing you

Multitasking does more bad than good to your productivity, here’re 4 reasons why you should stop multitasking:

Multitasking wastes your time.

You lose time when you interrupt yourself. People lose an average of 2.1 hours per day getting themselves back on track when they switch between tasks.

In fact, some studies suggest that doing multiple things at once decreases your productivity by as much as 40%. That’s a significant loss in efficiency. You wouldn’t want your surgeon to be 40% less productive while you’re on the operating table, would you?

It makes you dumber.

A distracted brain performs a full 10 IQ points lower than a focused brain. You’ll also be more forgetful, slower at completing tasks, and more likely to make mistakes.

You’ll have to work harder to fix your mistakes. If you miss an important detail, you could risk injury or fail to complete the task properly.

This is an emotional response.

There’s so much data suggesting that multitasking is ineffective but people insist that they can multitask.

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Feeling productive fulfills an emotional need. We want to feel like we’re accomplishing something. Why accomplish just one item on the to-do list when you can check off two or three?

It’ll wear you out.

When you’re jumping from task to task, it can feel invigorating for a little while. Over time, this needs to fill every second with more and more work leads to burn out.

We’re simply not built to multitask, so when we try, the effect can be exhausting. This destroys your productivity and your motivation.

How to stop multitasking and work productively

Flitting back and forth between tasks feels second-nature after a while. This is in part because Broadmann’s Area 10 becomes better at serial tasking through time.

In addition to changing how the brain works, this serial tasking behavior can quickly turn into a habit.

Just like any bad habit, you’ll need to recognize that you need to make a change first. Luckily, there are a few simple things you can do to adjust to a lifestyle of productive mono-tasking:

1. Consciously change gears

Instead of trying to work on two distinct tasks at once, consider setting up a system to remind you when to change focus. This technique worked for Jerry Linenger, an American astronaut onboard the space station, Mir.

As an astronaut, he had many things to take care of every day. He set alarms for himself on a few watches. When a particular watch sounded, he knew it was time to switch tasks. This enabled him to be 100% in tune with what he was doing at any given moment.

This strategy is effective because the alarm served as his reminder for what was to come next. Linenger’s intuition about setting reminders falls in line with research conducted by Paul Burgess of University College, London on multitasking.

2. Manage multiple tasks without multitasking

Raj Dash of Performancing.com has an effective strategy for balancing multiple projects without multitasking. He suggests taking 15 minutes to acquaint yourself with a new project before moving on to other work. Revisit the project later and do about thirty minutes on research and brainstorming.

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Allow a few days to pass before knocking out the project in question. While you were actively work on other projects, your brain continues to problem solve-in the background.

This method works because it gives us the opportunity to work on several projects without allowing them to compete for your attention.

3. Set aside distractions

Your smartphone, your inbox and the open tabs on your computer are all open invitations for distraction. Give yourself time each day when you silence your notifications, close your inbox and remove unnecessary tabs from your desktop.

If you want to focus, you can’t give anything else an opportunity to invade your mental space.

Emails can be particularly invasive because they often have an unnecessary sense of urgency associated with them. Some work cultures stress the importance of prompt responses to these messages, but we can’t treat every situation like an emergency.

Designate certain times in your day for checking and responding to emails to avoid compulsive checking.

4. Take care of yourself

We often blame electronics for pulling us from our work, but sometimes our physical body forces us into a state of serial tasking. If you’re hungry while you’re trying to work, your attention will flip between your hunger and your work until you take care of your physical needs.

Try to take all your bio-breaks before you sit down for an uninterrupted stint of work.

In addition, you’ll also want to be sure you’re attending to your health in a broader sense. Getting enough exercise, practicing mindfulness and incorporating regular breaks into your day will keep you from being tempted by distractions.

5. Take a break

People are more likely to head to YouTube or check their social media when they need a break. Instead of trying to work and watch a mindless video at the same time, give yourself times when you’re allowed to enjoy your distracting activity of choice.

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Limit how much time you’ll spend on this break so that your guilt-free distraction time doesn’t turn into hours of wasted time.

6. Make technology your ally

Scientists are beginning to discover the detrimental effects of chronic serial tasking on our brains. Some companies are developing programs to curb this desire to multitask.

Apps like Forest turn staying focused into a game. Extensions like RescueTime help you track your online habits so that you can be more aware of how you spend your time.

The key to productivity: Focus

Multitasking is not the key to productivity. It’s far better to schedule time to focus on each task than it is to try to do everything at once.

Make use of the methods outlined above and prepare to be more effective and less exhausted in the process.

If you want to learn more about how to focus, don’t miss my other article:

How to Focus and Maximize Your Productivity (the Definitive Guide)

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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