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The Habits That Block Our Path to Happiness

The Habits That Block Our Path to Happiness

The law of attraction is universally known. By now we are all aware of how negative attitudes and behaviors can block us from finding happiness. Despite this, there are some habits that most people can’t seem to shake off, and these are the ones that stop us from finding true happiness.

1. Others vs. Me

Some people focus too much on others. They keep talking about what “they” have and what “they” did. Often, they feel jealous of other people’s achievements, but never dare to step up and take initiative themselves. They fear not being as “good” or “successful” as the other person.

This is a negative attitude.

Don’t think others find happiness and success because they are better than you. Let their stories inspire you instead.

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Standford University psychologist Carol Dweck calls it the “Fixed vs Growth” mindset.

The “Fixed” mindset is the person that remains convinced that their life and mindset will never change while the “Growth” mindset expands its horizons and dares to take chances. Everyone can go from fixed to growth the moment you allow yourself to take a chance and move outside your comfort zone.

2. To Don’t Instead of to Do

Surprisingly it has been found that a “To Do” list actually halts your productivity. Instead of a gentle reminder it has been found to be a source of pressure. A lot of people feel anxious when looking at their list halfway through the day and can only tick of one or two finished tasks.

The failure often either causes them to give up on the list all together or try to get everything done quickly — neither of which brings you happiness.

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Stop making those lists. Instead, write down two things you really want to get done before going to bed and focus on those two only. If you do this every day you’ll find that within a month all your projects are running along smoothly.

3. Worry About Others

Many people keep worrying about what others think of them. They never realize that more often than not, people don’t think about them at all. This is caused by “projecting self doubt”: making it seem as if others are negative about you, without realizing that all the negativity comes from you. This is a very difficult one to let go of, but it is possible.

The best way to do it is by positive affirmations.

Instead of “Oh no, he’s not mailing back, he doesn’t like me!”
Think: “Well, he has a busy job, maybe he’ll see my mail later.”

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If there is no reply after a reasonable time, ask. If you feel self-conscious doing that, you can use this excuse: “My mail isn’t working properly lately. Did you get my last e-mail?” Usually there is a perfectly normal reason for the lack of reply, and you’ve been stressing over nothing.

4. Everything Changes NOW!

Don’t do that: never start all the important changes at once. Take everything one step at a time. If people change their lives in one big go, they often expect the entire world to change along with it. When it doesn’t, there is disappointment and they fall back in their old (bad) habits.

Try to make a change every week or month. Begin with something you are certain to keep up and keep adding to your challenge until you are where you want to be.

5. Waiting For “The” Moment

The perfect moment does not exist: we create it. There are no signs that tell us “now.” If we want to do something, or feel we can contribute something, we have to get it going ourselves. Start it up, get people around you to help you along, and get it of the ground. If you don’t do it when the idea forms, either it will never happen or someone else does it and you lose out.

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6. Forget About “Monday”

A lot of people think: “Well, I failed to start my plan on Monday, I’ll just wait till next week.”

No. Monday is just “a day” a concept created to keep track of time. If you fail on Monday, make it Tuesday or Wednesday. Every day is the right day to start on finding “the new and happy me.”

Featured photo credit: Wayne Dery jr via unsplash.com

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Dannii Cohen

PsyD in Psychology, professional counsellor, life coach and self-help expert

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Last Updated on May 22, 2019

The Pomodoro Technique: Is It Right for You to Boost Productivity?

The Pomodoro Technique: Is It Right for You to Boost Productivity?

If you spend any time at all researching life hacks, you’ve probably heard of the famous Pomodoro Technique.

Created in the 1980s by Francesco Cirillo, the Pomodoro Technique is one of the more popular time management life hacks used today. But this method isn’t for everyone, and for every person who is a passionate adherent of the system, there is another person who is critical of the results.

Is the Pomodoro Technique right for you? It’s a matter of personal preference. But if you are curious about the benefits of using the technique, this article will break down the basic information you will need to decide if this technique is worth trying out.

What is the Pomodoro Technique?

The Pomodoro Technique is a time management philosophy that aims to provide the user with maximum focus and creative freshness, thereby allowing them to complete projects faster with less mental fatigue.

The process is simple:

For every project throughout the day, you budget your time into short increments and take breaks periodically.

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You work for 25 minutes, then take break for five minutes.

Each 25-minute work period is called a “pomodoro”, named after the Italian word for tomato. Francesco Cirillo used a kitchen timer shaped like a tomato as his personal timer, and thus the method’s name.

After four “pomodoros” have passed, (100 minutes of work time with 15 minutes of break time) you then take a 15-20 minute break.

Every time you finish a pomodoro, you mark your progress with an “X”, and note the number of times you had the impulse to procrastinate or switch gears to work on another task for each 25-minute chunk of time.

How the Pomodoro Technique boosts your productivity

Frequent breaks keep your mind fresh and focused. According to the official Pomodoro website, the system is easy to use and you will see results very quickly:

“You will probably begin to notice a difference in your work or study process within a day or two. True mastery of the technique takes from seven to twenty days of constant use.”

If you have a large and varied to-do list, using the Pomodoro Technique can help you crank through projects faster by forcing you to adhere to strict timing.

Watching the timer wind down can spur you to wrap up your current task more quickly, and spreading a task over two or three pomodoros can keep you from getting frustrated.

The constant timing of your activities makes you more accountable for your tasks and minimizes the time you spend procrastinating.

You’ll grow to “respect the tomato”, and that can help you to better handle your workload.

Successful people who love it

Steven Sande of The Unofficial Apple Weblog is a fan of the system, and has compiled a great list of Apple-compatible Pomodoro tools.

Before he started using the technique, he said,

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“Sometimes I couldn’t figure out how to organize a single day in my calendar, simply because I would jump around to all sorts of projects and never get even one of them accomplished.”

Another proponent of the Pomodoro Technique is Sue Shellenbarger of the Wall Street Journal. Shellenbarger tried out this system along with several other similar methods for time management, and said,

“It eased my anxiety over the passing of time and also made me more efficient; refreshed by breaks, for example, I halved the total time required to fact-check a column.”

Any cons for the Pomodoro Technique?

Despite the number of Pomodoro-heads out there, the system isn’t without its critics. Colin T. Miller, a Yahoo! employee and blogger, tried using the Pomodoro Technique and had some issues:[1]

“Pomodoros are an all or nothing affair. Either you work for 25 minutes straight to mark your X or you don’t complete a pomodoro. Since marking that X is the measurable sign of progress, you start to shy away from engaging in an activity if it won’t result in an X. For instance…meetings get in the way of pomodoros. Say I have a meeting set for 4:30pm. It is currently 4:10pm, meaning I only have 20 minutes between now and the meeting…In these instances I tend to not start a pomodoro because I won’t have enough time to complete it anyway.”

Another critic is Mario Fusco, who argues that the Pomodoro Technique is…well…sort of ridiculous:[2]

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“Aren’t we really able to keep ourselves concentrated without a timer ticketing on our desk?… Have you ever seen a civil engineer using a timer to keep his concentration while working on his projects?… I think that, like any other serious professional, I can stay concentrated on what I am doing for hours… Bring back your timer to your kitchen and start working in a more professional and effective way.”

Conclusion

One of the best things about the Pomodoro Technique is that it’s free. Yeah, you can fork over some bills to get a tomato-shaped timer if you want… or you can use any timer program on your computer or phone. So even if you try it and hate it, you haven’t lost any cash.

The process isn’t ideal for every person, or in any line of work. But if you need a systematic way to tackle your daily to-do list, the Pomodoro Technique may fit your needs.

If you want to learn more about the Pomodoro Technique, check out this article: How to Make the Pomodoro Technique More Productive

Reference

[1] Aspirations of a Software Developer: A Month of the Pomodoro Technique
[2] InfoQ: A Critique of the Pomodoro Technique

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