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Keep These 8 Tips In Mind If You Want To Achieve Anything In Life

Keep These 8 Tips In Mind If You Want To Achieve Anything In Life

Ever had this passion, this burning desire to achieve something unique and specific? You think about it when you go to school, when you leave for work, even when you take your dog out for the daily walk, it’s there in your mind, thumping on your thoughts like a bag thumping against your back whenever you move. You most probably had, we all did, and we all still do. A dream is one way to call it.

Yet, how very few of us act on these compulsions? And of those who do, how many truly commit to it, in good and in bad, only to achieve their ever desirable goal? You probably guessed it, few to none. But you will be surprised to hear that this amazing achievement is not too far out of reach, no matter how far and difficult it may seem all the way from the starting line. It’s all in the mind, you could say, and here are a few important tips that should guide you through this difficult seeming path:

1. Commitment is key

You’re at work, cleaning those dishes, submitting your daily paperwork, or have been staring at the computer screen for over two hours, and then, without a moment’s notice, this amazingly original book idea pops to your mind. You write it down on a small note and put it in your pocket. Now you can’t wait for the work day to end, you are motivated beyond all comparison. This will be your big break, the one you have been dreaming on for so long.

You arrive back home, drink your coffee, eat your meal, and take a warm shower. You get to your room and stare blankly at your computer’s desk. Nothing. The moment is gone, along with your idea and all of your vast talent. You beat yourself down and blame the long working hours for this misfortune.

Well, this is a wrong way to look at it. Although important, you cannot count solely on motivation if you want to achieve your desirable goal. What you need is commitment. Commitment to sit down on that desk, despite your lack of mental energy. To wear those jogging shoes, although you feel numb and tired after your daily nap. There can be hundreds of examples, but truly, all you need is to buckle up and get to work.

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2. It’s all about the journey

You can’t expect to have a smooth trail, a compass, and a big old X down on the map, leading you all the way up to the finish line. We all want to climb to the very top of the mountain but instead decide on going around it, despairing when realizing that there’s no lift or an unseen shortcut. And to be honest, wouldn’t it be boring if it was that easy?

Instead of straining your eyes so to look at the far ahead destination, look around you, and you may just find that the adventure is not half bad by itself. Learn, experience, improve, and to put simply: stay in the moment. Before you know it, you will be halfway there.

3. A positive mind, a positive result

This one goes without saying right? “Stay positive,” we hear it from everyone. Whether we are tired, anxious, or plainly just having a bad day. Well, surprise, surprise, there’s a reason for it. Positive thoughts will serve as the fuel to your adventure. They will keep you wanting to experiment, to experience, and will push you out of the box, and help you perform better with your work.

Doubts, on the other hand, won’t help you achieve a thing, and if at all, may hinder your performance or plainly push you from your rightful course.

If you want to achieve your goals, just “stay positive”.

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4. Don’t make it easy on yourself

We all sometimes hate leaving the every familiar comfort zone. It is our domain, our realm, and we know each and every sharp turn, and jump above every obstacle with relative ease. But you can’t expect to achieve what you don’t have by staying where you are.

Don’t let fear keep you down. Get out, challenge yourself even on the risk of failing. We learn best from failing, and so very little from succeeding. That is why achieving your dream is a long journey in the first place. Didn’t manage to jump above that pole? Don’t throw the gloves down and walk away, put it back up and try again!

5. Distractions are the enemy

You sit down next to the computer screen, ready to write your best-selling novel, feeling strong and motivated. You manage to get a sentence in there until, suddenly, you feel your phone vibrating in your pocket. You don’t know who it is, and it might be important right? Could be that girl you’ve been texting with for a while now. You take it out and give it a shallow stare. Just a quick look, just a small break maybe.

Next thing you know, you’ve not only engaged in a long, meaningful conversation, now you’ve started talking with more friends, and even took the liberty to start watching these funny youtube videos that you’ve been getting. An hour and a half passes, you take a deep breath, and finally, decide to put the phone down and get to work. You look at the screen, and nothing, you are all worn out.

Bottom line. Want to achieve your goals? Avoid distractions as best as you possibly can.

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6. Look and plan ahead

Until now, you’ve been working unstably. When out and unavailable, you suddenly feel extremely positive and motivated, and when at home, numb and tired. Little are the times that you feel motivated while actually being physically available. That is why you need to plan your schedule ahead. You know that you feel best at the mornings? Then make a clear window in your schedule, and let it be the first step to achieving your dreams.

Not available in the mornings for some reason? Well, at least clear some time during evening time, and try to dedicate at least two mornings for your own goals.

7. Take advantage of every situation

Let’s face it. We cannot possibly clear our schedules completely and dedicate every minute solely for achieving our goals. We have our school studies, work, volunteer works and a hundred of other things in our life. But we can make the best of every situation.

Filling paperwork at the office? Take this time to reflect on your ideas, observe the other workers, something might pop to your mind any second now. Inspiring to be an athlete? Eat well and avoid the junk food during the long work hours, squat, and do push-ups whenever you get a free window.

No excuses, take action anywhere you can.

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8. Achieve, but beware of wearing yourself down

Bearing all other tips in mind, this one is probably one of the more important of them. If you feel tired and weak, always give yourself a breathing windows and take a break. Don’t burn out your mind, body, and try to claw your way to the summit. Many people do that mistake, straining themselves, confusing it for dedication.

Pushing yourself over the edge won’t bear any fruit, and if anything, will just hinder your progress. You can’t beat a dead horse and expect it to move, so to speak.

Featured photo credit: VIKTOR HANACEK via picjumbo.com

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Last Updated on December 9, 2019

7 Techniques to Stay Focused and Avoid Distractions

7 Techniques to Stay Focused and Avoid Distractions

The world has become a very distracting place, you don’t need me to tell you that. Where once we could walk out of our house or office and disappear into our own world with our own thoughts, we are now connected 24 hours a day to a network that’s sole purpose is to make us available to anyone and everyone at any time they choose to disturb us.

Of course, it is very easy to sit here and say all you have to do is turn off your electronic devices and just allow yourself several hours of quiet solitude; but the reality is far harder than that. There is an expectation that we are available for anyone whenever they want us.

However, if you do want to elevate yourself and perform at your best every day, to produce work of a higher quality than anyone expects and to regain control over what you do and when you will need to regain some control over your time, so you can focus on producing work that matters to you…

The good news: You do not have to become a recluse. All you need are a few simple strategies that will allow you enough flexibility in your day to stay focused to do the work that matters and still allow you to deal with other people’s crises and dramas.

Here are 7 ways you can stay focused and be less distracted.

1. Find out When You Are at Your Most Focused

According to research, brilliantly documented by Daniel Pink in his latest book, When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing, our brains have a limited capacity to stay focused each day.[1]

From the moment we wake up to the time we turn in for the day, we are using up our brain’s limited energy resources and, depending on the time of day, we will be moving between strong concentration and low concentration.

This means that for most people, their optimum time for sustained concentration and focus will be soon after they wake up. For others, it could be later in the evening—a kind of second wind—but that is rare.

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Once you understand this, you can take time to learn when you are at your best and to protect that time on your calendar as much as possible. If you can, block it off and use that time for the work you need to do that requires the most concentration each day.

2. Get Comfortable Using ‘Do Not Disturb’ Mode

We have the ability to switch our electronic devices to do not disturb mode. Where all notifications are off and your phone or computer will not alert you to a new email or message.

Now after testing this function for a number of years, I can happily report that it does work.

When I sat down to write this article, I put all my electronic devices to do not disturb, closed down my email and began writing. I am safe in the knowledge that until this article is written, and I turn do not disturb off, there will be no interruptions or distractions.

Of course, it is not really about whether do not disturb works or not, it is whether you are willing to turn it on or not.

Most people believe they have to be constantly available for their boss or customers. This is not true at all. What has happened is because of your always available status, you have conditioned these people to turn to you first whenever they have a problem.

You are not actually helping them at all. You are preventing them from having to think for themselves and develop the skill of problem-solving. By not being so readily available, you help them a lot more.

What it comes down to is your boss and customers are going to be far more positive with you, if you deliver your work to the highest quality and on time than you being available 24/7. Trust me on that. I also tested that one.

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3. Schedule Focus Time Every Day

This technique is a lot easier than you may think.

First, you figure out when you are least likely to be disturbed. For me, that is between 6 and 9 am. for a lot of my clients, they find the first 90 minutes in the morning at their workplace is when they are not likely to be disturbed. This is important because you want to be building consistency.

Most people start their day by checking their email and other messages. While they are doing that, they are not going to be bothering you. Now there is no rule about when you should be checking your email. The chances are email is not going to be where you want to spend your most focused time, so you can decide to check your email at say 10:30 am.

Dedicate 30 minutes from 10:30 am to 11:00 am for email processing and use the first 90 minutes of your day for doing your most important work. You will surprise yourself by how much work you get done in that ninety minutes.

4. Plan Your Day the Night Before

One of the inevitabilities of life is there is always a plan for the day. The choice is whether the plan you have is a plan of your own making or not. If you don’t have a plan, then the day will take control of you. Other people’s priorities, urgencies and dramas will fill your day. As the late Jim Rohn said:

“Either you run the day or the day runs you.”

If you take control and make it a habit to plan out what you want to accomplish the next day before you go to bed, you will find yourself staying more focused on your work and be less likely disturbed.

Now when I say plan your day the night before, I do not mean you need to spend an hour or so planning and mapping out every minute of the day. Planning your day should only take you around 10 to 15 minutes and you only need to decide what 10 things you want to complete — 2 “must do” objective tasks and 8 “would like to do” tasks. What I call the 2+8 Prioritisation Technique:

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Do not be tempted to go beyond 10 tasks for the day. When you do that, you do not have enough flexibility in your day to handle crises and other unknown issues that will pop up throughout the day.

When you do not build in flexibility, you will soon stop planning your day. Only plan tasks that will have the biggest positive impact on your work and projects.

5. Learn to Say “No”

I am sure you’ve been told this before. We are wired to please and this results in us wanting to say yes to every opportunity that comes our way. The problem is we cannot do everything and every time you say “yes” to one opportunity, you are saying “no” to another opportunity. You cannot be in two places at the same time.

Jay Shetty shared an inspiring video on JOMO “Joy Of Missing Out”. Here’s the video:

Rather than allowing ourselves to be succumbed by FOMO (the Fear Of Missing Out), we should replace that ‘fear’ with the “joy” of missing out. Because of our need to please, we say yes to things we really don’t want to do; yet when we do that, we miss out on doing things that bring us joy—creating something special, spending time educating ourselves and just having some quiet alone time with ourselves.

Learn to say “no” every time you get a notification to your phone. Ignore it. Learn to say “no” to your colleagues when they want to gossip. Learn to say “no” to volunteering when the thing you are being asked to volunteer for does not excite you. Just learn to say “no”.

By saying “no” to opportunities, distractions and interruptions, you are saying yes to better and more meaningful things. Things you do want to focus your attention on.

6. Create a Distraction-Free Environment for Your Focused Time

This has been possibly the most powerful tip I learned when it comes to focusing on what is important. Have a place where you do only focused, high-concentration work.

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Now this place needs to be clean and only have the tools you need to do your work. If it is writing a report or preparing a presentation, then it needs a table and a computer, nothing more. Files, paper and other detritus that accumulates on and around people’s desks need to go. A clean, cool and well-lit environment is going to do a lot more for your focus and concentration than anything else.

The dining table in our home is where I go for undisturbed, focussed work. I take my laptop or iPad, and only have my writing app open. Everything is closed down and the computer is in “do not disturb” mode. There is nothing else on the dining table just my computer and my water tumbler.

Because that is my designated focus area, I only go there to work when I have something that needs total focus and concentration. I am there right now!

7. Be Intentional

The reality is, if you absolutely need to get something done then you need to be intentional. You have to have the intention of sitting down, focusing and doing the work.

There’s no magic tricks or apps that will miraculously do all your work for you. You need to intentionally set aside time for undisturbed focus work and do it. Without that intention, you can read as many of these articles as you like and you still will not get the work done.

It is only when you intentionally set yourself up to do the work, turn off all notifications and do whatever it takes to avoid distractions will the work get done.

The Bottom Line

The strategies and tips I shared in this post will go a long way to helping you become better at focusing on the important things in your life. No matter what they are, you are in control of your time and what you do with it and where you spend it, never give that control away to anyone else.

Protect it and it will be your servant. Give that control away and it will become your master and that is not a good place to be.

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Featured photo credit: Manny Pantoja via unsplash.com

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