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Your Voice of Temptation Doesn’t Need To Be In Charge

Your Voice of Temptation Doesn’t Need To Be In Charge

There are two prominent, and distinct voices inside my head. No, I am not suggesting that I suffer from a multiple personality disorder. Rather when it comes to motivation, it seems that we are all in a tug-of-war between opposing objectives. We want to lose weight, but there is a voice that says, “Just eat that one slice of chocolate cake.” We may feel guilty for a short time afterwards, but in the end, we will eat that cake again if given a chance.

There is a constant struggle between these two voices, the one that knows what is good for us, and the other that tempts us to sabotage our success. I have tried ignoring it, even reasoning with this other voice, but to no avail. The only thing I did try, and that worked, was making up my mind about which of the two voices was in charge.

Who’s Really The Boss Here?

I decided that the Voice of Good should be in the control seat. This doesn’t mean of course that the Voice of Temptation is going to go silently into the night. Mine put up a fierce fight. In fact, it seems never to stop fighting back. But, because I have made the decision, I use the Voice of Good to tell that Voice of Temptation where to get off.

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As ridiculous, and as slightly mad as it sounds, I now catch the times when the Voice of Temptation goes into another ramble about excuses to not go to the gym and workout — and then tell it where it gets off. This seems to work. “Listen here Voice of Temptation, I get what you are trying to do, but you are not in charge here, I, the Voice of Good say we are going to go to the gym whether you like it or not!”

The Two Voices, As Old As Time

Telling that Voice of Temptation where to get off, and putting it in its place, has nothing to do with motivation, but everything to do with discipline. The truth is, you cannot practice motivation, but what you can practice is discipline. It takes discipline, to allow that Voice of Good to stand up and proclaim who is running the show.

Like Marcus Aurelius, Emperor of Rome and Stoic philosopher, points out in his influential book, Meditations,

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“At dawn, when you have trouble getting out of bed, tell yourself: “I have to go to work – as a human being. What do I have to complain of, If I’m going to do what I was born for – the things I was brought into the world to do? Or is this what I was created for? To huddle under the blankets and stay warm?”

– But it’s nicer here…

So you were born to feel “nice”? Instead of doing things and experiencing them? Don’t you see the plants, the birds, the ants and spiders and bees going about their individual tasks, putting the world in order, as best they can? And you’re not willing to do your job as a human being? Why aren’t you running to do what your nature demands?

– But we have to sleep sometime…

Agreed. But nature set a limit on that – as it did on eating and drinking. And you’re over the limit. You’ve had more than enough of that. But not of working. There you’re still below your quota.

You don’t love yourself enough. Or you’d love your nature too, and what it demands of you. People who love what they do wear themselves down doing it, they even forget to wash or eat. Do you have less respect for your own nature than the engraver does for engraving, the dancer for the dance, the miser for money or the social climber for status? When they’re really possessed by what they do, they’d rather stop eating and sleeping than give up practicing their arts.”

Aurelius points to the discipline required to get things done. He also seems to be having that damned conversation between the Voice of Good and the Voice of Temptation that we all do. Clearly, those two voices have been around for eternity. The bottom line is, if you rely solely on the ‘desire’ to do something, then most of us would rather remain “huddled under the blankets and stay warm.” You have to put up the good fight, allow the Voice of Good to take charge, and don’t be afraid to tell the Voice of Temptation where to get off. And often, you need to tell it repeatedly!

More by this author

Rodney King

Embodied Performance Coach

The Fragmentation of Focus, And What You Can Do About it! Your Voice of Temptation Doesn’t Need To Be In Charge 4 Steps to Managing Your Emotional Life 4 Step To Being More Mindful in The Chaos of Life

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Last Updated on March 23, 2021

Manage Your Energy so You Can Manage Your Time

Manage Your Energy so You Can Manage Your Time

One of the greatest ironies of this age is that while various gadgets like smartphones and netbooks allow you to multitask, it seems that you never manage to get things done. You are caught in the busyness trap. There’s just too much work to do in one day that sometimes you end up exhausted with half-finished tasks.

The problem lies in how to keep our energy level high to ensure that you finish at least one of your most important tasks for the day. There’s just not enough hours in a day and it’s not possible to be productive the whole time.

You need more than time management. You need energy management

1. Dispel the idea that you need to be a “morning person” to be productive

How many times have you heard (or read) this advice – wake up early so that you can do all the tasks at hand. There’s nothing wrong with that advice. It’s actually reeks of good common sense – start early, finish early. The thing is that technique alone won’t work with everyone. Especially not with people who are not morning larks.

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I should know because I was once deluded with the idea that I will be more productive if I get out of bed by 6 a.m. Like most of you Lifehackers, I’m always on the lookout for productivity hacks because I have a lot of things in my plate. I’m working full time as an editor for a news agency, while at the same time tending to my side business as a content marketing strategist. I’m also a travel blogger and oh yeah, I forgot, I also have a life.

I read a lot of productivity books and blogs looking for ways to make the most of my 24 hours. Most stories on productivity stress waking up early. So I did – and I was a major failure in that department – both in waking up early and finishing early.

2. Determine your “peak hours”

Energy management begins with looking for your most productive hours in a day. Getting attuned to your body clock won’t happen instantly but there’s a way around it.

Monitor your working habits for one week and list down the time when you managed to do the most work. Take note also of what you feel during those hours – do you feel energized or lethargic? Monitor this and you will find a pattern later on.

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My experiment with being a morning lark proved that ignoring my body clock and just doing it by disciplining myself to wake up before 8 a.m. will push me to be more productive. I thought that by writing blog posts and other reports in the morning that I would be finished by noon and use my lunch break for a quick gym session. That never happened. I was sleepy, distracted and couldn’t write jack before 10 a.m.

In fact that was one experiment that I shouldn’t have tried because I should know better. After all, I’ve been writing for a living for the last 15 years, and I have observed time and again that I write more –and better – in the afternoon and in evenings after supper. I’m a night owl. I might as well, accept it and work around it.

Just recently, I was so fired up by a certain idea that – even if I’m back home tired from work – I took out my netbook, wrote and published a 600-word blog post by 11 p.m. This is a bit extreme and one of my rare outbursts of energy, but it works for me.

3. Block those high-energy hours

Once you have a sense of that high-energy time, you can then mold your schedule so that your other less important tasks will be scheduled either before or after this designated productive time.

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Block them out in your calendar and use the high-energy hours for your high priority tasks – especially those that require more of your mental energy and focus. You also need to use these hours to any task that will bring you closer to you life’s goal.

If you are a morning person, you might want to schedule most business meetings before lunch time as it’s important to keep your mind sharp and focused. But nothing is set in stone. Sometimes you have to sacrifice those productive hours to attend to other personal stuff – like if you or your family members are sick or if you have to attend your son’s graduation.

That said, just remember to keep those productive times on your calendar. You may allow for some exemptions but stick to that schedule as much as possible.

There’s no right or wrong way of using this energy management technique because everything depends on your own personal circumstances. What you need to remember is that you have to accept what works for you – and not what other productivity gurus say you should do.

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Understanding your own body clock is the key to time management. Without it, you end up exhausted chasing a never-ending cycle of tasks and frustrations.

Featured photo credit: Collin Hardy via unsplash.com

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