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5 Focus Hacks To Meet Your Goals

5 Focus Hacks To Meet Your Goals

Long-term goals are hard to stick to, and no wonder. Life always seems to get in the way of your plans, somehow, leaving you unable to make progress on the projects and accomplishments you told yourself you wanted to complete. The new career, the fitness regimen, and that education seem like an endless process that often has no obvious end point.

But rather than losing motivation and focus, you can learn how to channel your desires, avoid the pitfalls of procrastination and apathy to accomplish whatever you hope to achieve. Here are five focus hacks to help you meet your goals.

1. Remind yourself of the benefits

Whatever goal you’ve set for yourself, it must be for a reason. It’s probably for several reasons. If you want to lose weight, it’s probably because it’ll improve your breathing, ease pain in your knees, increase your fitness capabilities or increase your clothing options. If you want a career change, it could be because a new career could give you more flexible hours, a renewed sense of purpose, a better salary or a more comfortable working condition.

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These are reasons you want to accomplish your goal, and a good way to remain focused is to write down the benefits of whatever you hope to accomplish to remind yourself of what it is you’re working towards. When you lose interest in putting in the effort to go for that run or take on that extra assignment, think about how the end goal can improve your life.

2. Track your progress

Another excellent way to motivate yourself is by tracking your progress in a goal in some way. A timeline, a series of before and after photos, a check list of to-dos that have been completed can serve as a reminder of the effort you’ve put into completing your task. This can motivate you to complete something so as not to have wasted all that effort.

Further, this allows you to look at any possible benefits you can develop along the way, rather than thinking of benefits as merely something that comes at the end of accomplishing a goal. It is a reminder that every step is an accomplishment and a visual aid of how many steps you’ve taken to complete your goal so far.

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3. Prioritize to meet your goal

Surprise distractions or events can often throw one’s plans off track. Sometimes it may feel like the world is intentionally attempting to sabotage your attempts to meet your goals. Maybe a financially tight period is ruining your goal of building savings or a social group that relies on eating out is making your weight loss goals difficult.

An important step in keeping yourself on track is to prioritize your goal in your life. What is more important than it? What isn’t? If it isn’t, do what’s necessary to prioritize your goals over distractions. Identify to yourself what will lead to achieving your long-term accomplishments and what won’t.

4. Identify steps to your goal

Breaking your goal down into smaller, easier accomplishments can ease your path and reduce stress as you try to accomplish a goal. These short-term goals can provide you with the instant feel-good of an accomplishment and still progress you forward.

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For example, for a larger weight loss goal of 20 pounds, one might set multiple 2-lb goals to reach. 10 short-term goals later, one has multiple accomplishments under their belt. To your brain, each individual goal reached is interpreted as a win and gets that dopamine rush that keeps you motivated. Identifying steps to your goal can also help you plan as you move forward and foresee difficulties or checkpoints.

5. Find motivational partner

A partner who can keep you on track is one of the best tools to meeting and accomplishing any goal. Someone who can hold you accountable provides an outside factor to keep you making progress. It’s a tactic many rehab programs use as a way to prevent common relapse triggers.

This alleviates some of the pressure off of you, as it’s now not entirely up to you to keep yourself motivated. A partner is harder to say no to than yourself and is likely to be less receptive than you are to excuses. Take advantage of someone who won’t let you stray from your goals.

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Finding motivation to meet your long-term goals is hard, and maintaining it over a long period of time can feel impossible. Using these techniques, you can push yourself towards the success you’ve always wanted but never had the time to accomplish.

Featured photo credit: Kirk Olson via flic.kr

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Last Updated on September 28, 2020

The Pros and Cons of Working from Home

The Pros and Cons of Working from Home

At the start of the year, if you had asked anyone if they could do their work from home, many would have said no. They would have cited the need for team meetings, a place to be able to sit down and get on with their work, the camaraderie of the office, and being able to meet customers and clients face to face.

Almost ten months later, most of us have learned that we can do our work from home and in many ways, we have discovered working from home is a lot better than doing our work in a busy, bustling office environment where we are inundated with distractions and noise.

One of the things the 2020 pandemic has reminded us is we humans are incredibly adaptable. It is one of the strengths of our kind. Yet we have been unknowingly practicing this for years. When we move house we go through enormous upheaval.

When we change jobs, we not only change our work environment but we also change the surrounding people. Humans are adaptable and this adaptability gives us strength.

So, what are the pros and cons of working from home? Below I will share some things I have discovered since I made the change to being predominantly a person who works from home.

Pro #1: A More Relaxed Start to the Day

This one I love. When I had to be at a place of work in the past, I would always set my alarm to give me just enough time to make coffee, take a shower, and change. Mornings always felt like a rush.

Now, I can wake up a little later, make coffee and instead of rushing to get out of the door at a specific time, I can spend ten minutes writing in my journal, reviewing my plan for the day, and start the day in a more relaxed frame of mind.

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When you start the day in a relaxed state, you begin more positively. You find you have more clarity and more focus and you are not wasting energy worrying about whether you will be late.

Pro #2: More Quiet, Focused Time = Increased Productivity

One of the biggest difficulties of working in an office is the noise and distractions. If a colleague or boss can see you sat at your desk, you are more approachable. It is easier for them to ask you questions or engage you in meaningless conversations.

Working from home allows you to shut the door and get on with an hour or two of quiet focused work. If you close down your Slack and Email, you avoid the risk of being disturbed and it is amazing how much work you can get done.

An experiment conducted in 2012 found that working from home increased a person’s productivity by 13%, and more recent studies also find significant increases in productivity.[1]

When our productivity increases, the amount of time we need to perform our work decreases, and this means we can spend more time on activities that can bring us closer to our family and friends as well as improve our mental health.

Pro #3: More Control Over Your Day

Without bosses and colleagues watching over us all day, we have a lot more control over what we do. While some work will inevitably be more urgent than others, we still get a lot more choice about what we work on.

We also get more control over where we work. I remember when working in an office, we were given a fixed workstation. Some of these workstations were pleasant with a lot of natural sunlight, but other areas were less pleasant. It was often the luck of the draw whether we find ourselves in a good place to work or not.

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By working from home we can choose what work to work on and whether we want to face a window or not. We can get up and move to another place, and we can move from room to room. And if you have a garden, on nice days you could spend a few hours working outside.

Pro #4: You Get to Choose Your Office Environment

While many companies will provide you with a laptop or other equipment to do your work, others will give you an allowance to purchase your equipment. But with furniture such as your chair and desk, you have a lot of freedom.

I have seen a lot of amazing home working spaces with wonderful sets up—better chairs, laptop stands that make working from a laptop much more ergonomic and therefore, better for your neck.

You can also choose your wall art and the little nick-nacks on your desk or table. With all this freedom, you can create a very personal and excellent working environment that is a pleasure to work in. When you are happy doing your work, you will inevitably do better work.

Con #1: We Move a Lot Less

When we commute to a place of work, there is movement involved. Many people commute using public transport, which means walking to the bus stop or train station. Then, there is the movement at lunchtime when we go out to buy our lunch. Working in a place of work requires us to move more.

Unfortunately, working from home naturally causes us to move less and this means we are not burning as many calories as we need to.

Moving is essential to our health and if you are working from home you need to become much more aware of your movement. To ensure you are moving enough, make sure you take your lunch breaks. Get up from your desk and move. Go outside, if you can, and take a walk. And, of course, refrain from regular trips to the refrigerator.

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Con #2: Less Human Interaction

One of the nicest things about bringing a group of people together to work is the camaraderie and relationships that are built over time. Working from home takes us away from that human interaction and for many, this can cause a feeling of loss.

Humans are a social species—we need to be with other people. Without that connection, we start to feel lonely and that can lead to mental health issues.

Zoom and Microsoft Teams meeting cannot replace that interaction. Often, the interactions we get at our workplaces are spontaneous. But with video calls, there is nothing spontaneous—most of these calls are prearranged and that’s not spontaneous.

This lack of spontaneous interaction can also reduce a team’s ability to develop creative solutions—there’s just something about a group of incredibly creative people coming together in a room to thrash out ideas together that lends itself to creativity.

While video calls can be useful, they don’t match the connection between a group of people working on a solution together.

Con #3: The Cost of Buying Home Office Equipment

Not all companies are going to provide you with a nice allowance to buy expensive home office equipment. 100% remote companies such as Doist (the creators of Todoist and Twist) provide a $2,000 allowance to all their staff every two years to buy office equipment. Others are not so generous.

This can prove to be expensive for many people to create their ideal work-from-home workspace. Many people must make do with what they already have, and that could mean unsuitable chairs that damage backs and necks.

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For a future that will likely involve more flexible working arrangements, companies will need to support their staff in ways that will add additional costs to an already reduced bottom line.

Con #4: Unique Distractions

Not all people have the benefit of being able to afford childcare for young children, and this means they need to balance working and taking care of their kids.

For many parents, being able to go to a workplace gives them time away from the noise and demands of a young family, so they could get on with their work. Working from home removes this and can make doing video calls almost impossible.

To overcome this, where possible, you need to set some boundaries. I know this is not always possible, but it is something you need to try. You should do whatever you can to make sure you have some boundaries between your work life and home life.

Final Thoughts

Working from home can be hugely beneficial for many people, but it can also bring serious challenges to others.

We are moving towards a new way of working. Therefore, companies need to look at both the pros and cons of working from home and be prepared to support their staff in making this transition. It will not be impossible, but a lot of thought will need to go into it.

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Featured photo credit: Standsome Worklifestyle via unsplash.com

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