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Last Updated on November 4, 2021

How to Prevent Inaction from Leading to Regret

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How to Prevent Inaction from Leading to Regret

Time.

When you think of this construct, where do you see your time being spent?

As William Shakespeare famously wrote “I wasted time, and now doth time waste me…”

Have you used your time wisely? Are you where you want to be?

Or do you have unfinished goals to attain… places you want to be, things you still need to do?

The hard truth is, that time once passed cannot be replaced–which is why it is common to hear people say that one should not squander time doing nothing, or delay certain decisions for later. More often than not, the biggest blocker from reaching our goals is often inaction – which is essentially doing nothing, rather than doing something. 

There are many reasons why we may not do something. Most often it boils down to adequate time. We may feel we don’t have enough time, or that it’s never quite the right time to pursue our goals.

Maybe next month, or maybe next year…

And, before you know it, the time has passed and you’re still no where near achieving those goals you dream about. This inaction often leads to strong regret once we look at the situation through hindsight. So, take some time now to reflect on any goal(s) you may have in mind, or hidden at the back of your mind; and, think about how you can truly start working on them now, and not later.

So, how do you start?

Figure Out Your Purpose (Your Main Goal)


The first important step is to figure out your purpose, or your main goal.

What is it that you’re after in life? And, are there any barriers preventing you from reaching your goal? These are good questions to ask when it comes to figuring out how (and for what purpose) you are spending your time.

Your purpose will guide you, and it will ensure your time spent is within the bounds of what you actually want to accomplish.

A good amount of research has been done on how we as humans develop and embrace long-term and highly meaningful goals in our lives. So much so, that having a purpose has connections to reduced stroke, and heart attack. It turns out, our desire to accomplish goals actually has an evolutionary connection–especially goals with a greater purpose to them. This is because a greater purpose often helps both the individual, and our species as a whole, survive.

Knowing why it is you’re doing something is important; and, when you do, it will be easier to budget your time and effort into pursuing after those milestones or tasks that will lead to the accomplishment of your main goal.

Assess Your Current Time Spent

Next comes the actual time usage. Once you know what your main goal is, you’ll want to make the most of the time you have now. It’s good to know how you’re currently spending your time, so that you can start making improvements and easily assess what can stay and what can go in your day to day routine.

For just one day, ideally on a day when you’d like to be more productive, I encourage you to record a time journal, down to the quarter hour if you can manage. You may be quite surprised at how little things—such as checking social media, answering emails that could wait, or idling at the water cooler or office pantry —can add up to a lot of wasted time.

To get you started, I recommend you check out this quick self assessment to assess your current productivity: Want To Know How Much You’re Getting Done In A Day?

Tricks to Tackle Distractions

Once you’ve assessed how you’re currently spending your time, I hope you won’t be in for too big of a shock when you see just how big of an impact distractions and time wasters are in your life.

Every time your mind wanders from your work, it takes an average of 25 minutes and 26 seconds to get into focus again. That’s almost half an hour of precious time every time you entertain a distraction!

Which is why it’s important to learn how to focus, and tackle distractions effectively. Here’s how to do it:

1. Set Time Aside for Focusing

One way to stay focused is to set focused sessions for yourself. During a focused session, you should let people know that you won’t be responding unless it’s a real emergency.

Set your messaging apps and shared calendars as “busy” to reduce interruptions. Think of these sessions as one on one time with yourself so that you can truly focus on what’s important, without external distractions coming your way.

2. Beware of Emails

Emails may sound harmless, but they can come into our inbox continuously throughout the day, and it’s tempting to respond to them as we receive them. Especially if you’re one to check your notifications frequently.

Instead of checking them every time a new notification sounds, set a specific time to deal with your emails at one go. This will no doubt increase your productivity as you’re dealing with emails one after the other, rather than interrupting your focus on another project each time an email comes in.

Besides switching off your email notifications so as not to get distracted, you could also install a Chrome extension called Block Site that helps to stop Gmail notifications coming through at specific times, making it easier for you to manage these subtle daily distractions.

3. Let Technology Help

As much as we are getting increasingly distracted because of technology, we can’t deny it’s many advantages. So instead of feeling controlled by technology, why not make use of disabling options that the devices offer?

Turn off email alerts, app notifications, or set your phone to go straight to voicemail and even create auto-responses to incoming text messages. There are also apps like Forrest that help to increase your productivity by rewarding you each time you focus well, which encourages you to ignore your phone.

4. Schedule Time to Get Distracted

Just as important as scheduling focus time, is scheduling break times. Balance is always key, so when you start scheduling focused sessions, you should also intentionally pen down some break time slots for your mind to relax.

This is because the brain isn’t created to sustain long periods of focus and concentration. The average attention span for an adult is between 15 and 40 minutes. After this time, your likelihood of distractions get stronger and you’ll become less motivated.

So while taking a mental break might seem unproductive, in the long run it makes your brain work more efficiently, and you’ll end up getting more work done overall.

Time is in Your Hands

At the end of the day, we all have a certain amount of time to go all out to pursue our heart’s desires. Whatever your goals are, the time you have now, is in your hands to make them come true.

You simply need to start somewhere, instead of allowing inaction waste your time away, leaving you with regret later on. With a main goal or purpose in mind, you can be on the right track to attaining your desired outcomes.

Being aware of how you spend your time and learning how to tackle common distractions can help boost you forward in completing what’s necessary to reach your most desired goals.

So what are you waiting for? 

Featured photo credit: Aron Visuals via unsplash.com

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Leon Ho

Founder & CEO of Lifehack

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Last Updated on November 17, 2021

Understand the Difference Between Goals and Objectives to Advance Your Career

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Understand the Difference Between Goals and Objectives to Advance Your Career

The days of staying stagnant and complacent within a job are gone and maybe gone forever. The Great Resignation has created a movement of people who won’t settle for work that doesn’t fulfill them, and they are finding alternative ways to advance in life and a career.[1] We’re experiencing a great “reset,” and that’s a good thing. Your career should help you live a better life by providing financial security. Your work should challenge but also fulfill you. However, challenging but fulfilling work means you’ll have to do your part to be an asset.

A lot of the reason people don’t advance in their careers is that they’re not demonstrating value. Showing why you deserve more opportunities is how you can advance in your career. The good news is that goals and objectives can help you demonstrate clear value, but you need a better understanding and strategy of using goals and objectives.

Working hard is not enough. You can work hard without direction, which does not help you advance in your career. You’ll need clear goals to advance in a career and create a life of freedom. You have to be working hard towards accomplishing specific tasks that align with progress and your vision of growth. To accomplish a career advancement, you’ll need clear goals and understand the difference between goals and objectives and how they work in tandem. Being clear on the steps you take is how you accomplish more and live a growth-focused life.

Having a clear understanding of the difference between goals and objectives is crucial to advancing in your career. Here’s how to understand the difference and use goals and objectives to build a career and fulfilling life.

The Difference Between Goals and Objectives

Goals are the destination you should be working hard towards. Goals are specific accomplishments you set for yourself that help you live a better life and advance your career. If you were to think about this from a high level, objectives are the specific tasks and metrics that help you accomplish goals.

You’ll need to set goals to advance in your career. Those goals could be related to the kind of income you’d like to make, the position of leadership you’d like to be in, or even as lofty as earning equity in the company you work for. Clear career advancement goals give you a destination to strive to reach.

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With that clear destination (your goals), you’ll then need a plan to accomplish your goals—that is where objectives come into the picture. You’ll need to set specific objectives for each goal. Objectives bring clarity and create a plan for the particular steps you need to take (and in what order) to accomplish goals.

Objectives are not goals, and vice-versa. Think of goals as the house and objectives as the materials it takes to build the house. Accomplishing your goals starts with an understanding of the difference between goals and objectives. With that clarity, you can set each accordingly to advance your career. You need each, but you can’t reach one without the other.

Too many growth-focused leaders waste time, effort, and opportunity by winging it. Without a plan, you’ll spend a lot of time chasing distractions. Those who advance in their career do this by understanding the difference between goals and objectives and creating a strategic plan accordingly.

How to Use Objectives to Create and Accomplish Growth-Focused Goals

Every day is a new opportunity to create and work toward accomplishing goals that bring freedom, financial security, fulfillment, and career advancement to your life. You’ll need a roadmap if you’re going to achieve growth-focused goals.

The best way to accomplish your goals and advance your career is to set objectives for each goal. Remember, objectives are the specific tasks that help you create a plan to achieve each goal. Setting the proper objectives can help you get a raise, a promotion, and show a company why you deserve advancement in your career.

It starts with what you’d like to accomplish in your career—where is this all going? You’ll need clarity about your short-term and longer-term goals. In the short term, it could be a raise that you’re seeking. In the longer term, you may like a position of leadership and more responsibility. You then need to get a piece of paper, your favorite goal-setting app, or your notes on your phone and write out your goals. It would help if you saw them. People are visual by nature.

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Write out your career goals. With the primary goals written out, it’s time to set objectives for each goal. The goals are the designation, but you’ll need checkmarks and specific steps to accomplish them. Objectives are essential to staying focused and consistent. Take each goal and break them into bite-sized chunks. When you break down a goal, it allows you to see the specific steps you’ll need to take to reach that goal.

If your goal is a raise, what extra effort do you need to put in your work to show value for your company? Map out what those specific steps are and make them your objectives. If your goal is a promotion or other career advancement opportunities, map out the specifics to get there and set objectives.

Writing out the goals then the objectives clarifies what you should be doing, what order you should do it, and sets a realistic timeline to accomplish your life and career goals. There’s fear that comes with setting big goals. Limiting beliefs try to convince you to keep your goals to yourself and not put them anywhere besides in your mind. Writing out your goals helps make them real, and it’s how you make a commitment to yourself.

You have to take your goals seriously if you’re going to advance in your career. This means making the goals real by setting objectives and putting those goals in a place of accountability. Don’t take the easy road by keeping your goals inside and not feeling the consequences of not taking action.

Using Goals and Objectives Strategically to Advance Your Career

We’re currently experiencing a shift in the world of work. People are deciding to quit rather than spend 40+ hours every week building a career that doesn’t fulfill them and help them accomplish their goals. This is good news because it creates opportunities for advancement.

If you are not fulfilled in your career, then maybe you should be thinking about whether or not a shift makes sense. If you enjoy what you do and see your career advancing you towards accomplishing your goals, it’s essential to set strategic objectives that help you achieve your growth goals.

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After you’ve taken the time to set your goals—and the objectives that let you accomplish those goals—it’s time to get to work. You can’t advance your career and achieve your goals without being willing to do hard work and do it consistently.

The thing to understand is that accomplishing objectives that help you reach your goals is a process that takes time. Too often, we want instant gratification. Living a life of accomplishment and career advancement is not instant and will require consistent hard work.

Create Goals and Objectives That Challenge You

If you accomplish every goal that you set, your goals aren’t lofty enough. The path to growth and advancing in your career happens when you set ambitious goals. You should look at your goals and have a slight fear of how high they are.

Strategically planned objectives are powerful. As ambitious as your goals are, well-thought-out objectives can help you stay focused and accomplish anything. In addition to lofty goals, you should set higher-standard objectives. Growth is the goal, and that requires a bigger vision.

Create goals and objectives that challenge you to be better in your career and add value to your company. Come into this with an understanding that you’re doing all of this to create an incredible life. Challenge yourself because you deserve to accomplish your objectives and reach your goals.

Too many take the easy road and set achievable goals. Goals and objectives that challenge you expand your belief in what’s possible and strengthen your mindset. A strong mindset is how you’ll get the energy you need to work on your goals for a sustained period.

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Final Thoughts

It’s important to understand the difference between goals and objectives to advance your career. You need both, but they need to have their proper place to work together. Clarity in what to do and how to do it is how you set goals and use objectives to achieve them.

Don’t confuse an objective for a goal—objectives are the steps, and goals are the prize. Be strategic with the objectives you create to help you accomplish your goals.

Advancing your career is the key to creating financial security, building wealth, and working to build a life of freedom. Goals and their objectives help you grow and become the best version of yourself. Understand the difference between goals and objectives, and use them to advance your career.

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Featured photo credit: Smart via unsplash.com

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