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How To Listen To Your Inner Thoughts When Making Tough Decisions

How To Listen To Your Inner Thoughts When Making Tough Decisions

Finding the right way to listen to yourself so that you can make the best choice when facing a tough decision sometimes proves to be a really difficult task. More often than not, people tell you to calm down, breathe, take some ginseng and meditate, or to hang around the closest temple, yoga place, or park that you might happen to stumble upon.

But truth be told, you probably just don’t have the head for any of that. At times you feel like you just don’t know where to make the right turn (note: right in terms of correctness, eh!) and creating the mental calmness to reflect and think about a tough call is not that easy.

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If you have ever felt this way, you will know that after spinning your wheels for some crazy amount of time, just like me, you’ll probably decide to go dig around the web for some good ol’ useful no-nonsense advice.  Hopefully sooner than later, you’ll arrive at Lifehack and start reading something useful.

Let’s go over some practical, useful, no-mumbo-jumbo-required pointers that will help:

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1. Take a hike.

Literally—not the “long hike on a short pier” thing, but actually step outside of the area where you feel you cannot listen to yourself. The blaring TV, surround sound system, and scream and shouts scenario will not help, so step outside, go for a walk, and hunt for a space where you can actually sit for a moment and listen to yourself. Steer away from bars!

The idea is find a place where you can actually relax and no one will bother you. Once you find the right place, include also a virtual hike: turn off the cell phone, tablet or any electronical device that could distract you. It’s about having some quality time with yourself.

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2. Stop your pushy self on its tracks.

Do you find yourself fighting the uphill battle and doing your very best, even though all the signs point to a different direction? Well, you should have guessed by now that “that” is not the best approach; there’s a big difference between stubbornness and constancy—if you cannot tell them apart, well we have a situation that will require another post just for this topic. But, for a quick pointer, check how you feel about the situation; if you are uneasy, upset, tired, and about to require anger management support, your actions are stubbornness-based.

3. Patience is not passiveness.

Patience means you understand and are supportive; therefore, you do your very best to obtain the results you are looking for. This is the opposite of hoping things will magically fix themselves and doing nothing. Baking a cake takes time. Sure, you can crank up the temperature, but the end result will not be a cake in 10 minutes, but a half-burnt-half-raw-cake-mess that no one will dare to taste. Every process requires a certain sequence of steps, each with its own time frame.

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4. Prioritize in a consistent and consequential way.

Being in a tough call scenario means you have thought long and hard about the topic; therefore, make sure your actions are completely aligned to your actual decision, which in turn are fine-tuned to what’s best for you; keep in mind that you should define that not from an egotistic approach but from a reflective and responsible approach.

5. Ditch doubts and trust your judgment.

If you can think—which you obviously can—and have done precisely that throughout your decision-making process, have complete trust in yourself. Can you imagine how would you act without self-doubts and anxiety? Well, you can; you are more than capable enough to act upon your call. It isn’t about eliminating fear; it is about trusting yourself and your judgment. Go for it now!

Featured photo credit: tumblr_n4ef69szs71st5lhmo1_1280.jpg via morguefile.com

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The Gentle Art of Saying No

The Gentle Art of Saying No

No!

It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments — you simply spread yourself too thin and will not be able to get anything done, at least not well or on time.

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But requests for your time are coming in all the time — through phone, email, IM or in person. To stay productive, and minimize stress, you have to learn the Gentle Art of Saying No — an art that many people have problems with.

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What’s so hard about saying no? Well, to start with, it can hurt, anger or disappoint the person you’re saying “no” to, and that’s not usually a fun task. Second, if you hope to work with that person in the future, you’ll want to continue to have a good relationship with that person, and saying “no” in the wrong way can jeopardize that.

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But it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here are the Top 10 tips for learning the Gentle Art of Saying No:

  1. Value your time. Know your commitments, and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some of your time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it. And tell them that: “I just can’t right now … my plate is overloaded as it is.”
  2. Know your priorities. Even if you do have some extra time (which for many of us is rare), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time? For myself, I know that more commitments means less time with my wife and kids, who are more important to me than anything.
  3. Practice saying no. Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word. And sometimes, repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually, they’ll get the message.
  4. Don’t apologize. A common way to start out is “I’m sorry but …” as people think that it sounds more polite. While politeness is important, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm, and unapologetic about guarding your time.
  5. Stop being nice. Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it. But if you erect a wall, they will look for easier targets. Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many requests (that are not on your top priority list) as possible.
  6. Say no to your boss. Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss — they’re our boss, right? And if we say “no” then we look like we can’t handle the work — at least, that’s the common reasoning. But in fact, it’s the opposite — explain to your boss that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss insists that you take on the project, go over your project or task list and ask him/her to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.
  7. Pre-empting. It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made. If you know that requests are likely to be made, perhaps in a meeting, just say to everyone as soon as you come into the meeting, “Look guys, just to let you know, my week is booked full with some urgent projects and I won’t be able to take on any new requests.”
  8. Get back to you. Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, simply tell them: “After giving this some thought, and checking my commitments, I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.” At least you gave it some consideration.
  9. Maybe later. If this is an option that you’d like to keep open, instead of just shutting the door on the person, it’s often better to just say, “This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame].” Next time, when they check back with you, you might have some free time on your hands.
  10. It’s not you, it’s me. This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not at this time. Simply say so — you can compliment the idea, the project, the person, the organization … but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for at this time. Only say this if it’s true — people can sense insincerity.

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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