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How The Matrix Will Help Make 2012 Your Best Year Yet

How The Matrix Will Help Make 2012 Your Best Year Yet
The Matrix
    The Matrix Code by Carlos Carreño

    I’m sure most of you have seen one or all, of “The Matrix” movies, the sci-fi action movie trilogy set in the future. I’m a huge fan, what I love about the movies is that each time I watch them I delve deeper into the philosophy behind the action.

    While watching it again recently, I had some thoughts about how The Matrix is represented in our own day to day lives and how maybe we could reduce its presence in 2012 and use some of its ideas to make our lives happier and more meaningful.

    In the movie, The Matrix is described as a computer generated dream world built to keep humans under control in order to use them as a source of energy somewhat akin to a battery cell. Those who are part of the matrix are unaware of its existence, they are happy in their ignorance that what they believe to be real is reality.

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    Then there are those who have escaped from the Matrix, their reality is not so sweet but it represents Truth as opposed to the superficiality of the dream world.

    What does this imagery say about our own lives? Are you a battery cell? Is your life spent pursuing the goals of others? Do you like to ignore the things you know need to change in your life or have you accepted the truth and the responsibly that comes with that knowledge?

    Coming to the end of another year is the time to take stock of our lives. To think about the past year and whether it has been a good one, and what parts can be improved upon. Is it time for change, for advancement, for improvement? Are you leading a life of your choice?

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    Achievement List

    Start by looking at the achievements of the past year. They may be work-related or personal achievements. Maybe a sporting achievement or a habit you managed to break. Make a list of all the achievements from the past year. Far too often we achieve great things but we don’t’ give them enough acknowledgement. We tend to move on and focus on the next goal or objective.

    Now is the time to sit and acknowledge the good things, to celebrate and feel good.

    Looking Forward

    After looking at your past achievements, now take a look forward, what still needs to change? Do you still need to make changes and adapt things to make the coming year happier and more successful?

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    Often people tell me they don’t know what they want from life and therefore don’t know what goals to set. If this is the case let us use The Matrix to give us some ideas where to start.

    1. Is your life spent fueling an engine that you don’t want to be part of?
    2. Are your daily actions meaningful, are they contributing to a positive bigger picture?
    3. Are there contributions you think you could offer to make the world a better place?

    Take some time to think about those questions and then look towards another great lesson to be learned from the Matrix both for our personal productivity and our general success. This comes from one of the ideas throughout the first movie that the main character Neo may be “The One” — the one is who is not going to do things the way they are always done, the enlightened one, or the awakened one.

    So maybe it is time to wake up — and wake up what needs to change.

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    Doing things differently

    Einstein once said:

    “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”

    If you want to make changes in your life you need to change the way you are currently doing things. So many people whine and moan about their unhappy lives, how circumstance has dealt them a raw deal. If you are unhappy with the hand you were given go out and get a different set of cards and deal yourself a new hand, make changes, step outside your comfort zone only by doing things differently will your reap the results that you desire

    A new year is time for change, but now is the time to plan that change, to think about the commitments you are going to make for yourself and for your world.

    It’s time to wake up and embrace the truth in order to make 2012 one of the best yet.

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    Ciara Conlon

    Productivity coach, speaker, blogger and author of Chaos to Control, a Practical Guide to Getting Things Done

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    Last Updated on August 6, 2019

    Why Do I Procrastinate? 5 Root Causes And How To Tackle Them

    Why Do I Procrastinate? 5 Root Causes And How To Tackle Them

    Procrastination is something many people can relate to and I, myself, have been there and done that. Yes, I write all about productivity now, but when I first started out on my career path, I would often put off work I didn’t want to do. And most of the time I didn’t even realize I was doing it.

    So what changed?

    I thought to myself, “why do I procrastinate?” And I started to read a lot of books on productivity, learning a great deal and shifting my mind to the reasons why people procrastinate.

    My understanding brought me a new perspective on how to put an end to the action of procrastination.

    Procrastination slows your goals and dreams way down. It can create stress and feelings of frustration. It rears its ugly head on a regular basis for a lot of people. This is particularly apparent at work with day-to-day projects and tasks.

    But, why do people self-sabotage in this way? Essentially, there are 5 reasons behind procrastination. See if you can identify with any of these in your own work life.

    1. The Perfectionist’s Fear

    Procrastination is sometimes a subconscious fear of failure.

    If you put off a task enough, then you can’t face up to the potential (and usually imagined) negative results. If you’re a stickler for minor details, the stress of getting things ‘just right’ may be too much and cause you to delay continuing the task.

    Either way, fear is at the root cause and can sabotage your desire to move forward.

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    How to Tackle It?

    Try visualizing the completion of your task in a positive way.

    For example, you have a presentation that your boss wants you to conduct for a potential client. Visualize yourself standing in the meeting room confident, meeting the eyes of the client and seeing them light up as you explain the concept simply and concisely.

    Imagine your boss telling you how great you did and you were the best person for the job. Think about how it would feel to you and focus on this as you move forward with the task.

    2. A Dreamer’s Lack of Action

    This is a person who is highly creative and has many brilliant ideas but can’t quite seem to bring them to fruition.

    The main reason for this is because there’s usually no structure or goal setting involved once the idea has been created. This aimless approach ends up manifesting as a lack of decision-making and significant delays on a project.

    How to Tackle It?

    Write down a timeline of what you want to achieve and by when. Ideally, do this daily to keep yourself on track and accountable for progression. Creative minds tend to jump from one idea to the next, so cultivating focus is essential.

    If you’re designing and creating a new product at work, set out a task list for the week ahead with the steps you want to focus on each day. Doing this ahead of time will stop your mind from wandering across to different ideas.

    Learn about how to plan your time and take actions from some of the successful people: 8 Ways Highly Successful People Plan Their Time

    3. An Overwhelmed Avoider

    This is one of the most common reasons for procrastination; the sheer overwhelm of a daunting task.

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    The complexity of a task can cause the brain to lose motivation and avoid doing it altogether choosing instead to stay in its comfort zone.

    The search then starts for a more enjoyable task and the harder tasks are put off. This can cause stress and dread when the task inevitably comes up to be completed.

    How to Tackle It?

    Break the challenge down into smaller tasks and tackle each one individually.

    For example, if you have a project that has technical elements to it that you know you’ll find challenging, list each step you need to take in order to complete these difficult elements. Think of ways you can resolve potential hurdles. Perhaps you have a coworker that may have time to help or even consider that the solution may be easier than you initially think. Put each task in order of most daunting to least daunting. Ideally, try to deal with the more challenging parts of each task in the morning so that momentum is created as the tasks get easier through the day.

    A reward system will also help you stay motivated so, once completed, you can enjoy your treat of choice.

    If you want to know how to better handle your feelings and stay motivated, take a look at my other article: Procrastination Is a Matter of Emotion, Here’s How to Stop It

    4. The Busy Bee Who Lacks Prioritization

    Either you have too many tasks or don’t truly acknowledge the differing importance of each task. The result? Getting nothing done.

    Time is spent switching constantly from one task to another or spending too much time deciding what to do.

    How to Tackle It?

    It’s all about priorities and choosing important tasks over urgent ones.

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    Make sure to question the value and purpose of each task and make a list in order of importance.

    For example, throughout your work day, you can waste a lot of time dealing with ‘urgent’ emails from colleagues but, you need to ask yourself if these are more important than working on a task that will affect, say, several office projects at once.

    Help yourself to prioritize and set a goal of working through your list over the next few hours reassessing the situation once the time is up.

    In my other article, I talk about an effective way to prioritze and achieve more in less time: How to Prioritize Right in 10 Minutes and Work 10X Faster

    5. The One with Shiny Object Syndrome (Distraction-Prone)

    This is another common cause for procrastination; just simple distraction.

    Our brains aren’t wired to focus for long periods of time and it looks for something else. So throw in a bunch of colleagues equally looking for distractions or checking your phone mindlessly, and you’ve got a recipe for ultimate procrastination.

    However, this type of procrastination may not always be an unconscious decision to sabotage and put off work. It’s simply a result of your work setup or types of coworkers you have. Only you know the answer to that.

    How to Tackle It?

    Be mindful of your workspace and potential distractions. Schedule a specific time to converse with your coworkers, put headphones on to minimize listening to what’s going on around you, and switch your phone off.

    Aim to do this for 20-30 minutes at a time and then take a break. This will be a much more efficient way of working and getting what you need done. This is also why scheduling down time is so important for productivity.

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    Whether this type of procrastination is self-sabotage or being a victim of a distracting environment, either way you can take control.

    If you need a little more guidance on how to stay focus, this guide can help you: How to Focus and Maximize Your Productivity (the Definitive Guide)

    Bottom Line

    I’m going to be bold and assume you identified with at least one of these procrastination pitfalls.

    You could be trapped in the endless cycle of procrastination like I was, that is, until I decided to find out my why behind putting off tasks and projects. It was only then that I could implement strategies and move forward in a positive and productive way.

    I killed the procrastination monster and so can you. I now complete my tasks more efficiently and completely killed that feeling of stress and falling behind with work that procrastination brings.

    I know it’s not easy to stop procrastinating right away, so I also have this complete guide to help you stop it once and for all: Procrastination – A Step-By-Step Guide to Stop Procrastinating

    Featured photo credit: Luke Chesser via unsplash.com

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