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How to Win the War Against Peace of Mind

How to Win the War Against Peace of Mind
    Photo credit: erasmusa (CC BY-NC 2.0)

    In some parts of the world, today is a day set aside to remember those who have fought for the freedom that their citizens enjoy. It is a day where these nations reflect on those who have died for a cause and those who fight for it even to this day so that peace can prevail over war.

    But there will be so much “noise” coming at us today – a day where we seek quiet so that we can properly remember what this day represents. Our minds will have a difficult time finding peace because of the firehose of information that enters our home and office each and every day. It may seem harsh, but it is as if we are battling our own ongoing war against the things that threaten our peace of mind – a peace that we so desperately need in order to truly enjoy our lives.

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    While it’s important for us to stay informed, it is also important for us to let our minds rest – even wander – from time to time. I suggest that even those who are figthing the literal wars in our world today (and those of the past) would want those at home to be mindful not just of what is going on outside of their own self, but also to be mindful of themselves internally. Inner peace is just as important as outer peace.

    If you’re constantly fighting a losing battle in the war against your peace of mind, here are some strategies you can use to start fighting back – and winning.

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    Disconnect to Connect

    Turn things off. The television, the Internet, the phone. Remove them from the equation – if only for a little while. Do that every day for a set amount of time. Perhaps you only feel comfortable doing it for 30 minutes a day. Go with that. After you start to adjust, bump it up to a full hour. Then keep raising the stakes until you feel that you’re not losing your mind in a sea of external factors and are able to balance what you’re taking in with what you’re simply letting go.

    You need to free your mind in order to give the space it needs to remember things better. The more clutter you have in your mind, the harder it is for you to find what is worthwhile in there. Disconnecting instantly removes the intake of a lot of psychic clutter, and can serve to actually create a better filtering system when you do reconnect. As a result, you’ll be able to better connect with what really matters and let go of what really doesn’t.

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    Capture the Moments

    Capturing things is one of the keys to creating a more productive “you”, but that’s not what I’m talking about here. I’m talking about capturing moments. That may mean drawing a picture, taking a photo or journaling. What you’re doing is not systematizing the capture process, but you’re fleshing out moments in time on the canvas of your choice. This kind of capturing is more likely to create a peaceful feeling than writing down to-do lists or breaking down a new project.

    When was the last time you sat down somewhere and just transposed the moment in time you were in using a method that felt right to you? Maybe you need to bring a digital recorder into the bathroom and sing in the shower – that could be a release for you. Then you’ll be able to listen to that recording later and just know that it was a moment that you captured where you let yourself go. Having an agenda with no care of what the outcome needs to be can be one of the most freeing things you can experience.

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    Visualizaion and Spiritualization

    See where you want to be. Look forward without looking at all. Let your mind go to where you let it go when your dreams were brand new. That’s visualization. See the change that you want to be in the world so that you can be the change that you want to see in the world.

    Spiritualization doesn’t have to be a religious experience. It can simply be a walk along a beach while you take in the wonders around you. It can be true meditation. It can be yoga or Tai Chi. It can be going to church. Accessing your spiritual self gets easier the more often you do so – as long as it is something that is accessible to you. Don’t go down another’s path; find your own. Don’t be afraid to do that. Those who have fought for freedom certainly weren’t. Honour them by facing the fear and doing it anyway.

    Give Peace a Chance

    The noise is getting louder every day. Quiet and solitude is getting that much harder to find. There’s nothing wrong with either, but there is something wrong with too much of either. Peace of mind and balance are both difficult to achieve and even tougher to maintain.

    Using the above strategies may not see you win every battle, but by using them consistently you give yourself a fighting chance to win the war.

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    Mike Vardy

    A productivity specialist who shows you how to define your day, funnel your focus, and make every moment matter.

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    Last Updated on March 31, 2020

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

    Why Do I Procrastinate? 5 Root Causes & 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: What Is Procrastination and How to Stop It (The Complete Guide)

    Featured photo credit: Luke Chesser via unsplash.com

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