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Human Speed Humps

Human Speed Humps

    The External Saboteur

    Something’s bugging me today. In fact this something has bugged me for a while but the last few weeks it has become increasingly obvious to me that virtually all of us face similar challenges in one area of the creating-our-best-life process; support, encouragement and understanding from others. Or the lack thereof. You’ve heard me speak many times about the internal saboteur and our propensity to get in our own way (we all do that), well today I want to talk about the external saboteur; people who (for a range of reasons) aren’t really happy to see you succeed, achieve your goals, realise your potential or live your dreams. I could spend an hour or two telling you why they do this (jealousy, resentment, immaturity, revenge, insecurity, thoughtlessness, selfishness, stupidity), but I’d like to focus on a solution for you, rather than explore their motives and mindset.

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    How Dare You Succeed

    You and I both know these people. Sometimes we live with these people. Work with these people. Socialize with these people. Care for these people. Even marry these people (shock, horror). Sometimes he/she is the last person anyone would suspect of standing between you and your dreams. Your ambition and drive bothers them because somehow they have created an association (in their mind) between your success and some kind of negative outcome or effect in their world. They say they care about you (and maybe on a level they do) but in truth, your happiness and success come a distant second to their needs and wants.

    Human Speed Humps

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    You might be amazed at the number of people who become quite emotional (bawl their eyes out) when I talk with them simply because I show them more support, encouragement and belief in one hour than their family or close friends (I use that term loosely) have shown them in a lifetime. These external saboteurs are human speed humps determined to slow you down, if not, bring you to a grinding halt. They are not the reason we fail but if we don’t deal with them in a practical, realistic and possibly blunt manner, then we are letting them steer our ship, shape our reality and limit our potential.

    Some thoughts…

      1. Get them out of your life. Obviously this is not always possible, desirable, necessary or practical, however there comes a time, in some situations, with some relationships and some people, where the best option is to remove them from your day to day life. I know you know what I mean by this because we’ve all had that person in our life. I have walked away from several relationships over the years because I believed that’s what would be best for me in the long term. And it was. If people aren’t happy for you to succeed, then they ain’t your friend and you don’t need or want them in your world. If you want to know what (some) people really think, ignore ninety percent of what they say and watch one hundred percent of what they do.

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      2. Spend limited time with them. Obviously there are certain people who will (probably) always be in our life (family for example) but sadly, they are also often the people who potentially stand between where we are now, and where we want to be (if we let them have that power). Some parents (not mine) have never told their children how talented, creative, clever, capable, valued or loved they are. They have never encouraged or supported them because they want to retain power and control in that very lop-sided, unhealthy relationship. I know forty year-olds who are still seeking parental approval and still handing over their power to dear old mum (mom) and dad. Tragic.

      3. Tell them what you feel. Sometimes a simple and honest discussion will change a situation or a relationship almost instantly. Give the person clear, specific, relevant and meaningful feedback. Don’t be vague, general or fluffy. Tell them exactly what you’re feeling and why. A little short-term pain for some long-term gain

        . If you don’t take charge of your life, someone else will.

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        4. Get some balls. Not literally of course. Sometimes we simply need to stand up for ourselves and stop being the victim, the doormat, the scapegoat, the people pleaser and the personal slave. Make some decisions about your personal rules, values and standards and then build your best life around those. Stop compromising and start living.

        5. Be (very) selective about who you share your dreams with. For all of my adult life I have been a highly motivated, driven and ambitious person. By choice. Not particularly gifted but always striving to get the most out of my body, my career, my relationships and my potential; to maximize what I have. Several experiences early on taught me not to be overly enthusiastic about sharing my life goals and dreams with too many people. I learned to be selective and discerning about who I share my dreams with. When I established my first commercial business as a twenty four year-old with zero business experience and minimal skills, I encountered far more resentment, resistance and criticism than I ever did support or encouragement. The people who were genuinely and unconditionally happy for me to succeed were few and far between. By the way, this is not a woe-is-me story, but rather an honest account of my experience and I am not alone with a story like this. I have a few select people in my world, who will encourage and support me when it’s warranted and kick me in the ass when necessary. And I need both. I trust them, appreciate them and value their input in my life.

        So instead of slowing down for the speed humps or going around them today, perhaps it’s time for you to change down a gear, hit the gas and drive straight over them.

        Works for me.

        More by this author

        Craig Harper

        Leading presenter, writer and educator in the areas of high-performance, self-management, personal transformation and more

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        Last Updated on November 19, 2019

        20 Time Management Tips to Super Boost Your Productivity

        20 Time Management Tips to Super Boost Your Productivity

        Are you usually punctual or late? Do you finish things within the time you stipulate? Do you hand in your reports/work on time? Are you able to accomplish what you want to do before deadlines? Are you a good time manager?

        If your answer is “no” to any of the questions above, that means you’re not managing your time as well as you want. Here are 20 time management tips to help you manage time better:

        1. Create a Daily Plan

        Plan your day before it unfolds. Do it in the morning or even better, the night before you sleep. The plan gives you a good overview of how the day will pan out. That way, you don’t get caught off guard. Your job for the day is to stick to the plan as best as possible.

        2. Peg a Time Limit to Each Task

        Be clear that you need to finish X task by 10am, Y task by 3pm, and Z item by 5:30pm. This prevents your work from dragging on and eating into time reserved for other activities.

        3. Use a Calendar

        Having a calendar is the most fundamental step to managing your daily activities. If you use outlook or lotus notes, calendar come as part of your mailing software.

        I use it. It’s even better if you can sync your calendar to your mobile phone and other hardwares you use – that way, you can access your schedule no matter where you are. Here’re the 10 Best Calendar Apps to Stay on Track .

        Find out more tips about how to use calendar for better time management here: How to Use a Calendar to Create Time and Space

        4. Use an Organizer

        An organizer helps you to be on top of everything in your life. It’s your central tool to organize information, to-do lists, projects, and other miscellaneous items.

        These Top 15 Time Management Apps and Tools can help you organize better, pick one that fits your needs.

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        5. Know Your Deadlines

        When do you need to finish your tasks? Mark the deadlines out clearly in your calendar and organizer so you know when you need to finish them.

        But make sure you don’t make these 10 Common Mistakes When Setting Deadlines.

        6. Learn to Say “No”

        Don’t take on more than you can handle. For the distractions that come in when you’re doing other things, give a firm no. Or defer it to a later period.

        Leo Babauta, the founder of Zen Habits has some great insights on how to say no: The Gentle Art of Saying No

        7. Target to Be Early

        When you target to be on time, you’ll either be on time or late. Most of the times you’ll be late. However, if you target to be early, you’ll most likely be on time.

        For appointments, strive to be early. For your deadlines, submit them earlier than required.

        Learn from these tips about how to prepare yourself to be early, instead of just in time.

        8. Time Box Your Activities

        This means restricting your work to X amount of time. Why time boxing is good for you? Here’re 10 reasons why you should start time-boxing.

        You can also read more about how to do time boxing here: #5 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity.

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        9. Have a Clock Visibly Placed Before You

        Sometimes we are so engrossed in our work that we lose track of time. Having a huge clock in front of you will keep you aware of the time at the moment.

        10. Set Reminders 15 Minutes Before

        Most calendars have a reminder function. If you have an important meeting to attend, set that alarm 15 minutes before.

        You can learn more about how reminders help you remember everything in this article: The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder That Works)

        11. Focus

        Are you multi-tasking so much that you’re just not getting anything done? If so, focus on just one key task at one time. Multitasking is bad for you.

        Close off all the applications you aren’t using. Close off the tabs in your browser that are taking away your attention. Focus solely on what you’re doing. You’ll be more efficient that way.

        Lifehack’s CEO has written a definitive guide on how to focus, learn the tips: How to Focus and Maximize Your Productivity (the Definitive Guide)

        12. Block out Distractions

        What’s distracting you in your work? Instant messages? Phone ringing? Text messages popping in?

        I hardly ever use chat nowadays. The only times when I log on is when I’m not intending to do any work. Otherwise it gets very distracting.

        When I’m doing important work, I also switch off my phone. Calls during this time are recorded and I contact them afterward if it’s something important. This helps me concentrate better.

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        Find more tips on how to minimize distractions to achieve more in How to Minimize Distraction to Get Things Done

        13. Track Your Time Spent

        When you start to track your time, you’re more aware of how you spend your time. For example, you can set a simple countdown timer to make sure that you finish a task within a period of time, say 30 minutes or 1 hour. The time pressure can push you to stay focused and work more efficiently.

        You can find more time tracking apps here and pick one that works for you.

        14. Don’t Fuss About Unimportant Details

        You’re never get everything done in exactly the way you want. Trying to do so is being ineffective.

        Trying to be perfect does you more harm than good, learn here about how perfectionism kills your productivity and how to ditch the perfectionism mindset.

        15. Prioritize

        Since you can’t do everything, learn to prioritize the important and let go of the rest.

        Apply the 80/20 principle which is a key principle in prioritization. You can also take up this technique to prioritize everything on your plate: How to Prioritize Right in 10 Minutes and Work 10X Faster

        16. Delegate

        If there are things that can be better done by others or things that are not so important, consider delegating. This takes a load off and you can focus on the important tasks.

        When you delegate some of your work, you free up your time and achieve more. Learn about how to effectively delegate works in this guide: How to Delegate Work (the Definitive Guide for Successful Leaders)

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        17. Batch Similar Tasks Together

        For related work, batch them together.

        For example, my work can be categorized into these core groups:

        1. writing (articles, my upcoming book)
        2. coaching
        3. workshop development
        4. business development
        5. administrative

        I batch all the related tasks together so there’s synergy. If I need to make calls, I allocate a time slot to make all my calls. It really streamlines the process.

        18. Eliminate Your Time Wasters

        What takes your time away your work? Facebook? Twitter? Email checking? Stop checking them so often.

        One thing you can do is make it hard to check them – remove them from your browser quick links / bookmarks and stuff them in a hard to access bookmarks folder. Replace your browser bookmarks with important work-related sites.

        While you’ll still checking FB/Twitter no doubt, you’ll find it’s a lower frequency than before.

        19. Cut off When You Need To

        The number one reason why things overrun is because you don’t cut off when you have to.

        Don’t be afraid to intercept in meetings or draw a line to cut-off. Otherwise, there’s never going to be an end and you’ll just eat into the time for later.

        20. Leave Buffer Time In-Between

        Don’t pack everything closely together. Leave a 5-10 minute buffer time in between each tasks. This helps you wrap up the previous task and start off on the next one.

        More Time Management Techniques

        Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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