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Reach Your Goals Faster By Prioritizing Your Activities

Reach Your Goals Faster By Prioritizing Your Activities
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    Work smarter not harder – Repeating the phrase innumerable times has not resulted in people being able to understand the meaning, importance and technique of doing so. Somehow we fall into this trap of slogging away and in that process we do not realize that working hard does not always mean that we are doing the right things.

    You may realize after continuing to do hard work for a month that you still miss deadlines, get caught with surprises that you have not planned for and forever find yourself creating excuses for being later. Sure, you are a fast worker and complete you tasks quickly and faster than anyone could imagine but still find yourself struggling to manage time in your life. The fact of the matter is that when you are so busy running and rushing through all the work in your life, you do not realize that you are probably running in circles.

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    Only by changing your working style to become more effective can help you realize your goals on schedule. This will ensure that every action of yours has a purpose. Unwanted interruptions will no longer distract you while you are focused. And you may suddenly find that your life seems to be under your control. You meet deadlines, complete things on time, are never later for meetings or anything for that matter and you are not caught surprised with unexpected events that disrupt your plans, eventually leading to a state where your life is planned, tension free and in control.

    Being able to be in control does not come by magic. It comes from planning and acting on it. In a day there are many tasks and chores that you need to complete. What you need to do is to segregate these activities into a priority list – ‘must dos’ and ‘should dos’. The essential ones or ‘must dos’ are those that if not attended immediately, would result in more time and energy to deal with later. Paying the insurance premium of your car, taking an appointment with the dentist for a long standing tooth problem, repair the leaking roof, show up on time for the departmental meeting would occupy this list. Attending the sports day of your child or taking your family out for a dinner should also come in this category as they are no less important to your success and sense of values.

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    ‘Should dos’ are those activities that can be postponed by a couple of days. However, that doesn’t mean they should be done on the third day itself! The key here is to devote 80% of your time in doing the ‘must dos’ activities and the 20% of your time in finishing the ‘should dos’ ones.

    If you are a natural planner then prioritizing your activities can be done mentally and does not need you to sit down with a physical list. But if you have had an issue with time management all your life, it is highly recommended to start with a pen and paper and jot down your activities for the day. When such a practice turns into a habit, you will soon realize that you do no longer need to jot them down and can prioritize your work on your way to office or while taking a bath.

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    Not all the activities in the ‘must dos’ list will contribute towards accomplishment of your goals, but ignoring them would eventually cause more stress and time later, thereby affecting your overall efficiency. For example, if you keep postponing taking an appointment with the dentist, it may manifest into a grave problem later, requiring more time and resources. Also if there are many such unfinished tasks, they may keep bothering you every now and then, preventing you from thinking clearly on your main goals.

    Vishal P. Rao share his insights and tips on holistic living at Relishing Life

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    Leon Ho

    Founder of Lifehack

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    Last Updated on January 2, 2020

    How to Break Out of Your Comfort Zone

    How to Break Out of Your Comfort Zone

    Over time, we all gather a set of constricting habits around us—ones that trap us in a zone of supposed comfort, well below what our potential would allow us to attain. Pretty soon, such habits slip below the level of our consciousness, but they still determine what we think that we can and cannot do—and what we cannot even bring ourselves to try. As long as you let these habits rule you, you’ll be stuck in a rut.

    Like the tiny, soft bodied creatures that build coral reefs, habits start off small and flexible, and end up by building massive barriers of rock all around your mind. Inside the reefs, the water feels quiet and friendly. Outside, you think it’s going to be rough and stormy. There may be sharks. But if you’re to develop in any direction from where you are today, you must go outside that reef of habits that marks the boundaries of your comfort zone. There’s no other way. There’s even nothing specially wrong with those habits as such. They probably worked for you in the past.

    But now, it’s time to step over them and go into the wider world of your unused potential. Your fears don’t know what’s going to be out there, so they invent monsters and scary beasts to keep you inside.

    Nobody’s born with an instruction manual for life. Despite all the helpful advice from parents, teachers and elders, each of us must make our own way in the world, doing the best we can and quite often getting things wrong.

    Messing up a few times isn’t that big a deal. But if you get scared and try to avoid all mistakes by sticking with just a few “tried and true” behaviors, you’ll miss out on most opportunities as well.

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    Lots of people who suffer from boredom at work are doing it to themselves. They’re bored and frustrated because that’s what their choices have caused them to be. They’re stuck in ruts they’ve dug for themselves while trying to avoid making mistakes and taking risks. People who never make mistakes never make anything else either.

    It’s time to pin down the habits that have become unconscious and are running your life for you, and get rid of them. Here’s how to do it:

    1. Understand the Truth about Your Habits

    They always represent past successes. You have formed habitual, automatic behaviors because you once dealt with something successfully, tried the same response next time, and found it worked again. That’s how habits grow and why they feel so useful.

    To get away from what’s causing your unhappiness and workplace blues, you must give up on many of your most fondly held (and formerly successful) habits. and try new ways of thinking and acting. There truly isn’t any alternative. Those habits are going to block you from finding new and creative ideas. No new ideas, no learning. No learning, no access to successful change.

    2. Do Something—Almost Anything—Differently and See What Happens

    Even the most successful habits eventually lose their usefulness as events change the world and fresh responses are called for. Yet we cling on to them long after their benefit has gone.

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    Past strategies are bound to fail sometime. Letting them become automatic habits that take the controls is a sure road to self-inflicted harm.

    3. Take Some Time out and Have a Detailed Look at Yourself—With No Holds Barred

    Discovering your unconscious habits can be tough. For a start, they’re unconscious, right? Then they fight back.

    Ask anyone who has ever given up smoking if habits are tough to break. You’ve got used to them—and they’re at least as addictive as nicotine or crack cocaine.

    4. Be Who You Are

    It’s easy to assume that you always have to fit in to get on in the world; that you must conform to be liked and respected by others or face exclusion. Because most people want to please, they try to become what they believe others expect, even if it means forcing themselves to be the kind of person they aren’t, deep down.

    You need to start by putting yourself first. You’re unique. We’re all unique, so saying this doesn’t suggest that you’re better than others or deserve more than they do.

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    You need to put yourself first because no one else has as much interest in your life as you do; and because if you don’t, no one else will. Putting others second means giving them their due respect, not ignoring them totally.

    Keeping up a self-image can be a burden. Hanging on to an inflated, unrealistic one is a curse. Give yourself a break.

    5. Slow Down and Let Go

    Most of us want to think of ourselves as good, kind, intelligent and caring people. Sometimes that’s true. Sometimes it isn’t.

    Reality is complex. We can’t function at all without constant input and support from other people.

    Everything we have, everything we’ve learned, came to us through someone else’s hands. At our best, we pass on this borrowed existence to others, enhanced by our contribution. At our worst, we waste and squander it.

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    So recognize that you’re a rich mixture of thoughts and feelings that come and go, some useful, some not. There’s no need to keep up a façade; no need to pretend; no need to fear of what you know to be true.

    When you face your own truth, you’ll find it’s an enormous relief. If you’re maybe not as wonderful as you’d like to be, you aren’t nearly as bad as you fear either.

    The truth really does set you free; free to work on being better and to forgive yourself for being human; free to express your gratitude to others and recognize what you owe them; free to acknowledge your feelings without letting them dominate your life. Above all, you’ll be free to understand the truth of living: that much of what happens to you is no more than chance. It can’t be avoided and is not your fault. There’s no point in beating yourself up about it.

    Final Thoughts

    What is holding you in situations and actions that no longer work for you often isn’t inertia or procrastination. It’s the power of habitual ways of seeing the world and thinking about events. Until you can let go of those old, worn-out habits, they’ll continue to hold you prisoner.

    To stay in your comfort zone through mere habit, or—worse still—to stay there because of irrational fears of what may lie outside, will condemn you to a life of frustration and regret.

    If you can accept the truth about the world and yourself, change whatever is holding you back, and get on with a fresh view on life, you’ll find that single action lets you open the door of your self-imposed prison and walk free. There’s a marvelous world out there. You’ll see, if you try it!

    More About Stepping Out of Comfort Zone

    Featured photo credit: teigan rodger via unsplash.com

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