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The “What’s Up Doc?” Way of Getting Productive

The “What’s Up Doc?” Way of Getting Productive

    Have you seen me around?

    I’ve been all over the blogosphere lately – name your authority blog, and I’ve probably been on it; Copyblogger, Problogger, Think Traffic, Freelance Switch, DIY Themes, KISSmetrics, and about a dozen others, all in the last few weeks.

    (Some people have taken to calling me the “Freddy Krueger of Blogging” because wherever you turn, I’m there!) ;) And that’s on top of a major product launch on my own blog, my regular consulting work… and oh, yeah, planning my wedding, which is in just a few weeks.

    So yes, I’ve been busy. People are asking me how I find the time to get it all done – have I given up sleep? Do I have clones out there doing work on my behalf?

    Of course, the answer is no – but I do have a productivity secret that I learned from a cartoon character…

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    When it’s Okay to Run Off a Cliff

    The cartoon in question, of course, is Bugs Bunny. But what does he have to do with running off a cliff? (And what does that have to do with productivity?)

    The answer is that when you’re a cartoon, running off a cliff is perfectly okay – it only becomes dangerous when you look down.

    This bit of cartoon comedy comes packed with an extra-large helping of wisdom and life lessons, if you know where to look. And yes – those life lessons are all about productivity and achievement.

    What You Get is What You See

    Most of us work under the assumption that what we get is what we see. In other words, stuff is out there, and that stuff dictates our reality:

    STUFF IS OUT THERE -> THAT’S OUR REALITY

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    But the cartoon world works a little bit differently; yes, lots of stuff is out there, but only the stuff that the cartoon is aware of is part of its reality:

    STUFF IS OUT THERE -> YOU FOCUS ON SOME OF IT -> THAT’S THE REALITY

    As long as the cartoon is focusing on where they’re going, and isn’t worrying about all the obstructing details along the way, they can keep moving towards their goal.

    The funny thing is that the cartoons have got it right; the life lesson is in the fact that things work the same way for us that they do for them – our reality is determined by the things that we focus on, and allow in to our sphere of attention.

    The cartoons can all run off cliffs, because they focus on where they’re going, instead of the huge drop below them. But the cartoons all make the same mistake: they look down.

    You Don’t Have To Look Down!

    We all have that lingering temptation to look down.

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    You know what I’m talking about – the little voices urging us to think about all the things that could go wrong, why you won’t be able to achieve your goals, and why you aren’t ready for this challenge.

    Sooner or later, most people listen to those voices, and start doubting whether they can really achieve what they’re trying to achieve.

    And then we start slowing down, and losing momentum.

    Before you know it, we’re standing still in mid-air, looking down at the drop below.

    And then we fall. And boy, do we ever fall!

    But it doesn’t have to be this way. The whole process can be avoided by not looking down!

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    Don’t Bury Your Head In the Sand, Either!

    Don’t get me wrong – I’m not suggesting that you bury your head in the sand like an ostrich, and just ignore everything that comes your way.

    When the voices start whispering that you’re biting off more than you can chew, and this or that obstacle will stop you dead in its tracks, you really should give them a little bit of attention – hear them out, and ask yourself whether this new obstacle require an adjustment to your plans?

    If the answer is yes, then adjust as needed.

    If the answer is no, then keep on going.

    But either way, once you’ve heard them out and adjusted your plans if needed, tell them to shut up, and get back to work!

    It may sound simple, but that’s the whole secret behind my guest posting, marketing training program, wedding planning, upcoming books, and everything else I’m doing.

    I don’t listen to the voices, and I don’t look down – and the results speak for themselves!

    Hat tip to Jk Allen and Stuart Mills, who inspired this post!

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    Last Updated on January 21, 2020

    5 Steps To Move Out Of Stagnancy In Life

    5 Steps To Move Out Of Stagnancy In Life

    In the journey of growth, there are times when we grow and excel. We are endlessly driven and hyped up, motivated to get our goals.

    Then there are times when we stagnate. We feel uninspired and unmotivated. We keep procrastinating on our plans. More often than not, we get out of a rut only to get back into another one.

    How do you know if you are stagnating? Here are some tell-tale signs:

    • If you have been experiencing chronic procrastination on your goals
    • If you don’t ever feel like doing anything
    • If you keep turning to sleep, eating, games, mindless activities and entertainment for comfort
    • If you know you should be doing something, but yet you keep avoiding it
    • If you have not achieved anything new or significant now relative to 1 month, 2 months or 3 months ago
    • If you have a deep sense of feeling that you are living under your potential

    When we face stagnation in life, it’s a sign of deeper issues. Stagnancy in life, just like procrastination, is a symptom of a problem. It’s easy to beat ourselves over it, but this approach is not going to help.

    Here, I will share 5 steps to help you move out of this stagnation. They won’t magically transform your life in 1 night (such changes are never permanent because the foundations are not built), but they will help you get the momentum going and help you get back on track.

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    1. Realize You’re Not Alone

    Everyone stagnates at some point or another. You are not alone in this and more importantly, it’s normal. In fact, it’s amazing how many of my clients actually face the same predicament, even though all of them come from different walks of life, are of different ages, and have never crossed paths.

    Realizing you are not alone in this will make it much easier to deal with this period. By trying to “fight it”, you’re only fighting yourself. Accept this situation, acknowledge it, and tell yourself it’s okay. That way, you can then focus on the constructive steps that will really help you.

    2. Find What Inspires You

    Stagnation comes because there isn’t anything that excites you enough to take action. If you don’t have a habit of setting goals, and instead just leave yourself to daily mundanes, it’s not surprising you are experiencing stagnation.

    What do you want to do if there are no limitations? If you can have whatever you want, what will it be? The answers to these questions will provide the fuel that will drive you forward.

    On the other hand, even if you are an experienced goal setter, there are times when the goals you set in the past lose their appeal now. It’s normal and it happens to me too. Sometimes we lose touch with our goals, since we are in a different emotional state compared to when we first set them. Sometimes our priorities change and we no longer want to work on those goals anymore. However, we don’t consciously realize this, and what happens is we procrastinate on our goals until it compounds into a serious problem.

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    If that’s the case for you, it’s time to relook into your goals. There’s no point in pursuing goals that no longer inspire you. Trash away your old goals (or just put them aside) and ask yourself what you really want now. Then go for them.

    3. Give Yourself a Break

    When’s the last time you took a real break for yourself? 3 months? 6 months? 1 year? Never? Perhaps it’s time to take a time-out. Prolonged working can cause someone to become disillusioned as they lose sight of who they are and what they want.

    Go take some extended leave from work. A few days at bare minimum; a few weeks or months will be great. Some of my ex-colleagues have quit their jobs and took months out to do some self-reflection. Of course, some of us might not have that luxury, so we can stick to a few weeks of leave.

    Go on a trip elsewhere and get away from your work and your life. Use this chance to get a renewed perspective of life. Think about your life purpose, what you want and what you want to create for your life in the future.

    These are big questions that require deep thinking over them. It’s not about finding the answers at one go, but about taking the first step to finding the answers.

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    4. Shake up Your Routines

    Being in the same environment, doing the same things over and over again and meeting the same people can make us stagnant. This is especially if the people you spend the most time with are stagnant themselves.

    Change things around. Start with simple things, like taking a different route to work and eating something different for breakfast. Have your lunch with different colleagues, colleagues you never talked much with. Work in a different cubicle if your work has free and easy seating. Do something different than your usual for weekday evenings and weekends. Cultivate different habits, like exercising every day, listening to a new series of podcasts every morning to work, reading a book, etc (here’re 6 Proven Ways To Make New Habits Stick). The different contexts will give you different stimulus, which will trigger off different thoughts and actions in you.

    When I’m in a state of stagnancy, I’ll get a sense of what’s making me stagnate. Sometimes it’s the environment I’m in, sometimes it’s the people I’ve been hanging out with, sometimes it’s my lifestyle. Most of the times it’s a combination of all these. Changing them up helps to stir myself out of the stagnant mode.

    5. Start with a Small Step

    Stagnation also comes from being frozen in fear. Maybe you do want this certain goal, but you aren’t taking action. Are you overwhelmed by the amount of work needed? Are you afraid you will make mistakes? Is the perfectionist in you taking over and paralyzing you?

    Let go of the belief that it has to be perfect. Such a belief is a bane, not a boon. It’s precisely from being open to mistakes and errors that you move forward.

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    Break down what’s before you into very very small steps, then take those small steps, a little step at a time. I had a client who had been stagnating for a long period because he was afraid of failing. He didn’t want to make another move where he would make a mistake. However, not wanting to make a mistake has led him to do absolutely nothing for 2-3 years.

    On the other hand, by doing just something, you would already be making progress, whether it’s a mistake or not. Even if you make a supposed “mistake”,  you get feedback to do things differently in the next step. That’s something you would never have known if you never made a move.

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    Featured photo credit: Anubhav Saxena via unsplash.com

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