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5 Life “Shortcuts” That Never Work

5 Life “Shortcuts” That Never Work

You’re probably reading this blog because you want to improve your life. You’re trying to find tips that would help you live healthier, do things faster and be more productive. I’d also venture a guess that you’re reading Lifehack because you’re looking for hacks or shortcuts that would make your life easier. If so, then kudos to you! Trying to find tips, tricks, or shortcuts to help you get where you want to be is great and shows that you care about self-improvement.

I would, however, like to offer a caveat about shortcuts: Not all of them are created equal. For instance, downloading an app that would help you do your job faster? That’s awesome. But backstabbing someone as a “shortcut” to get to the top? Not so much.

It’s important to remember that some things are meant to be fully experienced. Some people are worth waiting for and there are accomplishments that must be earned through hard work and perseverance.

Below are some examples of life shortcuts that aren’t good for you and will most likely take you nowhere:

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Shortcuts In Love

Being a homewrecker

Some people get impatient with their own love life and so they try to take another person’s significant other. They tell themselves that they deserve their own shot at love and give excuses like, “We’re so much better together than they ever were,” or, “He’s going to leave her for me.”

If you’re thinking of going down this path (or if you already are) then do yourself and the other party a favor and just walk away. You deserve better than someone who is willing to let himself or herself be shared or torn between two people.

Real, honest-to-goodness relationships are built on true love and trust. If you have to share someone with another person, then you have neither of these things. And if you’re using the, “They’ll leave their significant other for me,” reason, then why not wait for them to prove it to you? Chances are if they haven’t done so after all this time, they probably never will.

The “long cut” to finding love

This is tricky, because there are tons of ways to find love. It really is all around us, so be open and work to become the best person you can be while you’re at it. It also helps to be kind and to be happy for those who have found love instead of sulking because you’re single.

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Some people seek shortcuts to love because they get impatient. But the truth is, while the route to meeting that special someone can be long and winding, the destination is most definitely worth it. (And that “someone” doesn’t always have to be another person.)

Shortcuts In Money

Buying into get rich schemes

Those ads that promise that you’ll earn six figures working from home doing nothing? What about those emails telling you that a prince from some far away country is giving away his wealth and all you have to do is reply to the message with you bank info?

Five words: Too. Good. To. Be. True. Stop clicking on them!

Counting on the lottery

Playing the lottery can be fun, and people occasionally do get lucky. However, if you’re sitting there wishing and hoping you’ll win, instead of working your butt off or finding ways to grow your money, then chances are you’re in for disappointment.

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The “long cut” to wealth

People find wealth by being innovative. They hit it big by figuring out how to make a lot of money doing what they love. They start a business. They freelance. They get rich by fulfilling a great need and helping a lot of people. Others are just really good at knowing where, how, and when to invest (and no, I’m not just talking about stocks or real estate here). Most have done it by trying and failing at numerous ventures but not giving up and then finally getting it right.

There are plenty of ways to be financially wealthy. Like the route to love, finding your way to wealth can be quite the journey and it’s different for each of us. But one thing’s for sure: the chances of your route involving lotto tickets are very, very slim.

Shortcuts In Happiness

Putting other people down just so you can feel good about yourself

Some people feel threatened or insecure when they see others having the time of their lives. So they resort to stuff like gossip, insults, backstabbing and whatnot just so they can take the other person down and feel a wee bit superior. Doing this, of course, never works and while you may feel “good” at first, it never lasts and you usually end up feeling worse than before.

Buying a fancy purse/car/house even if you can’t afford it … again, just so you can feel good about yourself.

It can be tempting to use material things as your ticket to happiness, but like putting other people down, that positive emotion that you feel (or think you feel) after you buy lavish things just to show off is only temporary.

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Don’t get me wrong, money can buy you things that could bring you joy. But that will only work if you’re already content with who you are and if you’re buying those things for you, and not for other people’s sake.

The “long cut” to happiness

Sometimes, the longest journey is going inside yourself. If you find pleasure in other people’s sadness or if you think that you can be happy with a fancy new trinket, you may want to do some self-exploration and learn how to feel secure and content with your life.

The road to joy also involves letting go of the things that don’t make you happy. You know all the jealousy and resentment that you have pent up inside? Those things are weighing you down and they’re taking up way too much space in your life. Let them go and make room for all the joy to come in.

And remember what I said about being kind, being happy for others, and becoming the best person you can be? Those apply to finding happiness, too.

Can you name other life “shortcuts” that never work? Share them in the comments below.

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Last Updated on October 20, 2020

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

You have a deadline looming. However, instead of doing your work, you are fiddling with miscellaneous things like checking email, social media, watching videos, surfing blogs and forums. You know you should be working, but you just don’t feel like doing anything.

We are all familiar with the procrastination phenomenon. When we procrastinate, we squander away our free time and put off important tasks we should be doing them till it’s too late. And when it is indeed too late, we panic and wish we got started earlier.

The chronic procrastinators I know have spent years of their life looped in this cycle. Delaying, putting off things, slacking, hiding from work, facing work only when it’s unavoidable, then repeating this loop all over again. It’s a bad habit that eats us away and prevents us from achieving greater results in life.

Don’t let procrastination take over your life. Here, I will share my personal steps on how to stop procrastinating. These 11 steps will definitely apply to you too:

1. Break Your Work into Little Steps

Part of the reason why we procrastinate is because subconsciously, we find the work too overwhelming for us. Break it down into little parts, then focus on one part at the time. If you still procrastinate on the task after breaking it down, then break it down even further. Soon, your task will be so simple that you will be thinking “gee, this is so simple that I might as well just do it now!”.

For example, I’m currently writing a new book (on How to achieve anything in life). Book writing at its full scale is an enormous project and can be overwhelming. However, when I break it down into phases such as –

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  • (1) Research
  • (2) Deciding the topic
  • (3) Creating the outline
  • (4) Drafting the content
  • (5) Writing Chapters #1 to #10,
  • (6) Revision
  • (7) etc.

Suddenly it seems very manageable. What I do then is to focus on the immediate phase and get it done to my best ability, without thinking about the other phases. When it’s done, I move on to the next.

2. Change Your Environment

Different environments have different impact on our productivity. Look at your work desk and your room. Do they make you want to work or do they make you want to snuggle and sleep? If it’s the latter, you should look into changing your workspace.

One thing to note is that an environment that makes us feel inspired before may lose its effect after a period of time. If that’s the case, then it’s time to change things around. Refer to Steps #2 and #3 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity, which talks about revamping your environment and workspace.

3. Create a Detailed Timeline with Specific Deadlines

Having just 1 deadline for your work is like an invitation to procrastinate. That’s because we get the impression that we have time and keep pushing everything back, until it’s too late.

Break down your project (see tip #1), then create an overall timeline with specific deadlines for each small task. This way, you know you have to finish each task by a certain date. Your timelines must be robust, too – i.e. if you don’t finish this by today, it’s going to jeopardize everything else you have planned after that. This way it creates the urgency to act.

My goals are broken down into monthly, weekly, right down to the daily task lists, and the list is a call to action that I must accomplish this by the specified date, else my goals will be put off.

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Here’re more tips on setting deadlines: 22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

4. Eliminate Your Procrastination Pit-Stops

If you are procrastinating a little too much, maybe that’s because you make it easy to procrastinate.

Identify your browser bookmarks that take up a lot of your time and shift them into a separate folder that is less accessible. Disable the automatic notification option in your email client. Get rid of the distractions around you.

I know some people will out of the way and delete or deactivate their facebook accounts. I think it’s a little drastic and extreme as addressing procrastination is more about being conscious of our actions than counteracting via self-binding methods, but if you feel that’s what’s needed, go for it.

5. Hang out with People Who Inspire You to Take Action

I’m pretty sure if you spend just 10 minutes talking to Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, you’ll be more inspired to act than if you spent the 10 minutes doing nothing. The people we are with influence our behaviors. Of course spending time with Steve Jobs or Bill Gates every day is probably not a feasible method, but the principle applies — The Hidden Power of Every Single Person Around You

Identify the people, friends or colleagues who trigger you – most likely the go-getters and hard workers – and hang out with them more often. Soon you will inculcate their drive and spirit too.

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As a personal development blogger, I “hang out” with inspiring personal development experts by reading their blogs and corresponding with them regularly via email and social media. It’s communication via new media and it works all the same.

6. Get a Buddy

Having a companion makes the whole process much more fun. Ideally, your buddy should be someone who has his/her own set of goals. Both of you will hold each other accountable to your goals and plans. While it’s not necessary for both of you to have the same goals, it’ll be even better if that’s the case, so you can learn from each other.

I have a good friend whom I talk to regularly, and we always ask each other about our goals and progress in achieving those goals. Needless to say, it spurs us to keep taking action.

7. Tell Others About Your Goals

This serves the same function as #6, on a larger scale. Tell all your friends, colleagues, acquaintances and family about your projects. Now whenever you see them, they are bound to ask you about your status on those projects.

For example, sometimes I announce my projects on The Personal Excellence Blog, Twitter and Facebook, and my readers will ask me about them on an ongoing basis. It’s a great way to keep myself accountable to my plans.

8. Seek out Someone Who Has Already Achieved the Outcome

What is it you want to accomplish here, and who are the people who have accomplished this already? Go seek them out and connect with them. Seeing living proof that your goals are very well achievable if you take action is one of the best triggers for action.

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9. Re-Clarify Your Goals

If you have been procrastinating for an extended period of time, it might reflect a misalignment between what you want and what you are currently doing. Often times, we outgrow our goals as we discover more about ourselves, but we don’t change our goals to reflect that.

Get away from your work (a short vacation will be good, else just a weekend break or staycation will do too) and take some time to regroup yourself. What exactly do you want to achieve? What should you do to get there? What are the steps to take? Does your current work align with that? If not, what can you do about it?

10. Stop Over-Complicating Things

Are you waiting for a perfect time to do this? That maybe now is not the best time because of X, Y, Z reasons? Ditch that thought because there’s never a perfect time. If you keep waiting for one, you are never going to accomplish anything.

Perfectionism is one of the biggest reasons for procrastination. Read more about why perfectionist tendencies can be a bane than a boon: Why Being A Perfectionist May Not Be So Perfect.

11. Get a Grip and Just Do It

At the end, it boils down to taking action. You can do all the strategizing, planning and hypothesizing, but if you don’t take action, nothing’s going to happen. Occasionally, I get readers and clients who keep complaining about their situations but they still refuse to take action at the end of the day.

Reality check:

I have never heard anyone procrastinate their way to success before and I doubt it’s going to change in the near future. Whatever it is you are procrastinating on, if you want to get it done, you need to get a grip on yourself and do it.

Bonus: Think Like a Rhino

More Tips for Procrastinators to Start Taking Action

Featured photo credit: Malvestida Magazine via unsplash.com

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