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A Follow-Up To “Change The Way You See Work and Change Your Life”

A Follow-Up To “Change The Way You See Work and Change Your Life”

A Follow-up to "Change the Way You See Work"

    I’ve received so many e-mails and comments about my “Change The Way You See Work and Change Your Life” article that I decided to write a follow-up article to talk more about the specifics of what some call “non-traditional work” but what I call “business in blue jeans”: why do it, how can you do it, and how can it transform your life? You’ll find a few more nuts and bolts here.

    Why Do It?

    I believe in a life that’s filled with four things: love, joy, passion, and freedom. If your life doesn’t have all four of these things in it, I think something needs to change!

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    First and foremost, I believe you should love what you do. Confucious said, “Choose a job you love and you’ll never have to work a day in your life.” Thomas Edison said, “I never did a day’s work in my life, it was all fun.” Steve Jobs said, “You’ve got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do.” So first, love what you do, be passionate about sharing it with others, and success will come.

    Second, I believe that work doesn’t have to consume the majority of your day. If you’re working in the corporate world, you’re spending at least eight hours a day at work, but often more. Figure you’re sleeping seven or eight hours at night, then spending an hour each on things like commuting, household chores, getting ready to leave the house in the morning, exercising, and by the end of the day, you’re lucky if you’ve got three or four hours left for eating meals, enjoying your family, relaxing — and how much of that time do you spend watching TV? I just don’t think this is how life has to be.

    Third, I believe that work is what makes the rest of life possible. I love what I do — I’m deeply passionate about helping people design their lives and create a business that makes that life possible. But I’m also deeply passionate about experiencing all that life has to offer. I spend time reading so I can learn about new things. I try new hobbies all the time. I bake bread, I garden, I travel the world. And I do this because my work makes those things possible… because I’ve designed it that way. I determined what I wanted my life to look like and then I designed a business that would support that life. And you can, too.

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    So let’s get down to some nuts and bolts stuff.

    How Can You Do It?

    I’m going to put this on the table right now: the lifestyle I describe isn’t for everyone. Working in this fashion requires a certain skill set and a specific mindset. Virtually anyone can learn the skills needed. We’re talking things like self-discipline and a strong work ethic (yes, really!). But not everyone can manage the mindset. Some people feel very guilty when everyone they know is working and they’re not. Some people have been raised to believe in a very specific type of work and anything outside that is “wrong.” And some people are still operating in a mindset that’s focused on a lack of self-worth. These are hard to change. But if you can be open-minded and allow yourself to truly own your life and believe that you are worth it and you deserve it, this kind of lifestyle might be for you.

    I’ve received a lot of e-mail from people saying, “That’s great for YOU, but I can’t just go freelance and not work full-time.” Well, that’s probably true. But since I’m not talking about “going freelance,” it’s also probably not very relevant.

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    First of all, I’m not talking about NOT working. Sometimes I work a very full week. Sometimes I work more than I would ever work in a corporate setting. This is especially true when I’m working with a client to set up a new venture. You almost always work harder in the beginning when you’re building your brand and gaining visibility than you do once you’re more established. For example, I work far less now than I did when I first started. Some days I just work for a few hours and I can take vacations when I want, knowing my business will continue to run. But the point is, you love what you do, so when you are working a lot of hours, you actually enjoy it.

    Second, this isn’t taking what you do in a corporate setting and transplanting it to home. Do that and you’ll work just as hard as you did before. Instead, this type of business is centered around taking what you know and love, turning it into a system, and then finding ways to present that system to others.

    For example, say you’re a writer. You’re passionate about writing, you’re good at it, and you know how to get freelance writing gigs. In my system, you’d do freelance writing, sure, but you’d also figure out the steps you use to make a living as a writer, turn that into a system and share that system with others in a variety of ways (and of course you’d market to writers looking for gigs that didn’t necessarily compete with the kind of gigs you seek). This is just one example of where you could start. You’d also add a few other types of streams of income as well, all of which would also be similarly passive (what I call “passive(ish)”).

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    At first, building any business takes time as you get everything set up and start your marketing process. But over time, this type of “business in blue jeans” can grow into a serious, passive(ish) business, especially if you utilize outsourcing to its best postential. You get to do what you love, help others, and experience a great deal of freedom.

    How Can This Transform Your Life?

    From the start, if you’re doing work you love, your life will be transformed just by that alone. But beyond that, as you build this style of business, you also free up your time to experience the richness of life. How many times have you gone to work when it’s still dark out, worked inside all day, then left after dark, never once seeing the sunlight that day? How many times have you thought about things you’d like to do but don’t have the time for? How tired are you at the end of the day, after working under flourescent lights? How crushed is your spirit after working in a tiny cubicle?

    Now imagine how alive you’d feel if you could work in the sunlight, or if you could choose and design any workspace you wanted? How alive would you feel if you knew you could work from a cafe in Paris or a bar in Spain? What if you could just relax at home, in front of a cozy fire and work while the bread you made that morning baked in the oven, filling the house with its heavenly scent (that was my day yesterday)?

    Just imagine your dream life. Imagine every possibility- what you could do if you had more time, if you had more flexibility. Imagine what each day would look like if you could design it especially for you. You’d have more time to spend with your family. You’d have more energy to give to your work AND your family.

    The point I’m making, the point I’m almost always making, is that your life belongs to you. You really do get to choose if you want to work for someone else. You get to choose where you work and when. Most of us just don’t believe it because we can’t see “how.” But this is your life and you can choose. Whether or not you actually do, well, that’s up to you.

    More by this author

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    Last Updated on September 16, 2019

    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.

    More About Procrastination

    Featured photo credit: Malvestida Magazine via unsplash.com

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