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How to Stop Making Excuses and Get What You Want

How to Stop Making Excuses and Get What You Want

We can always find a reason not to pursue our dreams, not to take action, not to stick our neck out. Our reasons seem perfectly…well…reasonable. We have this incredible ability to justify why we can’t do something – especially to ourselves. We can convince ourselves of almost anything; we’re just being realistic, responsible, and smart. It’s probably for the best; we didn’t really want it anyway.

“Excuses are the nails used to build a house of failure.” – Don Wilder

Some of the Most Common “Nails” in Our Future of Failure

  1. “I don’t have enough time.”
  2. “It’s too late, I should have started earlier.”
  3. “It’s too hard”
  4. “I’m waiting for the right inspiration.”
  5. “I don’t have enough money.”
  6. “I’m too tired.”
  7. “I’ll start tomorrow, next week, next month, next year.”
  8. “I’m too young.”
  9. “I’m too old.”
  10. “It’s not meant to be or it would’ve happened by now.”
  11. “I don’t have enough talent.”
  12. “It’ll take too much time”
    • “I’m not smart enough for that.”
    • “I don’t have the experience I need.”
    • “I’m too busy.”
    • “I’ll have to neglect the people who need me.”
    • “I’m not sure it’s the right thing.”
    • What if I fail?
    • “I have too much on my plate.”
    • “It’s too risky.”
    • “I’m too scared.”
    • “I don’t have the right resources.”
    • “I’ve already invested too much time in what I’m doing now.”
    • “I don’t have the right connections.”
    • “Too many people have already tried and failed.”
    • “I don’t know how to do that.”
    • “Nobody will support me.”
    • “I’ll do it when the kids are older.”
    • “I don’t have the skills.”
    • “The economy is too bad right now.”
    • “I don’t know where to start.”
    • “I don’t have the guts.”
    • “I can’t beat the competition.”
    • “No one has ever done it before.”
    • “People tell me it can’t be done.”
    • “This isn’t the right time.”

    And it never will be…as long as we keep making excuses. Excuses aren’t really reasons, they’re just how we justify not pursuing what we want in life. We can only succeed when we stop telling ourselves why we can’t, and start living a life that shows we can.

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    Featured photo credit: Lustrous Wooden Cabinet with Excuses File Label in Dramatic LIght via Shutterstock and inline photo by Gary Cooper via Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

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    Last Updated on December 2, 2018

    How to Flow Your Way to a More Productive Life

    How to Flow Your Way to a More Productive Life

    Ebb and flow. Contraction and expansion. Highs and lows. It’s all about the cycles of life.

    The entire course of our life follows this up and down pattern of more and then less. Our days flow this way, each following a pattern of more energy, then less energy, more creativity and periods of greater focus bookended by moments of low energy when we cringe at the thought of one more meeting, one more call, one more sentence.

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    The key is in understanding how to use the cycles of ebb and flow to our advantage. The ability to harness these fluctuations, understand how they affect our productivity and mood and then apply that knowledge as a tool to improve our lives is a valuable strategy that few individuals or corporations have mastered.

    Here are a few simple steps to start using this strategy today:

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    Review Your Past Flow

    Take just a few minutes to look back at how your days and weeks have been unfolding. What time of the day are you the most focused? Do you prefer to be more social at certain times of the day? Do you have difficulty concentrating after lunch or are you energized? Are there days when you can’t seem to sit still at your desk and others when you could work on the same project for hours?

    Do you see a pattern starting to emerge? Eventually you will discover a sort of map or schedule that charts your individual productivity levels during a given day or week.  That’s the first step. You’ll use this information to plan your days going forward.

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    Schedule According to Your Flow Pattern

    Look at the types of things you do each day…each week. What can you move around so that it’s a better fit for you? Can you suggest to your team that you schedule meetings for late morning if you can’t stand to be social first thing? Can you schedule detailed project work or highly creative tasks, like writing or designing when you are best able to focus? How about making sales calls or client meetings on days when you are the most social and leaving billing or reports until another time when you are able to close your door and do repetitive tasks.

    Keep in mind that everyone is different and some things are out of our control. Do what you can. You might be surprised at just how flexible clients and managers can be when they understand that improving your productivity will result in better outcomes for them.

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    Account for Big Picture Fluctuations

    Look at the bigger picture. Consider what happens during different months or times during the year. Think about what is going on in the other parts of your life. When is the best time for you to take on a new project, role or responsibility? Take into account other commitments that zap your energy. Do you have a sick parent, a spouse who travels all the time or young children who demand all of your available time and energy?

    We all know people who ignore all of this advice and yet seem to prosper and achieve wonderful success anyway, but they are usually the exception, not the rule. For most of us, this habitual tendency to force our bodies and our brains into patterns of working that undermine our productivity result in achieving less than desired results and adding more stress to our already overburdened lives.

    Why not follow the ebb and flow of your life instead of fighting against it?

      Featured photo credit: Nathan Dumlao via unsplash.com

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