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Just Listen To Yourself

Just Listen To Yourself


    How often do you have a really strong gut instinct and it proves to be wrong? How often do you override that instinct and then kick yourself later on? My guess would be that if you’re anything like the people that come to me for life coaching the answers are hardly ever and always.

    Everybody knows intuitively that they have solid instincts. I have never met anybody either professionally or socially that says. “My gut feeling is terrible, I’m always getting in a mess by listening to myself, what can I do about it?” How weird is that? It seems to me it’s a universal truth.

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    Although at this point I have to confess I only know a small percentage of people when we look at it from a global perspective. In fact, we are probably talking about 0.000005% of the population; so statistically speaking it’s about as accurate as a blind baseball pitcher with Meniere’s disease.

    Having said that, I’m prepared to bet that you don’t disagree with me. In fact, I’ll go as far to say that if you can honestly say you believe your gut instinct lets you down on a regular basis, drop me an e-mail and I’ll mail you a copy of my book with instructions on how to operate it, because you’re going to need them.

    The conscious human mind can only deal with 7 + or – 2 pieces of information at once. Until you read this sentence you almost certainly aren’t aware of your left foot. But hey, presto, now you are! Way to go on shifting your awareness like a Zen Master. If you lost your foot in a freak fairground accident last week I apologize for my lack of tact. I hope you can forgive me and please accept my best wishes for a speedy recovery hoppy.

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    The fact is, you have to constantly delete information from your conscious mind, otherwise you’d go into sensory overload. Try and do it now if you have any doubt. Place your awareness in your right hand, now your left hand too. Now move to your feet and remain aware of your hands. Easy? Maybe, but that’s still only 4, so try thinking about what your lower back feels like without letting your attention move from your hands. By now you will be starting to struggle, but if you’re not keep going and you soon will be.

    Think of your conscious mind as being like the RAM on your computer. It does lots of good stuff and it’s nice to have around and all that, but hey c’mon, it’s no hard drive! That is like the difference between your conscious and unconscious mind.

    Your unconscious mind can do lots of stuff easily without you ever having to intervene. I presume your heart is beating, your food is being digested, and you do not have to remember to blink your eyes or maintain your blood pressure, right? If not you maybe dead, so stop reading now and call for an ambulance and/or an undertaker.

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    What happens when you get a strong gut feeling is that your unconscious mind is trying to tell you what it thinks in the only way it knows how, with feelings. It can’t talk to you because it’s unconscious, hence the rather obvious name. It has done lots of calculations, looked at all the permutations, given it serious consideration and is now shouting “Whoa there big fella, it aint a great idea to poke that skunk with a stick” Of course the ‘shout’ can manifest itself in any number of ways. You may get sweaty palms, a nauseous feeling or just a sense of something not being quite right.

    So what do most people do when they get a strong gut feeling?

    That’s right, they override it. Because it doesn’t make logical sense on the surface, skunk poking notwithstanding, it tends to get dismissed.  A feeling is just that, a feeling, it can be hard to put into words. When we can’t explain logically why we think something is a bad or even for that matter a good idea, we can tend to either ignore it completely or use faulty logic to dismiss it out of hand.

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    Some people (kinesthetics) find to very easy to tune into their feelings, but truly kinesthetic people account for less than 15% of the population. If you’re not one of the lucky few then you’ll have to pay extra special attention. Tune in to your body more often and start to recognize the patterns an when it’s trying to tell you something.

    If your unconscious is saying don’t take that job, go on that date, poke that skunk – take heed. It knows what it’s talking about and it has your best interests at heart. The alternative it to disregard it as some weird nebulous feeling that’s come out of nowhere and almost certainly live to regret it.

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    Just Listen To Yourself

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    Last Updated on November 19, 2019

    20 Time Management Tips to Super Boost Your Productivity

    20 Time Management Tips to Super Boost Your Productivity

    Are you usually punctual or late? Do you finish things within the time you stipulate? Do you hand in your reports/work on time? Are you able to accomplish what you want to do before deadlines? Are you a good time manager?

    If your answer is “no” to any of the questions above, that means you’re not managing your time as well as you want. Here are 20 time management tips to help you manage time better:

    1. Create a Daily Plan

    Plan your day before it unfolds. Do it in the morning or even better, the night before you sleep. The plan gives you a good overview of how the day will pan out. That way, you don’t get caught off guard. Your job for the day is to stick to the plan as best as possible.

    2. Peg a Time Limit to Each Task

    Be clear that you need to finish X task by 10am, Y task by 3pm, and Z item by 5:30pm. This prevents your work from dragging on and eating into time reserved for other activities.

    3. Use a Calendar

    Having a calendar is the most fundamental step to managing your daily activities. If you use outlook or lotus notes, calendar come as part of your mailing software.

    I use it. It’s even better if you can sync your calendar to your mobile phone and other hardwares you use – that way, you can access your schedule no matter where you are. Here’re the 10 Best Calendar Apps to Stay on Track .

    Find out more tips about how to use calendar for better time management here: How to Use a Calendar to Create Time and Space

    4. Use an Organizer

    An organizer helps you to be on top of everything in your life. It’s your central tool to organize information, to-do lists, projects, and other miscellaneous items.

    These Top 15 Time Management Apps and Tools can help you organize better, pick one that fits your needs.

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    5. Know Your Deadlines

    When do you need to finish your tasks? Mark the deadlines out clearly in your calendar and organizer so you know when you need to finish them.

    But make sure you don’t make these 10 Common Mistakes When Setting Deadlines.

    6. Learn to Say “No”

    Don’t take on more than you can handle. For the distractions that come in when you’re doing other things, give a firm no. Or defer it to a later period.

    Leo Babauta, the founder of Zen Habits has some great insights on how to say no: The Gentle Art of Saying No

    7. Target to Be Early

    When you target to be on time, you’ll either be on time or late. Most of the times you’ll be late. However, if you target to be early, you’ll most likely be on time.

    For appointments, strive to be early. For your deadlines, submit them earlier than required.

    Learn from these tips about how to prepare yourself to be early, instead of just in time.

    8. Time Box Your Activities

    This means restricting your work to X amount of time. Why time boxing is good for you? Here’re 10 reasons why you should start time-boxing.

    You can also read more about how to do time boxing here: #5 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity.

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    9. Have a Clock Visibly Placed Before You

    Sometimes we are so engrossed in our work that we lose track of time. Having a huge clock in front of you will keep you aware of the time at the moment.

    10. Set Reminders 15 Minutes Before

    Most calendars have a reminder function. If you have an important meeting to attend, set that alarm 15 minutes before.

    You can learn more about how reminders help you remember everything in this article: The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder That Works)

    11. Focus

    Are you multi-tasking so much that you’re just not getting anything done? If so, focus on just one key task at one time. Multitasking is bad for you.

    Close off all the applications you aren’t using. Close off the tabs in your browser that are taking away your attention. Focus solely on what you’re doing. You’ll be more efficient that way.

    Lifehack’s CEO has written a definitive guide on how to focus, learn the tips: How to Focus and Maximize Your Productivity (the Definitive Guide)

    12. Block out Distractions

    What’s distracting you in your work? Instant messages? Phone ringing? Text messages popping in?

    I hardly ever use chat nowadays. The only times when I log on is when I’m not intending to do any work. Otherwise it gets very distracting.

    When I’m doing important work, I also switch off my phone. Calls during this time are recorded and I contact them afterward if it’s something important. This helps me concentrate better.

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    Find more tips on how to minimize distractions to achieve more in How to Minimize Distraction to Get Things Done

    13. Track Your Time Spent

    When you start to track your time, you’re more aware of how you spend your time. For example, you can set a simple countdown timer to make sure that you finish a task within a period of time, say 30 minutes or 1 hour. The time pressure can push you to stay focused and work more efficiently.

    You can find more time tracking apps here and pick one that works for you.

    14. Don’t Fuss About Unimportant Details

    You’re never get everything done in exactly the way you want. Trying to do so is being ineffective.

    Trying to be perfect does you more harm than good, learn here about how perfectionism kills your productivity and how to ditch the perfectionism mindset.

    15. Prioritize

    Since you can’t do everything, learn to prioritize the important and let go of the rest.

    Apply the 80/20 principle which is a key principle in prioritization. You can also take up this technique to prioritize everything on your plate: How to Prioritize Right in 10 Minutes and Work 10X Faster

    16. Delegate

    If there are things that can be better done by others or things that are not so important, consider delegating. This takes a load off and you can focus on the important tasks.

    When you delegate some of your work, you free up your time and achieve more. Learn about how to effectively delegate works in this guide: How to Delegate Work (the Definitive Guide for Successful Leaders)

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    17. Batch Similar Tasks Together

    For related work, batch them together.

    For example, my work can be categorized into these core groups:

    1. writing (articles, my upcoming book)
    2. coaching
    3. workshop development
    4. business development
    5. administrative

    I batch all the related tasks together so there’s synergy. If I need to make calls, I allocate a time slot to make all my calls. It really streamlines the process.

    18. Eliminate Your Time Wasters

    What takes your time away your work? Facebook? Twitter? Email checking? Stop checking them so often.

    One thing you can do is make it hard to check them – remove them from your browser quick links / bookmarks and stuff them in a hard to access bookmarks folder. Replace your browser bookmarks with important work-related sites.

    While you’ll still checking FB/Twitter no doubt, you’ll find it’s a lower frequency than before.

    19. Cut off When You Need To

    The number one reason why things overrun is because you don’t cut off when you have to.

    Don’t be afraid to intercept in meetings or draw a line to cut-off. Otherwise, there’s never going to be an end and you’ll just eat into the time for later.

    20. Leave Buffer Time In-Between

    Don’t pack everything closely together. Leave a 5-10 minute buffer time in between each tasks. This helps you wrap up the previous task and start off on the next one.

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    Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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