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10 Dangerous Thoughts You Should Avoid

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10 Dangerous Thoughts You Should Avoid

You are what you think about. Can you create a better life by simply thinking about it? Of course not– that’s absurd. But if your mind is dominated by negative thoughts, it’s hard to get motivated to make positive changes that will improve your life. Please consider these 10 dangerous thoughts you should avoid.

1. “I guess this is as good as it gets.”

The second you become complacent, your progress in life will come to a screeching halt. No matter how good you are at something, you could always stand to improve in some aspect. Learn a new craft, hobby or language to keep your mind creative and fresh. Discover ways to increase the quality of your work or decrease the time it takes to complete tasks you’re already good at (then you’ll have more time for the important things that really make you happy!). Make sure personal growth isn’t just something you talk about–make it a daily event.

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2. “I’ll just do the easy stuff.”

That thing that you dread doing more than anything else? The odds are, THAT is the very thing you need to do. Do you think employers are interested in hiring people who are only capable of accomplishing simple tasks that anybody else on the planet could perform? Of course not. Whether it’s for the purpose of making yourself more marketable in the workforce, improving your body and health or whatever the case may be, you need to embrace the fact that you sometimes have to do things that you don’t enjoy. You know what I hate? Working on resumes, portfolios and sales pages. But even though I don’t particularly enjoy those things, I am very skilled at them because my success depends on it. Buckle down and do the thing you don’t want to do because like it or not, that’s probably the very thing you need to do.

3. “I don’t care about the details, tell me what to do!”

If you don’t understand why a particular task needs to be done, it is unlikely you’ll be able to pay it the proper attention it deserves. And if you don’t ask follow-up questions about things you don’t understand, your results will suffer.Take ownership of every project. Do you have any ideas to contribute that might make the end result better? Say so. No one is going to fuss at you for asking questions or offering suggestions that will improve the end result.

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4. “I’m not good enough.”

If you tell yourself you’re not good enough, pretty enough, old enough, smart enough, or (insert adjective of your choosing here) enough, your lack of confidence will reflect in your words, stature, and mannerisms. Why should someone believe in you if you don’t believe in yourself? Surround yourself with positive people who will motivate you. Read books, articles, and studies about what you’re passionate about until you can truthfully say you are an expert in your field. Stop looking for the reasons you can’t do something and find the reasons you can. People often say, “You’re only as strong as your weakest link,” but this statement is blatantly false. You are as strong as your strongest link.

5. “It will never work.”

Stop telling yourself you will fail because self-fulfilling prophecies almost always come true.

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6. “I’m a bad person.”

Everyone makes mistakes. No matter what wrong you feel you have done to a person, agonizing over a past event that cannot be undone will not make the situation better (and will make you feel a lot worse). Whether you ate something you know you shouldn’t have, said something hurtful that you wish you could take back or made a mistake on the job, don’t live in the past. If you apologized and explained yourself, then it is time to move on. Focus your energy to the future because that’s where progress happens. 

7. “What will they think about me?”

While you should do everything you can to make people around you comfortable, you shouldn’t sacrifice your genuine personality in order to please other people. Embrace your authentic self and share it with the world. If a person doesn’t like you for who you are, that is their problem (and their loss). 

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8. “I’ll do it when the time is right.”

There is no such thing as a “perfect time” to do anything. If you keep waiting for the right time to move to a new town, talk to that cute bartender or begin a new fitness plan, you will never take action. Challenge yourself to burst out of your comfort zone. I know comfort makes you feel safe, but how fulfilling is it to spend your life thinking about doing things that you never actually do? Act now or regret it later.

9. “I wish I could look more like _____.”

Please understand that when you see scantily clad models in magazines, you are looking at doctored up images of people who most likely have put themselves through incredibly restrictive diets and/or excessive fitness routines in the weeks or months leading up to their photo-shoot. In other words, such a body would not be attainable for the average person. When you see articles like “The Hugh Jackman Workout,” you are seeing routines that were designed for a specific person (Hugh Jackman) with a specific body type and need. Even if you did the same workout as instructed, you could not reasonably expect to become as ripped as Hugh Jackman was in the latest Wolverine film. Accept your body as it is. Aim to improve your physique, but stop comparing it to other people with figures that are out-of-reach. 

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10. “No one cares.”

Yes, they do. Even if you’re not on the best terms with your family, I can’t imagine that they don’t care about you. And even if you’ve lost touch with a lot of your friends, I bet they would be happy to hear your voice in a surprise phone-call. You have impacted more lives than you could begin to comprehend. Send an e-mail or write a letter to an old friend that you haven’t talked to in months or years. Call an aunt, uncle or cousin who made a positive impact on your development as a child. Join an online support community, message board or networking group of like-minded people who could become new friends. You are not alone– you are far from it. If you just moved to a new home, you might want to check out this article about how to make a bunch of friends in any new city.

The first step to a better life is to think better thoughts. 

I hope this list of dangerous thoughts was helpful. You can’t create a better life by the mere act of thinking about it, but it is a positive first step in the right direction. What are some positive thoughts that help you be happy and productive? Please share them in the comments!

More by this author

Daniel Wallen

Daniel is a writer who focuses on blogging about happiness and motivation at Lifehack.

Less Thinking, More Doing: Develop the Action Habit Today 10 Reasons Why New Year’s Resolutions Fail How To Hustle: 10 Habits Of Highly Successful Hustlers 9 Things to Remember When You’re Having a Bad Day facebook addiction 5 Reasons for Your Facebook Addiction (and How to Break It)

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Last Updated on October 7, 2021

Are You Addicted to Productivity?

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Are You Addicted to Productivity?

“It’s great to be productive. It really is. But sometimes, we chase productivity so much that it makes us, well, unproductive. It’s easy to read a lot about how to be more productive, but don’t forget that you have to make that time up.”

Matt Cutts wrote that back in 2013,[1]

“Today, search for ‘productivity’ and Google will come back with about 663,000,000 results. If you decide to go down this rabbit hole, you’ll be bombarded by a seemingly endless amount of content. I’m talking about books, blogs, videos, apps, podcasts, scientific studies, and subreddits all dedicated to productivity.”

Like so many other people, I’ve also fallen into this trap. For years I’ve been on the lookout for trends and hacks that will help me work faster and more efficiently — and also trends that help me help others to be faster. I’ve experimented with various strategies and tools . And, while some of these strategies and solutions have been extremely useful — without parsing out what you need quickly — it’s counterproductive.

Sometimes you end up spending more time focusing on how to be productive instead of actually being productive.

“The most productive people I know don’t read these books, they don’t watch these videos, they don’t try a new app every month,” James Bedell wrote in a Medium post.[2] “They are far too busy getting things done to read about Getting Things Done.”

This is my mantra:

I proudly say, “I am addicted to productivity — I want to be addicted to productivity — productivity is my life and my mission — and I also want to find the best way to lead others through productivity to their best selves.

But most of the time productivity means putting your head down and working until the job’s done.” –John Rampton

Addiction to Productivity is Real

Dr. Sandra Chapman, director of the University of Texas at Dallas Center for BrainHealth points out that the brain can get addicted to productivity just as it can to more common sources of addiction, such as drugs, gambling, eating, and shopping.

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“A person might crave the recognition their work gives them or the salary increases they get,” Chapman told the BBC.[3] “The problem is that just like all addictions, over time, a person needs more and more to be satisfied, and then it starts to work against you. Withdrawal symptoms include increased anxiety, depression, and fear.”

Despite the harmful consequences, addiction is considered by some experts as a brain disease that affects the brain’s reward system and ends in compulsive behavior. Regardless, society tends to reward productivity — or at least to treat it positively. As a result, this makes the problem even worse.

“It’s seen like a good thing: the more you work, the better,” adds Chapman. “Many people don’t realize the harm it causes until a divorce occurs and a family is broken apart, or the toll it takes on mental health.”

Because of the occasional negative issues with productivity, it’s no surprise that it is considered a “mixed-blessing addiction.”

“A workaholic might be earning a lot of money, just as an exercise addict is very fit,” explains Dr. Mark Griffiths, distinguished professor of behavioral addiction at Nottingham Trent University. “But the thing about any addiction is that in the long run, the detrimental effects outweigh any short-term benefits.”

“There may be an initial period where the individual who is developing a work addiction is more productive than someone who isn’t addicted to work, but it will get to a point when they are no longer productive, and their health and relationships are affected,” Griffiths writes in Psychology Today.[4] “It could be after one year or more, but if the individual doesn’t do anything about it, they could end up having serious health consequences.”

“For instance, I speculated that the consequences of work addiction may be reclassified as something else: If someone ends up dying of a work-related heart attack, it isn’t necessarily seen as having anything to do with an addiction per se – it might be attributed to something like burnout,” he adds.

There Are Three “Distinct Extreme Productivity Types

Cyril Peupion, a Sydney-based productivity expert, has observed extreme productivity among clients at both large and medium-sized companies. “Most people who come to me are high performers and very successful. But often, the word they use to describe their work style is ‘unsustainable,’ and they need help getting it back on track.”

By changing their work habits, Peupion assists teams and individuals improve their performance and ensure that their efforts are aligned with the overarching strategy of the business, rather than focusing on work as a means to an end. He has distinguished three types of extreme productivity in his classification: efficiency obsessive, selfishly productive, and quantity-obsessed.

Efficiency obsessive. “Their desks are super tidy and their pens are probably color-coded. They are the master of ‘inbox zero.’ But they have lost sight of the big picture, and don’t know the difference between efficiency and effectiveness.”

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Selfishly productive. “They are so focused on their own world that if they are asked to do something outside of it, they aren’t interested. They do have the big picture in mind, but the picture is too much about them.”

Quantity-obsessed. “They think; ‘The more emails I respond to, the more meetings I attend, the more tasks I do, the higher my performance.’ As a result, they face a real risk of burnout.”

Peupion believes that “quantity obsessed” individuals are the most common type “because there is a pervasive belief that ‘more’ means ‘better’ at work.”

The Warning Signs of Productivity Addiction

Here are a few questions you should ask yourself if you think you may be succumbing to productivity addiction. After all, most of us aren’t aware of this until it’s too late.

  • Can you tell when you’re “wasting” time? If so, have you ever felt guilty about it?
  • Does technology play a big part in optimizing your time management?
  • Do you talk about how busy you are most of the time? In your opinion, is hustling better than doing less?
  • What is your relationship with your email inbox? Are you constantly checking it or experience phantom notifications?
  • When you only check one item off your list, do you feel guilty?
  • Does stress from work interfere with your sleep?
  • Have you been putting things off, like a vacation or side project, because you’re “too swamped?

The first step toward turning around your productivity obsession is to recognize it. If you answered “yes” to any of the above questions, then it’s time to make a plan to overcome your addiction to productivity.

Overcoming Your Productivity Addiction

Thankfully, there are ways to curb your productivity addiction. And, here are 9 such ways to achieve that goal.

1. Set Limits

Just because you’re hooked on productivity doesn’t mean you have to completely abstain from it. Instead, you need to establish boundaries.

For example, there are a lot of amazing productivity podcasts out there. But, that doesn’t mean you have to listen to them all in the course of a day. Instead, you could listen to one or two podcasts, like The Productivity Podcast or Before Breakfast, during your commute. And, that would be your only time of the day to get your productivity fix.

2. Create a Not-to-Do List

Essentially, the idea of a not-to-do list is to eliminate the need to practice self-discipline. Getting rid of low-value tasks and bad habits will allow you to focus on what you really want to do as opposed to weighing the pros and cons or declining time requests. More importantly, this prevents you from feeling guilty about not crossing everything off an unrealistic to-do list.

3. Be Vulnerable

By this, I mean admitting where you could improve. For example, if you’re new to remote work and are struggling with thi s, you would only focus on topics in this area. Suggestions would be how to create a workspace at home, not getting distracted when the kids aren’t in school, or improving remote communication and collaboration with others.

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4. Understand Why You Procrastinate

Often, we procrastinate to minimize negative emotions like boredom or stress. Other times it could be because it’s a learned trait, underestimating how long it takes you to complete something or having a bias towards a task.

Regardless of the exact reason, we end up doing busy work, scrolling social media, or just watching one more episode of our favorite TV series. And, even though we know that it’s not for the best, we do things that make us feel better than the work we should do to restore our mood.[5]

There are a lot of ways to overcome procrastination. But, the first step is to be aware of it so that you can take action. For example, if you’re dreading a difficult task, don’t just watch Netflix. Instead, procrastinate more efficiently,y like returning a phone call or working on a client pitch.

5. Don’t Be a Copycat

Let’s keep this short and sweet. When you find a productivity app or technique that works for you, stick with it.

That’s not to say that you can’t make adjustments along the way or try new tools or hacks. However, the main takeaway should be that just because someone swears by the Pomodoro Technique doesn’t mean it’s a good fit for you.

6. Say Yes to Less

Across the board, your philosophy should be less is more.

That means only download the apps you actually use and want to keep (after you try them out) and uninstall the ones you don’t use. For example, are you currently reading a book on productivity? Don’t buy your next book until you’ve finished the one you’re currently reading (or permit yourself to toss a book that isn’t doing you any good). — and if you really want to finish a book more quickly, listen to the book on your way to work and back.

Already have plans this weekend? Don’t commit to a birthday party. And, if you’re day is booked, decline that last-minute meeting request.

7. Stop Focusing on What’s Next

“In the age when purchasing a thing from overseas is just one click and talking to another person is one swipe right, acquiring new objects or experiences can be addictive like anything else,” writes Patrick Banks for Lifehack .

“That doesn’t need to be you,” he adds. “You can stop your addition to ‘the next thing’ starting today.” After all, “there will always be this next thing if you don’t make a conscious decision to get your life back together and be the one in charge.”

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  • Think about your current lifestyle and the person you’re at this stage to help you identify what you aren’t satisfied with.
  • By setting clear goals for yourself in the future, you will be able to overcome your addiction.
  • Establish realistic goals.
  • To combat addiction, you must be aware of what is going on around you, as well as inside your head, at any given time.
  • Don’t spend time with people who have unhealthy behaviors.
  • Hold yourself accountable.
  • Keep a journal and write out what you want to overcome.
  • Appreciate no longer being addicted to what’s next.

8. Simplify

Each day, pick one priority task. That’s it. As long as you concentrate on one task at a time, you will be less likely to get distracted or overwhelmed by an endless list of tasks. A simple mantra to live by is: work smarter, not harder.

The same is also accurate with productivity hacks and tools. Bullet journaling is a great example. Unfortunately, for many, a bullet journal is way more time-consuming and overwhelming than a traditional planner.

9. Learn How to Relax

“Sure, we need to produce sometimes, especially if we have to pay the bills, but, banning obsession with productivity is unhealthy,” writes Leo Babauta. “When you can’t get yourself to be productive, relax.” Don’t worry about being hyper-efficient. And, don’t beat yourself up about having fun.

“But what if you can’t motivate yourself … ever?” he asks. “Sure, that can be a problem. But if you relax and enjoy yourself, you’ll be happier.”

“And if you work when you get excited, on things you’re excited about, and create amazing things, that’s motivation,” Leo states. “Not forcing yourself to work when you don’t want to, on things you don’t want to work on — motivation is doing things you love when you get excited.”

But, how exactly can you relax? Here are some tips from Leo;

  • Spend 5 minutes walking outside and breathe in the fresh air.
  • Give yourself more time to accomplish things. Less rushing means less stress.
  • If you can, get outside after work to enjoy nature.
  • Play like a child. Even better? Play with your kids. And, have fun at work — maybe give gamification a try .
  • Take the day off, rest, and do something non-work-related.
  • Allow yourself an hour of time off. Try not to be productive during that time. Just relax.
  • You should work with someone who is exciting. Make your project exciting.
  • Don’t work in the evenings. Seriously.
  • Visit a massage therapist.
  • Just breathe.

“Step by step, learn to relax,” he suggests. “Learn that productivity isn’t everything.” For that statement, sorry Leo, I say productivity isn’t everything — it’s the only thing.” However, if you can’t cut loose, relax, do fun things, and do the living part of your life — you’ll crack in a big way — you really will.

It’s great to create and push forward — just remember it doesn’t mean that every minute must be spent working or obsessing over productivity issues. Instead, invest your time in meaningful, high-impact work, get into it, focus, put in big time and then relax.

Are You Addicted to Productivity? was originally published on Calendar by John Rampton.

Featured photo credit: Christina @ wocintechchat.com via unsplash.com

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