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10 Things People With Remarkable Willpower Do Differently

10 Things People With Remarkable Willpower Do Differently

This article lists the 10 things that people with remarkable willpower do differently. If you need convincing that you should improve your willpower then this list should do it.

1. They eliminate too much choice

There actually is such a thing as too much choice. Barry Swartz explains in his book The Paradox of Choice how counter-intuitively people feel overwhelmed and less satisfied if they are given too many good options. People with willpower write a shortlist of 3 – 5 options and make satisfactory choices.

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2. They do the hardest thing first

You’ve got to Eat That Frog pro-ports Brian Tracey in his book of the same name. Folk with remarkable willpower focus on finishing the one task that provides the most value or renders other tasks pointless. This single mindedness is a productivity strategy that anyone can employ and by attacking the less appealing task first you will set yourself up for the rest of the day to be a success.

3. They refuel frequently

Folks with great willpower make sure that they keep their energy levels topped up. By having small amounts of food regularly they do not go through sugars highs and subsequent crashes. By avoiding the boom and bust approach to fuel intake it ensures that they have adequate energy for when your willpower is tested.

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4. They rest frequently

Energy is incredibly important to people with remarkable willpower. To keep energy levels topped up make sure to rest frequently. Whether this is taking a nap in the middle of the day or taking a short break depends upon the individual. It is far easier to stick to a plan if you have the energy to make rational good decisions.

5. They have routines

There isn’t an endless supply of willpower available. As a result it is a great idea to have routines for stuff that doesn’t require decision making or sticking to your guns. A good example of this is having an early morning routine. When you get up, what you eat and any other ritual should be consistent every day. This might sound boring but if you agonise over what to have for breakfast then you will be using up valuable decision making and willpower holding energy.

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6. They anticipate when willpower is weakest

For most people willpower is at its lowest when they are tired, hungry or stressed. Have a think about when you make less than ideal decisions. This is when your willpower is at its weakest. Rather than trying to combat this head on avoid making decisions at these times by falling back onto good routines or avoiding the kind of activities that could lead to bad decisions – i.e. no late night internet shopping.

7. They exercise

Exercise creates more energy and helps keep you healthy. Rather than thinking you need willpower to exercise think about the additional willpower that going for a good walk or jog will give back to you. Drop your exercise regime into a routine and you are onto a massive winner.

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8. They eat healthily

The mind and body are all part of the same system – so shouldn’t be considered separately. So if you are looking for a way to improve your willpower then look at the food you are consuming… I’m not advocating only eating rabbit food, but if you reduce the number of refined carbohydrates and increase the amount of unprocessed foods you eat then not only will you feel better but you will also get positive willpower side effects.

9. They get things done

If you have remarkable willpower then you will find that you get more things done. Keeping top of your task list and realising your goals is achieved by the practical application of your willpower.

10. They stop doing things

Remarkable willpower also gives you the tools to stop doing the kind of things that you dislike. Whether this is saying yes to everyone, quitting a habit or changing a quirk of personality you no longer like then this is all possible when you harness your willpower.

Featured photo credit: Sean Rademaker via flickr.com

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Last Updated on October 15, 2019

Is Procrastination Bad? The Truth About Procrastination Revealed

Is Procrastination Bad? The Truth About Procrastination Revealed

Procrastination is very literally the opposite of productivity. To produce something is to pull it forward, while to procrastinate is to push it forward — to tomorrow, to next week, or ultimately to never.

Procrastination fills us with shame — we curse ourselves for our laziness, our inability to focus on the task at hand, our tendency to be easily led into easier and more immediate gratifications. And with good reason: for the most part, time spent procrastinating is time spent not doing things that are, in some way or other, important to us.

There is a positive side to procrastination, but it’s important not to confuse procrastination at its best with everyday garden-variety procrastination.

Sometimes — sometimes! — procrastination gives us the time we need to sort through a thorny issue or to generate ideas. In those rare instances, we should embrace procrastination — even as we push it away the rest of the time.

Why we procrastinate after all

We procrastinate for a number of reasons, some better than others. One reason we procrastinate is that, while we know what we want to do, we need time to let the ideas “ferment” before we are ready to sit down and put them into action.

Some might call this “creative faffing”; I call it, following copywriter Ray Del Savio’s lead, “concepting”.[1]

Whatever you choose to call it, it’s the time spent dreaming up what you want to say or do, weighing ideas in your mind, following false leads and tearing off on mental wild goose chases, and generally thinking things through.

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To the outside observer, concepting looks like… well, like nothing much at all. Maybe you’re leaning back in your chair, feet up, staring at the wall or ceiling, or laying in bed apparently dozing, or looking out over the skyline or feeding pigeons in the park or fiddling with the Japanese vinyl toys that stand watch over your desk.

If ideas are the lifeblood of your work, you have to make time for concepting, and you have to overcome the sensation— often overpowering in our work-obsessed culture — that faffing, however creative, is not work.

So, is procrastination bad?

Yes it is.

Don’t fool yourself into thinking that you’re “concepting” when in fact you’re just not sure what you’re supposed to be doing.

Spending an hour staring at the wall while thinking up the perfect tagline for a marketing campaign is creative faffing; staring at the wall for an hour because you don’t know how to come up with a tagline, or don’t know the product you’re marketing well enough to come up with one, is just wasting time.

Lack of definition is perhaps the biggest friend of your procrastination demons. When we’re not sure what to do — whether because we haven’t planned thoroughly enough, we haven’t specified the scope of what we hope to accomplish in the immediate present, or we lack important information, skills, or resources to get the job done.

It’s easy to get distracted or to trick ourselves into spinning our wheels doing nothing. It takes our mind off the uncomfortable sensation of failing to make progress on something important.

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The answer to this is in planning and scheduling. Rather than giving yourself an unspecified length of time to perform an unspecified task (“Let’s see, I guess I’ll work on that spreadsheet for a while”) give yourself a limited amount of time to work on a clearly defined task (“Now I’ll enter the figures from last months sales report into the spreadsheet for an hour”).

Giving yourself a deadline, even an artificial one, helps build a sense of urgency and also offers the promise of time to “screw around” later, once more important things are done.

For larger projects, planning plays a huge role in whether or not you’ll spend too much time procrastinating to reach the end reasonably quickly.

A good plan not only lists the steps you have to take to reach the end, but takes into account the resources, knowledge and inputs from other people you’re going to need to perform those steps.

Instead of futzing around doing nothing because you don’t have last month’s sales report, getting the report should be a step in the project.

Otherwise, you’ll spend time cooling your heels, justifying your lack of action as necessary: you aren’t wasting time because you want to, but because you have to.

How bad procrastination can be

Our mind can often trick us into procrastinating, often to the point that we don’t realize we’re procrastinating at all.

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After all, we have lots and lots of things to do; if we’re working on something, aren’t we being productive – even if the one big thing we need to work on doesn’t get done?

One way this plays out is that we scan our to-do list, skipping over the big challenging projects in favor of the short, easy projects. At the end of the day, we feel very productive: we’ve crossed twelve things off our list!

That big project we didn’t work on gets put onto the next day’s list, and when the same thing happens, it gets moved forward again. And again.

Big tasks often present us with the problem above – we aren’t sure what to do exactly, so we look for other ways to occupy ourselves.

In many cases too, big tasks aren’t really tasks at all; they’re aggregates of many smaller tasks. If something’s sitting on your list for a long time, each day getting skipped over in favor of more immediately doable tasks, it’s probably not very well thought out.

You’re actively resisting it because you don’t really know what it is. Try to break it down into a set of small tasks, something more like the tasks you are doing in place of the one big task you aren’t doing.

More consequences of procrastination can be found in this article:

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8 Dreadful Effects of Procrastination That Can Destroy Your Life

Procrastination, a technical failure

Procrastination is, more often than not, a sign of a technical failure, not a moral failure.

It’s not because we’re bad people that we procrastinate. Most times, procrastination serves as a symptom of something more fundamentally wrong with the tasks we’ve set ourselves.

It’s important to keep an eye on our procrastinating tendencies, to ask ourselves whenever we notice ourselves pushing things forward what it is about the task we’ve set ourselves that simply isn’t working for us.

Featured photo credit: chuttersnap via unsplash.com

Reference

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