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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 July 13, 2020

How Not to Feel Overwhelmed at Work & Take Control of Your Day

How Not to Feel Overwhelmed at Work & Take Control of Your Day

Overwhelm is a pernicious state largely caused by the ever-increasing demands on our time and the distractions that exist all around us. It creeps up on us and can, in its extreme form, leave us feeling anxious, stressed and exhausted.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed at work, here are 6 strategies you can follow that will reduce the feeling of overwhelm; leaving you calmer, in control and a lot less stressed.

1. Write Everything down to Offload Your Mind

The first thing you can do when you begin to feel overwhelmed is to write everything down that is on your mind.

Often people just write down all the things they think they have to do. This does help, but a more effective way to reduce overwhelm is to also write down everything that’s on your mind.

For example, you may have had an argument with your colleague or a loved one. If it’s on your mind write it down. A good way to do this is to draw a line down the middle of the page and title one section “things to do” and the other “what’s on my mind”.

The act of writing all this down and getting it out of your head will begin the process of removing your feeling of overwhelm. Writing things down can really change your life.

2. Decide How Long It Will Take to Complete Your To-Dos

Once you have ‘emptied your head,’ go through your list and estimate how long it will take to complete each to-do.

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As you go through your list, you will find quite a few to-dos will only take you five or ten minutes. Others will take longer, often up to several hours.

Do not worry about that at this stage. Just focus on estimating how long you will need to complete each task to the best of your ability. Here’s How to Cultivate a More Meaningful To Do List.

3. Take Advantage of Parkinson’s Law

Now here’s a little trick I learned a long time ago. Parkinson’s Law states that work will fill the time you have available to complete it, and us humans are terrible at estimating how long something will take:((Odhable: Genesis of Parkinson’s Law))

    This is why many people are always late. They think it will only take them thirty minutes to drive across town when previous experience has taught them it usually takes forty-five minutes to do so because traffic is often bad but they stick to the belief it will only take thirty minutes. It’s more wishful thinking than good judgment.

    We can use Parkinson’s Law to our advantage. If you have estimated that to write five emails that desperately need a reply to be ninety minutes, then reduce it down to one hour. Likewise, if you have estimated it will take you three hours to prepare your upcoming presentation, reduce it down to two hours.

    Reducing the time you estimate something will take gives you two advantages. The first is you get your work done quicker, obviously. The second is you put yourself under a little time pressure and in doing so you reduce the likelihood you will be distracted or allow yourself to procrastinate.

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    When we overestimate how long something will take, subconsciously our brains know we have plenty of time and so it plays tricks on us and we end up checking reviews of the Apple Watch 4 or allow our colleagues to interrupt us with the latest office gossip.

    Applying a little time pressure prevents this from happening and we get more focused and more work done.

    4. Use the Power of Your Calendar

    Once you have your time estimates done, open up your calendar and schedule your to-dos. Go through your to-dos and schedule time on your calendar for doing those tasks. Group tasks up into similar tasks.

    For emails that need attention on your to-do list, schedule time on your calendar to deal with all your emails at once. Likewise, if you have a report to write or a presentation to prepare, add these to your calendar using your estimated time as a guide for how long each will take.

    Seeing these items on your calendar eases your mind because you know you have allocated time to get them done and you no longer feel you have no time. Grouping similar tasks together keeps you in a focused state longer and it’s amazing how much work you get done when you do this.

    5. Make Decisions

    For those things you wrote down that are on your mind but are not tasks, make a decision about what you will do with each one. These things are on your mind because you have not made a decision about them.

    If you have an issue with a colleague, a friend or a loved one, take a little time to think about what would be the best way to resolve the problem. More often than not just talking with the person involved will clear the air and resolve the problem.

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    If it is a more serious issue, then decide how best to deal with it. Talk to your boss, a colleague and get advice.

    Whatever you do, do not allow it to fester. Ignoring the problem will not make it go away. You need to make a decision to deal with it and the sooner you do so the sooner the problem will be resolved. (You can take a look at this guide on How To Make Good Decisions All The Time.)

    I remember long ago, when I was in my early twenties and had gone mad with my newly acquired credit cards. I discovered I didn’t have the money to pay my monthly bills. I worried about it for days, got stressed and really didn’t know what to do. Eventually, I told a good friend of mine of the problem. He suggested I called the credit card company to explain my problem. The next day, I plucked up the courage to call the company, explained my problem and the wonderful person the other end listened and then suggested I paid a smaller amount for a couple of months.

    This one phone call took no more than ten minutes to make, yet it solved my problem and took away a lot of the stress I was feeling at the time. I learned two very valuable lessons from that experience:

    The first, don’t go mad with newly acquired credit cards! And the second, there’s always a solution to every problem if you just talk to the right person.

    6. Take Some Form of Action

    Because overwhelm is something that creeps up on us, once we feel overwhelmed (and stressed as the two often go together), the key is to take some form of action.

    The act of writing everything down that is bothering you and causing you to feel overwhelmed is a great place to start. Being able to see what it is that is bothering you in a list form, no matter how long that list is, eases the mind. You have externalized it.

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    It also means rather than these worries floating around in a jumbled mess inside your head, they are now visible and you can make decisions easier about what to do about them. Often it could be asking a colleague for a little help, or it could be you see you need to allocate some focused time to get the work done. The important thing is you make a decision on what to do next.

    Overwhelm is not always caused by a feeling of having a lack of time or too much work, it can also be caused by avoiding a decision about what to do next.

    The Bottom Line

    Make a decision, even if it is to just talk to someone about what to do next. Making a decision about how you will resolve something on its own will reduce your feelings of overwhelm and start you down the path to a resolution one way or another.

    When you follow these strategies to can say goodbye to your overwhelm and gain much more control over your day.

    More Tips for Reducing Work Stress

    Featured photo credit: Andrei Lazarev via unsplash.com

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