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5 Ways How You Can Do Anything…But Not Everything

5 Ways How You Can Do Anything…But Not Everything

After reading the following words by David Allen, do you feel disappointment or relief?

    My first reaction was relief — relief in the realization that it is not possible or realistic to get everything done. There will always be stuff on your to-do list and always projects that don’t get done. Accepting this reality is the first step to creating the life of stress-free productivity that Allen invites us to have.

    I’m a mother, a coach, a trainer, a blogger, an author, and a huge tennis fan, so this month my time is tight (Wimbledon season). Time is always tight for most of us; deciding what to focus our limited time on is the issue. So the question is this:

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    How do we identify what is the “Anything” that we want in our lives, and what bits are the “Everything” — the things that can be removed from your lists of goals and to-dos?

    1. Single Focus

    The Happier Human blog has described human beings as “failure machines”. We are irrationally optimistic. We naively keep setting the same goals and not achieving them.

    Does this sound familiar?

    Although I thought the failure machine reference was a bit harsh, there is a point here to be made. Are you consistently attempting too much, or trying to do everything (and achieve everything) now, when this is not humanly possible?

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    Chose your single focus — something that you are passionate about, something that will make a difference to all areas of your life if you were to achieve it…and stick with it.

    2. Delete and Dump

    Eliminate all the things in your life that are unnecessary. Declutter your house, go room to room removing all the things you no longer need. Stop activities that don’t add value to your life. Do an audit of all the time spent on television, the Internet or any other activity that is not life-enhancing. By creating awareness around how much time you spend on these things you will soon want to get rid of the dead wood. Delete unwanted files and emails from your computer. By doing all of this you will free up time and space to focus your time and attention on your goals, priorities and the important people in your life.

    3. Get a Man!

    Maybe you just need a man. A fellow coach once told me his elderly neighbour once suggested that what he needed was a man. Not for companionship, but to do chores around the house.

    Her philosophy was “only do what only you can do”. Get someone else to mow the lawn, clean the car, wash the windows, do your accounting. Any job that takes your attention away from what you do best. (I think I am going to go and get myself several — I hope my husband doesn’t mind!)

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    4. Assert yourself

    Say “no” to tasks and work that will overload you. It is always great to do your bit for charity, a community group, or your child’s school but only say “yes” if you have extra time to commit to it.

    I believe there is a time in all of our lives to do our bit, but maybe now is not your time. If it is not your time don’t feel guilty about turning people down. Explain that in your current circumstances you cannot commit your time, smile, and walk away.

    5. Believe you Can

    I have been doing some work recently with young women who have zero self-belief. I believe that have been raised in a negative world where not being able to do something has become the norm in their lives. They are so conditioned to fail that they won’t even try.

    It’s a difficult job, but little by little with encouragement, support and positive reinforcement, their “I can’t” will change to “I will try” and eventually to “I can”. Positivity can be thought, optimism introduced and self belief nurtured.

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    When it comes down to it, we all know that David Allen’s words are true. You really can do anything in this world — but only if you believe you can.

    (Photo credit: Word Impossible Transformed via Shutterstock)

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    Ciara Conlon

    Productivity coach, speaker, blogger and author of Chaos to Control, a Practical Guide to Getting Things Done

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    Last Updated on May 7, 2021

    Productivity Boost: How to start your day at 5:00 AM

    Productivity Boost: How to start your day at 5:00 AM

    I have been an early-riser for over a year now. Monday through Friday I wake up at 5:00 AM without hitting the snooze button even once. I never take naps and rarely feel tired throughout the day. The following is my advice on how to start your day (everyday) at 5:00 AM.The idea of waking up early and starting the day at or before the sunrise is the desire of many people. Many highly successful people attribute their success, at least in part, to rising early. Early-risers have more productive mornings, get more done, and report less stress on average than “late-risers.” However, for the unaccustomed, the task of waking up at 5:00 AM can seem extremely daunting. This article will present five tips about how to physically wake up at 5:00 AM and how to get yourself mentally ready to have a productive day.

    Many people simply “can’t” get up early because they are stuck in a routine. Whether this is getting to bed unnecessarily late, snoozing repetitively, or waiting until the absolute last possible moment before getting out of bed, “sleeping in” can easily consume your entire morning. The following tips will let you break the “sleeping in” routine.

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    Relocate your alarm clock.

    Having an alarm clock too close to your bed is the number one reason people simply cannot get up in the morning. If your alarm clock is within arms reach of your bed, or if you can turn your alarm clock off without getting out of bed, you are creating an unnecessarily difficult situation for yourself. Before I became an early-riser, there were many times that I would turn off my alarm without even waking up enough to remember turning it off. I recommend moving your alarm clock far enough away from your bed that you have to get completely out of bed to turn it off. I keep my alarm clock in the bathroom. This may not be possible for all living arrangements, however, I use my cellphone as an alarm clock and putting it in the bathroom makes perfect sense. In order to turn off my alarm I have to get completely out of bed, and since going to the restroom and taking a shower are the first two things I do everyday, keeping the alarm clock in the bathroom streamlines the start of my morning.

    Scrap the snooze.

    The snooze feature on all modern alarm clocks serves absolutely no constructive purpose. Don’t even try the “it helps me slowly wake up” lie. I recommend buying an alarm that does not have a snooze button. If you can’t find an alarm without a snooze button, never read the instructions so you will never know how long your snooze button lasts. Not knowing whether it waits 10 minutes or 60 minutes should be enough of a deterrent to get you to stop using it.

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    Change up your buzzer

    If you use the same buzzer day in and day out, you begin to develop a tolerance to the sound. The alarm clock will slowly become less effective at waking you up over time. Most newer alarm clocks will let you set a different buzzer tone for the different days of the week. If you change your buzzer frequently, you will have an easier time waking up.

    Make a puzzle

    If you absolutely cannot wake up without repetitive snoozing, try making a puzzle for yourself. It doesn’t take rocket science to understand that the longer your alarm is going off, the more awake you will become. Try making your alarm very difficult to turn off by putting it under the sink, putting it under the bed, or better yet, by forcing yourself to complete a puzzle to turn it off. Try putting your alarm into a combination-locked box and make yourself put in the combination in order to turn off the alarm — it’s annoying, but extremely effective!

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    Get into a routine

    Getting up at 5:00 AM is much easier if you are doing it Monday through Friday rather than sporadically during the week. I recommend setting an alarm once that repeats everyday. Also, going to bed at about the same time every night is an important factor to having a productive morning. Learn how much sleep you need to get in order to not feel exhausted the following day. Some people can get by on 4-6 hours while most need 7-8.

    Have a reason

    Make sure you have a specific reason to get up in the morning. Getting up at 5:00 AM just for the heck of it is a lot more difficult than if you are getting up early to plan your day, pay bills, go for a jog, get an early start on work, etc. I recommend finding something you want to do for yourself in the morning. It will be a lot easier to get up if you are guaranteed to do something fun for yourself — compare this to going on vacation. You probably have no problem waking up very early on vacation or during holidays. My goal every morning is to bring that excitement to the day by doing something fun for myself.

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    As I previously mentioned, I have been using these tips for a very long time. Joining the world of early-risers has been a great decision. I feel less stressed, I get more done, and I feel happier than I did when I was a late-riser. If you follow these tips you can become an early-riser, too. Do you have any tips that I didn’t mention? What works best for you? Let us know in the comments.

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