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5 Ways to Stop Psyching Yourself Out of Your Goals

5 Ways to Stop Psyching Yourself Out of Your Goals

    For the past 5 and a half years I have gained interests in several different disciplines and topics. I like playing guitar, gaming, writing, creating and designing websites, programming, biking (bicycling, Harley dudes.), understanding economics, science, and math. I’ve come to find out that I am pretty good at some of these things, yet with most I am mediocre at best.

    And because of this I start to talk myself out of everything that I have any ideas about.

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    The Inner Critic

    Let me introduce you to someone. Her name is the critic, and if you are a knowledge worker or creative you know her quite well. She is the one that pipes up and tells you that you aren’t very good at something and because of that you should give up on everything.

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    Sound familiar?

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    The inner critic is something that we all experience and can lead talented and creative individuals to give up on their ideas without even trying them.

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    Personally, I have been visited by the critic too many times to count. And many of those times she has stopped me dead in my tracks on some idea about a website, article, or piece of software that I would like to create. Remember, the critic is sneaky; not only will she try to stop you dead in your tracks and force you to give up, she will sneak her way into your plans and and todo lists in the form of non-clarified next actions, forcing you to procrastinate on your goals and dreams.

    Luckily there are some ways that you can battle the Inner Critic and take over.

    1. Define exactly what you want to accomplish – also what you don’t want to accomplish
      There is nothing worse than having a project or goal that is poorly defined. The Inner Critic loves this kind of “amorphous blog of undoability” and with it tells you that, “you don’t even really know what you want in ‘life/project x/goal x’, therefore you might as well give up”.Instead, identify exactly what being done looks like and also what is outside of the scope of what you are trying to accomplish. This will ease your mind and allow you to accept that you can actually get something done.
    2. Share your thoughts with others
      One of the fastest ways to shut down the Inner Critic is to run your ideas and dreams by others. There is something about getting out of your own head; it allows you to more clearly see what you are trying to accomplish as you get instant feedback from a third-party.This type of response can prove to you that you ideas are actually good and that you can do something with them.
    3. Make constant progress
      There is nothing that the Inner Critic hates more than you actually progressing on your dream projects and goals. This type of action turns into a snowball effect where you can’t help but finish what you have started.If what you are doing is something creative, make sure to allot a certain amount of time per day to the task. No matter what give yourself this time and move forward on your project.
    4. Write, journal, diary, mindmap
      This sort of goes back to the idea of getting things out of your head. A plan that isn’t defined or at least out of your head is doomed to fail. Writing things down can help you clarify what you are trying to accomplish and can subsequently help you find what you need to do next.Also, writing every once in a while about your fears of what you are doing (or not doing) will help keep the Inner Critic at bay and allow you to concentrate on the tasks at hand.
    5. Iterate
      If you can’t seem to accomplish your tasks or keep thinking that you don’t have the skills to do so, then split them up even further, accomplish a small portion, and then come back to the next part later. Also, instead of making something perfect right-off-the-bat, make it good and then come back to it again and make it better. Keep doing this until you have accomplished what you were set out to do.Iterating in the manner can help you stave off procrastination and fear as you finish your project in smaller increments and with less stress.

    The Inner Critic can take hold of your internal talk and make you think that you are not good enough. Just remember that it has nothing to do with being “not good enough” and everything to do with not giving yourself the support that you need to move towards accomplish what you need and want to get done in your life. Use these 5 tricks to shut down the Inner Critic at first blush and move towards getting things done.

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    CM Smith

    A technologist and writer who shares advice on personal productivity, creativity and how to use technology to get things done.

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    Last Updated on March 23, 2021

    Manage Your Energy so You Can Manage Your Time

    Manage Your Energy so You Can Manage Your Time

    One of the greatest ironies of this age is that while various gadgets like smartphones and netbooks allow you to multitask, it seems that you never manage to get things done. You are caught in the busyness trap. There’s just too much work to do in one day that sometimes you end up exhausted with half-finished tasks.

    The problem lies in how to keep our energy level high to ensure that you finish at least one of your most important tasks for the day. There’s just not enough hours in a day and it’s not possible to be productive the whole time.

    You need more than time management. You need energy management

    1. Dispel the idea that you need to be a “morning person” to be productive

    How many times have you heard (or read) this advice – wake up early so that you can do all the tasks at hand. There’s nothing wrong with that advice. It’s actually reeks of good common sense – start early, finish early. The thing is that technique alone won’t work with everyone. Especially not with people who are not morning larks.

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    I should know because I was once deluded with the idea that I will be more productive if I get out of bed by 6 a.m. Like most of you Lifehackers, I’m always on the lookout for productivity hacks because I have a lot of things in my plate. I’m working full time as an editor for a news agency, while at the same time tending to my side business as a content marketing strategist. I’m also a travel blogger and oh yeah, I forgot, I also have a life.

    I read a lot of productivity books and blogs looking for ways to make the most of my 24 hours. Most stories on productivity stress waking up early. So I did – and I was a major failure in that department – both in waking up early and finishing early.

    2. Determine your “peak hours”

    Energy management begins with looking for your most productive hours in a day. Getting attuned to your body clock won’t happen instantly but there’s a way around it.

    Monitor your working habits for one week and list down the time when you managed to do the most work. Take note also of what you feel during those hours – do you feel energized or lethargic? Monitor this and you will find a pattern later on.

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    My experiment with being a morning lark proved that ignoring my body clock and just doing it by disciplining myself to wake up before 8 a.m. will push me to be more productive. I thought that by writing blog posts and other reports in the morning that I would be finished by noon and use my lunch break for a quick gym session. That never happened. I was sleepy, distracted and couldn’t write jack before 10 a.m.

    In fact that was one experiment that I shouldn’t have tried because I should know better. After all, I’ve been writing for a living for the last 15 years, and I have observed time and again that I write more –and better – in the afternoon and in evenings after supper. I’m a night owl. I might as well, accept it and work around it.

    Just recently, I was so fired up by a certain idea that – even if I’m back home tired from work – I took out my netbook, wrote and published a 600-word blog post by 11 p.m. This is a bit extreme and one of my rare outbursts of energy, but it works for me.

    3. Block those high-energy hours

    Once you have a sense of that high-energy time, you can then mold your schedule so that your other less important tasks will be scheduled either before or after this designated productive time.

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    Block them out in your calendar and use the high-energy hours for your high priority tasks – especially those that require more of your mental energy and focus. You also need to use these hours to any task that will bring you closer to you life’s goal.

    If you are a morning person, you might want to schedule most business meetings before lunch time as it’s important to keep your mind sharp and focused. But nothing is set in stone. Sometimes you have to sacrifice those productive hours to attend to other personal stuff – like if you or your family members are sick or if you have to attend your son’s graduation.

    That said, just remember to keep those productive times on your calendar. You may allow for some exemptions but stick to that schedule as much as possible.

    There’s no right or wrong way of using this energy management technique because everything depends on your own personal circumstances. What you need to remember is that you have to accept what works for you – and not what other productivity gurus say you should do.

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    Understanding your own body clock is the key to time management. Without it, you end up exhausted chasing a never-ending cycle of tasks and frustrations.

    Featured photo credit: Collin Hardy via unsplash.com

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