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You’ll Hate Yourself Later If You Don’t Get Rid Of These Habits

You’ll Hate Yourself Later If You Don’t Get Rid Of These Habits

Some people succeed and others fail. The key difference between the two groups is not talent or luck. It is what they choose to do and choose not to do. Here are seven of the key habits of ineffective people.

1. They drift.

Ineffective people drift though life with no clear goals. They approach each day in a haphazard way without any priorities. They do not have a to do list, or if they have one they ignore it. They are busy all day without ever accomplishing the really significant things they should do. They find it hard to differentiate between jobs that are urgent and jobs that are important. They do not measure progress against written objectives because they do not set themselves any objectives.

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2. They settle for second best.

These people do not lack ambition, but they have modest ambitions. They want to do well, but do not demand high standards of themselves. Deep down they know that they are capable of achieving much more in their chosen fields, but they are satisfied with mediocre attainments. Highly effective people are self-critical. They have enormous self-belief and they set high standards for themselves.

3. They avoid risk and discomfort.

Successful people are prepared to move out of their comfort zones and take some calculated risks. Ineffective people prefer to stay doing what they know they can do. They do not want to try new things at which they could fail or make a fool of themselves. They are reluctant to learn new skills; instead they are keen to keep treading the paths they know well.

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4. They are easily distracted.

Unproductive people spend time on easy, low-value activities and find it hard to get round to the really tough but critical tasks. They waste time watching TV, reading social media, surfing the web or playing games. They mean to do some important work but find that other things keep getting in the way.

5. They are indecisive.

Successful people make choices, they are decisive – and they get quite a few decisions wrong. But they move forward. When they see an opportunity, they seize it. Unsuccessful people often avoid hard choices. They defer decisions. They wait to see what will happen. They fear that if they make a decision it might turn out to be the wrong decision so they pause. They do not move forward. They miss opportunities.

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6. They do not work through people.

Successful people achieve success by asking, motivating and involving others. They network and approach contacts for help and information. Ineffective people prefer to browse the internet and occasionally meet some familiar people face to face. They do not actively network and engage others in their plans and projects.

7. They blame others.

Ineffective people have a long list of excuses. They are victims. Their parents, teachers, bosses and colleagues have all let them down from time to time. They have been unlucky. Fate has conspired against them. Successful people take ownership of their lives and do not blame others. They know that it is their actions and choices that determine their success or failure.

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If you read the biographies of successful people in different fields you find that they share some common habits. They set goals, they believe in themselves, they take risks, they work through people, they demand much of themselves, they make decisions and they take full responsibility for their careers and objectives. It is not so easy to read the stories of ineffective people because, although there are a great many of them, very few warrant a biography. However, just like the successful, the ineffective are shaped by their habits, actions and attitudes.

How can an ineffective person become effective and successful? First by acknowledging that they have some bad habits that are restricting them, and then by taking actions to break the habits. Ingrained habits are hard to break, but it can be done. That is what successful people do.

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Paul Sloane

Professional Keynote Speaker, Author, Innovation Expert

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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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