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7 Reasons Why You’re Doing Everything Badly

7 Reasons Why You’re Doing Everything Badly

Only going through the motions can lead to a poor life. Step away from the fear and the multi-tasking. Doing everything badly doesn’t have to be a lifestyle.

1. Rushing ahead has become your go-to action.

Doing everything badly is one part mental and one part physical. If your mind is always on the finish line, you won’t be in the present. And you won’t be alert to the details or what’s going on around you. If you are rushing through your work or projects, you may be getting involved with things that you have no true passion for because you are not relishing in all the various aspects of the topic or activity at hand. This is a sure path to failure and discontent.

You will continue to do everything badly if you insist on this pattern. If you spend your time engaging in activities to please others or to merely complete a goal, you may find yourself going through the motions, but only half alive. You will begin to live like this, as well. The quality of your work will suffer and eventually your health.

Rushing through things or producing poor work creates tension and anxiety, which leads to even more stress. Rushing ahead and prizing quantity over quality only adds to stress. A frenzied outlook will spread to those around you, and in the end your productivity will dwindle. Living and working on autopilot will not serve you well and is a way many continue to do everything badly.

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2. Too much multi-tasking.

Multi-tasking doesn’t mean taking care of multiple things in a day. It means doing multiple tasks at once, often poorly. It’s exhausting just writing about it.

If you volunteer yourself for more work or responsibilities before you have even completed the ones in front of you, or if you are attempting to do several chores or activities at once, you will notice quickly that it’s nearly impossible to provide each activity with the same quality of attention, and in the end, you will find yourself doing everything badly. It will nag at your self-confidence and you’ll burn out.

In some cultures or societies, being over-committed shows you care or you are capable or you are important. It’s time to challenge this behavior and stop doing everything badly. Neurologists have come to the conclusion one can’t be truly successful if they have spread their thinking across a myriad of goals at once. Stop for a moment, and think about how draining it is to multi-task daily. If you want to stop doing everything badly, find more positive ways to delegate chores or tasks throughout your day, instead of all at once.

3. All work, no play.

We all need downtime. Treating ourselves like machines and demanding we are always on, ready to produce, perform and please will only encourage us to continue doing everything badly. Many successful people throughout history have benefitted from scheduling light hearted activities into their busy lives.

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Those bits of free time dispersed throughout the day can make room for creativity, insightfulness and even make us “more ethical”, according to scientists at the University of Southern California. Rest, quiet time or a little playfulness can aide in mental and physical health. It’s time you took playtime seriously. Playtime can help you stop doing everything badly.

4. You’ve come to expect only one outcome.

Thinking that you already know how things will turn out, or expecting one outcome over all else, will perpetuate you doing everything badly. With age, I have come to understand that life is constantly challenging what I expect and demand of it. Life is unruly and offers many plot twists.

Writer Kathryn Schulz notes in a TED presentation that we are often relying on an internal guide to rightness that is often out of touch with our external world. We get stuck, realize we are doing things badly, and begin thinking we are what’s wrong. We must acknowledge our fallibility but also step outside of it, stop over-reacting to our failures and when we let go of what is supposed to be, we encounter what will really be.

5. You’ve begun to rely on fear and are losing curiosity.

Plotting your goals and life plans based on fears or expectations is a slow and vicious death. It is one of the reasons we do things badly. A life without curiosity will lead to quick stagnation and monotony. You’ve compared yourself to others, tried to live someone else’s dream or became apathetic and retreated to your shell. You don’t want to know anything else, you don’t want to feel anything else. We have all been there.

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When you get into a psychological rhythm of chastising yourself or approaching everything with suspicion instead of curiosity, you will continue doing things badly. You begin to think that it’s better to not even try lest you fail.

6. Avoiding the lesson at the end of each failure keeps you doing everything badly.

F. Scott Fitzgerald once wrote, “Never confuse a single failure with a final defeat.” Just because you have been failing doesn’t mean it’s the end of everything. The most important part of your journey, will be in accepting the lessons that you encounter with each disappointment. These lessons are what will empower you to prepare for and attempt another path.

Not learning anything new is akin to paralysis. You remain frozen in time, reliving the same things over and over again, and continuously doing everything badly, with no change in sight. Sometimes the lesson will be painful. But it will always make us stronger in the wounded parts.

7. Practicing Has Become Just Another Boring Chore. 

Practice makes better. No one is perfect. Perfection can be an elusive goal that you spend your whole life chasing after. Practicing a skill or learning to code a new computer language requires diligence, time allotted for mastery and not focusing on perfection itself, but rather the quality of the work.

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If you are thinking that you will fail anyways, or that it is too hard to become a master or even proficient at something, you will have already decided to not even start. If you are committing yourself to practicing something you have no interest in, you should ask why you even picked it up in the first place.

If it truly was not of your volition, find another skill or hobby that was your intention. When you do not like what you are doing, everyone can see it. You will not be successful at anything when frowning in disgust. And you will not be happy, either. Doing everything badly is a pattern you can break, by replacing poor productivity and action for the sake of action with tried and true authenticity.

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Last Updated on July 21, 2021

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system.”[1]

A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

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From Creating Reminders to Building Habits

A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being 6 hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

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The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

The Wonderful Thing About Triggers — Reminders

A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

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But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

How to Make a Reminder Works for You

Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

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Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

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Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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Reference

[1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

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