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8 Things That Are Secretly Destroying Your Plan

8 Things That Are Secretly Destroying Your Plan

First, let’s agree on something. Without a plan, you lack direction and focus and have no way to measure progress. You can only measure what happened, not the progress you are making. Basically, without a plan you are planning to fail. But having a plan doesn’t mean you will succeed. Often times, even with a plan, you will fail. Here are eight things that most likely are destroying your plan.

1. You set unrealistic time frames to achieve your goals.

You can’t become a successful person overnight and you can’t lose 100 pounds in one week. (I am sorry to tell you that these things advertised in infomercials don’t actually work.) You need to set realistic goals, or you will be disappointed when you don’t achieve your “big” goal, and that might lead to you giving up. That’s something we don’t want, right?

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2. You are not asking for support.

You can’t always make it on your own, and requesting support from your friends, colleagues, family and coach can give you the extra oomph you need to succeed. It’s OK to ask for help.

3. You are not learning from your mistakes.

Along the way, you are going to make mistakes. In order to learn and fix things, you need to step back and observe what went wrong. Don’t ignore it and hope it won’t happen again. Not learning from your mistakes can also lead you to beating yourself up. Avoid this path by accepting the mistake, learning and moving forward.

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4. You don’t believe.

As Yoda said to Luke Skywalker, “You don’t believe it, that’s why you fail.” You have to have faith that things are going to work out, that everything you do will work out in the end. You need to believe in yourself and your abilities, because YOU CAN DO IT. A favorite quote of mine says: “By believing passionately in something that does not yet exist, we create it.” You see, the first step before anyone believes in you is believing in yourself.

5. You have Plan B which is distracting you from Plan A.

As Will Smith said:

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Will Smith QUote, destroy plan, Quote by will smith, No reason to have plan b, plan a,

    The mentality behind having a “Plan B” is solely based on the idea of you failing; therefore it is fundamentally flawed. By having a back up plan, you already accept the idea that there is a possibility that “Plan A” (which is totally awesome) will fail. So guess what? You will fail because you already told yourself that when you do fail that, “Oh hey, no worries, I have a back up plan.”

    6. You are not improving.

    Don’t stop improving. Try to learn new things and acquire new skills as much as you can. Don’t be disappointed if your business plan fails because you stopped improving.

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    7. You are not willing to change.

    You and your plan must be nimble and able to adapt as conditions change. When setting up plans, you should pay attention to the changes around you. You should try to adapt as quickly as possible when something unexpected happens. Sometimes you will have to move on; other times, you will have to overcome difficulties. You shouldn’t be afraid to make changes.

    8. You are not fully committed.

    You can’t be lazy when it comes to your plans. You can’t procrastinate. If you are procrastinator, read how to stop procrastinating in 5 easy steps.You must be fully devoted to your plans and goals or you won’t reach the end zone. If you lack commitment, you won’t give the act of goal attainment, full effort. And as with anything in life, if you don’t give it your all, you receive mediocre results. Commitment is crucial for attaining any goal.

    What would you add to the list? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

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    Last Updated on April 19, 2021

    The Art of Taking a Break So You Will Be Productive Again

    The Art of Taking a Break So You Will Be Productive Again

    Think of yourself as a cup. Each day, you wake up full. But as you go about your day—getting tasks done and interacting with people—the amount in your cup gradually gets lower. And as such, you get less and less effective at whatever it is you’re supposed to be doing. You’re running out of steam.

    The solution is obvious: if you don’t have anything left to pour out, then you need to find a way to fill yourself up again. In work terms, that means you should take a break—an essential form of revitalizing your motivation and focus.

    Taking a break may get a bad rap in hustle culture, but it’s an essential, science-based way to ensure you have the capacity to live your life the way you want to live it.

    In the 1980s, when scientists began researching burnout, they described this inner capacity as “resources.” We all need to replenish our resources to cope with stress, work effectively, and avoid burnout.[1]

    When the goal is to get things done, it may sound counterproductive to stop what you’re doing. But if you embrace the art of taking a break, you can be more efficient and effective at work.

    Here are five ways on how you can take a break and boost your productivity.

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    1. Break for the Right Amount of Time, at the Right Time

    When I started my first job out of college, I was bent on pleasing my boss as most entry-level employees do. So, every day, I punched in at 9 AM on the dot, took a 60-minute lunch break at noon, and left no earlier than 5 PM.

    As I’ve logged more hours in my career, I’ve realized the average, eight-hour workday with an hour lunch break simply isn’t realistic—especially if your goal is to put your best foot forward at work.

    That’s why popular productivity techniques like the Pomodoro advocate for the “sprint” principle. Basically, you work for a short burst, then stop for a short, five-minute break. While the Pomodoro technique is a step forward, more recent research shows a shorter burst of working followed by a longer pause from work might actually be a more effective way to get the most out of stepping away from your desk.

    The team at DeskTime analyzed more than 5 million records of how workers used their computers on the job. They found that the most productive people worked an average of 52 minutes, then took a 17-minute break afterward.[2]

    What’s so special about those numbers? Leave it to neuroscience. According to researchers, the human brain naturally works in spurts of activity that last an hour. Then, it toggles to “low-activity mode.”[3]

    Even so, keep in mind that whatever motivates you is the most effective method. It’s more about the premise—when you know you have a “finish line” approaching, you can stay focused on the task or project at hand.

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    There are many applications and tools that can help you block distracting websites and apps (such as social media) for specific periods of the day. Similarly, you can also use some mailing apps like Mailbrew to receive all the social media content or newsletters you don’t want to miss in your inbox at a time you decide.

    So, no matter how long you work, take a break when you sense you’re losing steam or getting bored with the task. Generally, a 10-15 minute break should reinvigorate you for whatever’s coming next.

    2. Get a Change of Scenery—Ideally, Outdoors

    When it comes to increasing a person’s overall mental health, there’s no better balm than nature. Research has found that simply being outside can restore a person’s mind from mental fatigue related to work or studying, ultimately contributing to improved work performance (and even improved work satisfaction).[4]

    No lush forest around? Urban nature can be just as effective to get the most out of your break-taking. Scientists Stephen R. Kellert and Edward O. Wilson, in their book The Biophilia Hypothesis, claimed that even parks, outdoor paths, and building designs that embrace “urban nature” can lend a sense of calm and inspiration, encouraging learning and alertness for workers.

    3. Move Your Body

    A change of scenery can do wonders for your attention span and ability to focus, but it’s even more beneficial if you pair it with physical movement to pump up that adrenaline of yours. Simply put, your body wasn’t designed to be seated the entire day. In fact, scientists now believe that extended periods of sitting are just as dangerous to health as smoking.[5]

    It’s not always feasible to enjoy the benefits of a 30-minute brisk walk during your workday, especially since you’ll most likely have less energy during workdays. But the good news is, for productivity purposes, you don’t have to. Researchers found that just 10 minutes of exercise can boost your memory and attention span throughout the entire day.[6]

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    So, instead of using your break to sit and read the news or scroll your social media account, get out of your chair and move your body. Take a quick walk around the block. Do some jumping jacks in your home office. Whatever you choose, you’ll likely find yourself with a sharper focus—and more drive to get things done.

    4. Connect With Another Person

    Social connection is one of the most important factors for resilience. When we’re in a relationship with other people, it’s easier to cope with stress—and in my experience, getting social can also help to improve focus after a work break.

    One of my favorite ways to break after a 30-or-so minute sprint is to hang out with my family. And once a week, I carve out time to Skype my relatives back in Turkey. It’s amazing how a bit of levity and emotional connection can rev me up for the next work sprint.

    Now that most of us are working from home, getting some face-to-face time with a loved one isn’t as hard as it once was. So, take the time to chat with your partner. Take your kids outside to run around the backyard. If you live alone, call a friend or relative. Either way, coming up for air to chat with someone who knows and cares about you will leave you feeling invigorated and inspired.

    5. Use Your Imagination

    When you’re working with your head down, your brain has an ongoing agenda: get things done, and do it well. That can be an effective method for productivity, but it only lasts so long—especially because checking things off your to-do list isn’t the only ingredient to success at work. You also need innovation.

    That’s why I prioritize a “brain break” every day. When I feel my “cup” getting empty, I usually choose another creative activity to exercise my brain, like a Crossword puzzle, Sudoku, or an unrelated, creative project in my house.

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    And when I’m really struggling to focus, I don’t do anything at all. Instead, I let my brain roam free for a bit, following my thoughts down whatever trail they lead me. As it turns out, there’s a scientific benefit to daydreaming. It reinforces creativity and helps you feel more engaged with the world, which will only benefit you in your work.[7]

    Whether you help your kids with their distance learning homework, read an inspiring book, or just sit quietly to enjoy some fresh air, your brain will benefit from an opportunity to think and feel without an agenda. And, if you’re anything like me, you might just come up with your next great idea when you aren’t even trying.

    Final Thoughts

    Most of us have to work hard for our families and ourselves. And the current world we live in demands the highest level of productivity that we can offer. However, we also have to take a break once in a while. We are humans, after all.

    Learning the art of properly taking a break will not only give you the rest you need but also increase your productivity in the long run.

    More on the Importance of Taking a Break

    Featured photo credit: Helena Lopes via unsplash.com

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