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Achieve Impossible Goals In 9 Simple Steps

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Achieve Impossible Goals In 9 Simple Steps

1. Set Both Realistic and Unrealistic Goals

The founders of Tasty Brand want to see more organic baby food options. Scott Harrison of charity: water wants to see clean drinking water in developing nations. While both of these goals achievable, making a snazzy new product line seems pretty small compared to bringing clean water to the world.

But both types of goals – realistic, obviously achievable ones and big, seemingly insurmountable ones – are important to help you move forward in your life. Making progress in smaller goals helps propel you on to take bigger risks and reach bigger goals. And having big goals helps you to stay motivated and understand that you are doing makes a difference.

2. Work Hard

Impossible goals take time, and you won’t get there by sitting still, making plans, and dreaming about how awesome it will be once you achieve your goals. Instead, you’ve got to make it a daily, hourly habit to be doing the work it takes to move your forward, no matter how difficult that work is.

Mark Cuban, entrepreneur, Shark Tank regular, and Mavericks owner, went through a long series of stupid, tough, dead-end job, working hard at each one and telling himself that he “was getting paid to learn and every experience would be of value.” Then he started his own business and got to work harder: “I would get so involved with learning a new piece of software that I would forget to eat and look up at the clock thinking it was 6 or 7pm and see that it was 1am or 2am.”

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3. Get Others to Work with You

You can’t do it all by yourself. When you’re pursuing big goals, you need to pull a team of supportive, smart, positive people around you. If it’s just a few select family members and friends cheering you on while you run that marathon, be sure they know how important they are to your success. And if you’re building a business, launching a product, or trying to dominate a market, get a team that is the right fit.

Sarah Shupp , CEO and Founder of UniversityParent, says that it is important to hire people “much more intentionally and carefully. Early on, I made several hiring mistakes because I felt pressure to fill a seat rather than finding the right fit. This strategy almost never worked.”

4. Don’t Make Excuses

Excuses do not help you learn. They do not help you to grow. They do not help you to make yourself better, to learn from your mistakes, or to make progress. They simply make you feel a little bit better in the moment about what you haven’t yet achieved.

If you want to achieve the unachievable, you have to start by taking full responsibility for every decision, every action, every moment of your life. Sylvester Chisom learned from his mom, a single parent, as she supported him and his sister by being a hard-working entrepreneur. Chison, now a successful entrepreneur himself, says that her inspiration helped him to bootstrap his own way to success, and now he’s paying it forward with his $50 Startup Program for Schools.

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5. Don’t Underestimate Others

People are capable of much more than we imagine, and they’re willing to invest themselves in something that matters to them. Spend time cultivating relationships that help you become a better person, and you’ll reap the benefits in your whole life. And be discerning about who you work with or pursue goals with; not everyone will share the vision, but those who do can catapult you to success.

Cyrus Massoumi, CEO and founder at ZocDoc, says that the best advice he ever got was to remember that “Your first 20 hires…will make or break your company. Your company – your brand – is the sum of its parts. It’s made of people, and better people create a better company.”

6. Be Willing to Fall

When Cass Phillipps saw her start-up go down, she didn’t spend too long moaning about the loss. Instead, she learned how to celebrate failure as a way to learn a better route to success. The lesson was so important for her, in fact, that she started FailCon, a conference that brings together hundreds of people who share – and learn – about how they’ve failed and what they have learned from those failures.

“People that use failure to become more successful are people that see their failure as a learning experience,” says Phillipps. When falling face-first is something you know you can handle, you’ll be able to learn from it and use that wisdom to push yourself up and back toward success.

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7. Make Sacrifices

Pursuing a big dream means that you have to put aside small dreams: sometimes forever, sometimes for a season, while you put all your heart and energy into whatever your impossible goal is.

Rachel Federmen, wife of entrepreneur Ben Federmen, says that realizing how much a start-up, like any big goal, will take from the other aspects of your life is important. “You almost have to treat it like you’re on a wave—when it hits you, you have to ride it and do your best to stay healthy through the process,” she says.

8. Use Your Strengths

Achieving big, even unrealistic goals, can be possible but not if your goals require you to work consistently in your areas of weakness. You can work hard, but if you’re not working hard in your strengths, you are limiting your ability.

Isaac Newton’s mother intended for him to take on the family farm, and sent him off to do it. He failed miserably. Farming was, for him, a monotonous physical endeavor which did nothing to stimulate his active mind. If he had made it his ambition to be the best farmer ever, would he have succeeded? Most likely not; his strengths were not in working the land but in working through figures, theories, and analysis with his mind. When he got into work that fit his strengths, he was noted as “an extraordinary genius and proficiency in these things.”

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When you’re pursuing a big goal, it’s important to ratchet your ability up to the highest level, which means knowing and working primarily in your strengths.

9. Don’t Back Down

A miss here or there can be discouraging enough, but what about a big miss? What about having your motives called into question, facing bankruptcy, losing your home because you mortgaged it for a dream, or seeing one start-up after another crash and burn?

Brad Keywell, co-founder of Groupon and Lifebank, says,“I’ve been involved with companies that hit dead ends, had business ideas I couldn’t get off the ground, been in situations that I desperately wanted to succeed but were on a path to failure.” But, says Keywell, hanging on with bulldog-like tenacity to the bigger dream of succeeding pushes you through every single failure. “My ability to overcome adversity has often been tied to a refusal to accept defeat and a willingness to explore other approaches to the game.”

Featured photo credit: Izzard via flickr.com

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Last Updated on October 7, 2021

Are You Addicted to Productivity?

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Are You Addicted to Productivity?

“It’s great to be productive. It really is. But sometimes, we chase productivity so much that it makes us, well, unproductive. It’s easy to read a lot about how to be more productive, but don’t forget that you have to make that time up.”

Matt Cutts wrote that back in 2013,[1]

“Today, search for ‘productivity’ and Google will come back with about 663,000,000 results. If you decide to go down this rabbit hole, you’ll be bombarded by a seemingly endless amount of content. I’m talking about books, blogs, videos, apps, podcasts, scientific studies, and subreddits all dedicated to productivity.”

Like so many other people, I’ve also fallen into this trap. For years I’ve been on the lookout for trends and hacks that will help me work faster and more efficiently — and also trends that help me help others to be faster. I’ve experimented with various strategies and tools . And, while some of these strategies and solutions have been extremely useful — without parsing out what you need quickly — it’s counterproductive.

Sometimes you end up spending more time focusing on how to be productive instead of actually being productive.

“The most productive people I know don’t read these books, they don’t watch these videos, they don’t try a new app every month,” James Bedell wrote in a Medium post.[2] “They are far too busy getting things done to read about Getting Things Done.”

This is my mantra:

I proudly say, “I am addicted to productivity — I want to be addicted to productivity — productivity is my life and my mission — and I also want to find the best way to lead others through productivity to their best selves.

But most of the time productivity means putting your head down and working until the job’s done.” –John Rampton

Addiction to Productivity is Real

Dr. Sandra Chapman, director of the University of Texas at Dallas Center for BrainHealth points out that the brain can get addicted to productivity just as it can to more common sources of addiction, such as drugs, gambling, eating, and shopping.

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“A person might crave the recognition their work gives them or the salary increases they get,” Chapman told the BBC.[3] “The problem is that just like all addictions, over time, a person needs more and more to be satisfied, and then it starts to work against you. Withdrawal symptoms include increased anxiety, depression, and fear.”

Despite the harmful consequences, addiction is considered by some experts as a brain disease that affects the brain’s reward system and ends in compulsive behavior. Regardless, society tends to reward productivity — or at least to treat it positively. As a result, this makes the problem even worse.

“It’s seen like a good thing: the more you work, the better,” adds Chapman. “Many people don’t realize the harm it causes until a divorce occurs and a family is broken apart, or the toll it takes on mental health.”

Because of the occasional negative issues with productivity, it’s no surprise that it is considered a “mixed-blessing addiction.”

“A workaholic might be earning a lot of money, just as an exercise addict is very fit,” explains Dr. Mark Griffiths, distinguished professor of behavioral addiction at Nottingham Trent University. “But the thing about any addiction is that in the long run, the detrimental effects outweigh any short-term benefits.”

“There may be an initial period where the individual who is developing a work addiction is more productive than someone who isn’t addicted to work, but it will get to a point when they are no longer productive, and their health and relationships are affected,” Griffiths writes in Psychology Today.[4] “It could be after one year or more, but if the individual doesn’t do anything about it, they could end up having serious health consequences.”

“For instance, I speculated that the consequences of work addiction may be reclassified as something else: If someone ends up dying of a work-related heart attack, it isn’t necessarily seen as having anything to do with an addiction per se – it might be attributed to something like burnout,” he adds.

There Are Three “Distinct Extreme Productivity Types

Cyril Peupion, a Sydney-based productivity expert, has observed extreme productivity among clients at both large and medium-sized companies. “Most people who come to me are high performers and very successful. But often, the word they use to describe their work style is ‘unsustainable,’ and they need help getting it back on track.”

By changing their work habits, Peupion assists teams and individuals improve their performance and ensure that their efforts are aligned with the overarching strategy of the business, rather than focusing on work as a means to an end. He has distinguished three types of extreme productivity in his classification: efficiency obsessive, selfishly productive, and quantity-obsessed.

Efficiency obsessive. “Their desks are super tidy and their pens are probably color-coded. They are the master of ‘inbox zero.’ But they have lost sight of the big picture, and don’t know the difference between efficiency and effectiveness.”

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Selfishly productive. “They are so focused on their own world that if they are asked to do something outside of it, they aren’t interested. They do have the big picture in mind, but the picture is too much about them.”

Quantity-obsessed. “They think; ‘The more emails I respond to, the more meetings I attend, the more tasks I do, the higher my performance.’ As a result, they face a real risk of burnout.”

Peupion believes that “quantity obsessed” individuals are the most common type “because there is a pervasive belief that ‘more’ means ‘better’ at work.”

The Warning Signs of Productivity Addiction

Here are a few questions you should ask yourself if you think you may be succumbing to productivity addiction. After all, most of us aren’t aware of this until it’s too late.

  • Can you tell when you’re “wasting” time? If so, have you ever felt guilty about it?
  • Does technology play a big part in optimizing your time management?
  • Do you talk about how busy you are most of the time? In your opinion, is hustling better than doing less?
  • What is your relationship with your email inbox? Are you constantly checking it or experience phantom notifications?
  • When you only check one item off your list, do you feel guilty?
  • Does stress from work interfere with your sleep?
  • Have you been putting things off, like a vacation or side project, because you’re “too swamped?

The first step toward turning around your productivity obsession is to recognize it. If you answered “yes” to any of the above questions, then it’s time to make a plan to overcome your addiction to productivity.

Overcoming Your Productivity Addiction

Thankfully, there are ways to curb your productivity addiction. And, here are 9 such ways to achieve that goal.

1. Set Limits

Just because you’re hooked on productivity doesn’t mean you have to completely abstain from it. Instead, you need to establish boundaries.

For example, there are a lot of amazing productivity podcasts out there. But, that doesn’t mean you have to listen to them all in the course of a day. Instead, you could listen to one or two podcasts, like The Productivity Podcast or Before Breakfast, during your commute. And, that would be your only time of the day to get your productivity fix.

2. Create a Not-to-Do List

Essentially, the idea of a not-to-do list is to eliminate the need to practice self-discipline. Getting rid of low-value tasks and bad habits will allow you to focus on what you really want to do as opposed to weighing the pros and cons or declining time requests. More importantly, this prevents you from feeling guilty about not crossing everything off an unrealistic to-do list.

3. Be Vulnerable

By this, I mean admitting where you could improve. For example, if you’re new to remote work and are struggling with thi s, you would only focus on topics in this area. Suggestions would be how to create a workspace at home, not getting distracted when the kids aren’t in school, or improving remote communication and collaboration with others.

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4. Understand Why You Procrastinate

Often, we procrastinate to minimize negative emotions like boredom or stress. Other times it could be because it’s a learned trait, underestimating how long it takes you to complete something or having a bias towards a task.

Regardless of the exact reason, we end up doing busy work, scrolling social media, or just watching one more episode of our favorite TV series. And, even though we know that it’s not for the best, we do things that make us feel better than the work we should do to restore our mood.[5]

There are a lot of ways to overcome procrastination. But, the first step is to be aware of it so that you can take action. For example, if you’re dreading a difficult task, don’t just watch Netflix. Instead, procrastinate more efficiently,y like returning a phone call or working on a client pitch.

5. Don’t Be a Copycat

Let’s keep this short and sweet. When you find a productivity app or technique that works for you, stick with it.

That’s not to say that you can’t make adjustments along the way or try new tools or hacks. However, the main takeaway should be that just because someone swears by the Pomodoro Technique doesn’t mean it’s a good fit for you.

6. Say Yes to Less

Across the board, your philosophy should be less is more.

That means only download the apps you actually use and want to keep (after you try them out) and uninstall the ones you don’t use. For example, are you currently reading a book on productivity? Don’t buy your next book until you’ve finished the one you’re currently reading (or permit yourself to toss a book that isn’t doing you any good). — and if you really want to finish a book more quickly, listen to the book on your way to work and back.

Already have plans this weekend? Don’t commit to a birthday party. And, if you’re day is booked, decline that last-minute meeting request.

7. Stop Focusing on What’s Next

“In the age when purchasing a thing from overseas is just one click and talking to another person is one swipe right, acquiring new objects or experiences can be addictive like anything else,” writes Patrick Banks for Lifehack .

“That doesn’t need to be you,” he adds. “You can stop your addition to ‘the next thing’ starting today.” After all, “there will always be this next thing if you don’t make a conscious decision to get your life back together and be the one in charge.”

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  • Think about your current lifestyle and the person you’re at this stage to help you identify what you aren’t satisfied with.
  • By setting clear goals for yourself in the future, you will be able to overcome your addiction.
  • Establish realistic goals.
  • To combat addiction, you must be aware of what is going on around you, as well as inside your head, at any given time.
  • Don’t spend time with people who have unhealthy behaviors.
  • Hold yourself accountable.
  • Keep a journal and write out what you want to overcome.
  • Appreciate no longer being addicted to what’s next.

8. Simplify

Each day, pick one priority task. That’s it. As long as you concentrate on one task at a time, you will be less likely to get distracted or overwhelmed by an endless list of tasks. A simple mantra to live by is: work smarter, not harder.

The same is also accurate with productivity hacks and tools. Bullet journaling is a great example. Unfortunately, for many, a bullet journal is way more time-consuming and overwhelming than a traditional planner.

9. Learn How to Relax

“Sure, we need to produce sometimes, especially if we have to pay the bills, but, banning obsession with productivity is unhealthy,” writes Leo Babauta. “When you can’t get yourself to be productive, relax.” Don’t worry about being hyper-efficient. And, don’t beat yourself up about having fun.

“But what if you can’t motivate yourself … ever?” he asks. “Sure, that can be a problem. But if you relax and enjoy yourself, you’ll be happier.”

“And if you work when you get excited, on things you’re excited about, and create amazing things, that’s motivation,” Leo states. “Not forcing yourself to work when you don’t want to, on things you don’t want to work on — motivation is doing things you love when you get excited.”

But, how exactly can you relax? Here are some tips from Leo;

  • Spend 5 minutes walking outside and breathe in the fresh air.
  • Give yourself more time to accomplish things. Less rushing means less stress.
  • If you can, get outside after work to enjoy nature.
  • Play like a child. Even better? Play with your kids. And, have fun at work — maybe give gamification a try .
  • Take the day off, rest, and do something non-work-related.
  • Allow yourself an hour of time off. Try not to be productive during that time. Just relax.
  • You should work with someone who is exciting. Make your project exciting.
  • Don’t work in the evenings. Seriously.
  • Visit a massage therapist.
  • Just breathe.

“Step by step, learn to relax,” he suggests. “Learn that productivity isn’t everything.” For that statement, sorry Leo, I say productivity isn’t everything — it’s the only thing.” However, if you can’t cut loose, relax, do fun things, and do the living part of your life — you’ll crack in a big way — you really will.

It’s great to create and push forward — just remember it doesn’t mean that every minute must be spent working or obsessing over productivity issues. Instead, invest your time in meaningful, high-impact work, get into it, focus, put in big time and then relax.

Are You Addicted to Productivity? was originally published on Calendar by John Rampton.

Featured photo credit: Christina @ wocintechchat.com via unsplash.com

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