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How To Be The Master of Your Dreams

How To Be The Master of Your Dreams

Many people all over the globe dream about doing great things but never really get down the achieving them. In my viewpoint, these people aren’t foolish, laggards or cowardly: they merely have yet to find out ways to turn their dreams into reality. Dreams, like fire, are very powerful, but one is better off if the dream is one’s servant rather than one’s master.

Dreams are part of our lives and we cannot wish them away (as they are often in our subconscious minds), but as human beings we would rather fantasize than actually experience the challenges of what living out our dreams might entail. We know that living our dreams means we have to fight failure, frustration, monotony and long days in order to welcome success, jubilation and recognition, and as if our dreams know this, they encourage us to focus on the positive facets of realizing them. It’s as though we have sieves that filter out the difficult tasks and events that could stop us from achieving our goals.

Positive and Negative Aspects of Our Dreams

Well, no one is against dreaming here: in fact, dreaming is a pretty important aspect of our lives. We  should all have a vision that results from a dream we wish to attain, and it’s important to develop smart objectives of what we want to achieve in our lifetime. It is here that dreaming comes to our assistance by helping us shape our vision as well as our objectives. Dreams themselves are not bad at all, but they can be detrimental when one is stuck on a vision or objective that clearly cannot work out. For example, imagining that your lover will come back to life after they pass on may help with the healing process in the short run, but it will not bring the dead to life. After some time, that dream had better stop to pave room for other, more realistic dreams.

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In the case of dreaming about unrealistic events, dreams become your master, rather than your servant. Dreaming can also become your master if they stop you from taking that initial step in making your dreams come true. If you feel lady luck has to confirm something before you can to forge ahead with action, then you are clearly the servant. Fantasies are your master when you can’t change your dream to accommodate the random challenges that life tosses at you.

Ways in Which Dreams Can Control You

There are other ways that your dreams can control you: they master your behavior when you find a pure, unadulterated variation of your goal, and refuse to adjust to it because it is not what you had envisaged. Perhaps an alternative plan has presented itself, but because you are so transfixed on the initial dream, you still insist on following it and ignoring every thing else. Seeking the perfect time, or seeking the ideal situation, is precisely how your dream gets delayed or unachieved.

Setting Yourself Free

If you want to turn your life around and become the master of your dream then you must reflect back upon the points above and figure out who the master has been. Is it you or your dreams? If your fantasies have been in control, then you need to find a way to free yourself from their bonds.

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To do this, the first thing you need to do is to make decisions, and apply them. Remember that so long as you are unsure about what needs to be done, you won’t have the ability to move forward with your goal. If you wish to move forward, you simply have to choose a direction, and move towards it: any decision you make will spur you into action. At this point, don’t worry if your decisions are disastrous—if your decision produces a bad result, you can always change direction later on.

It’s also important not to over-analyze your vision. We often have a bad habit of focusing on how much cash we might make, or what awards we might get, immersing ourselves in case studies, etc. That in itself is okay, so long as we don’t get stuck there. In over-analyzing dreams, you will procrastinate a lot and fail to realize the goal you had in mind. Instead of analyzing all the “what if?” aspects of recognizing your ambition, make solid choices that will help you achieve them.

Self-Awareness and Detachment

When pursuing your dreams, it’s important to not compare yourself with others. You’ll never have the ability to attain the kind of success that someone else has already accomplished, and no-one else will be able to accomplish the kind of success that you might potentially accomplish. Each journey is an individual one, so focus on achieving the success that is only feasible for you.

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Ultimately, to win at mastering your dreams, you also need to detach yourself from the outcome and remember that you are just participating in the process. What will come of out of your efforts is not only up to you, as there will always be external factors. What you can control is your own effort in pursuing your goal.

Keep in mind that dreaming is good, but just like anything else, too much of it can be harmful. Daydream in moderation, but don’t let those fantasies keep you from accomplishing your dreams themselves.

If you follow the simple suggestions above, you will undoubtedly help your dreams become reality.

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Featured photo credit:  Painting the world. Smiling girl on grass with a paintbrush via Shutterstock

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Forget Learning How to Multitask: Boost Productivity 10X More with Focus

Forget Learning How to Multitask: Boost Productivity 10X More with Focus

There’s a dark side to the conveniences of the Digital Age. With smartphones that function like handheld computers, it has become increasingly difficult to leave our work behind. Sometimes it seems like we’re expected to be accessible 24/7.

How often are you ever focused on just one thing? Most of us try to meet these demands by multi-tasking.

Many of us have bought into the myth that we can achieve more through multi-tasking. In this article, I’ll show you how you can accomplish more work in less time. Spoiler alert: multi-tasking is not the answer.

Why is multitasking a myth?

The term “multi-tasking” was originally used to describe how microprocessors in computers work. Machines multitask, but people cannot.

Despite our inability to simultaneously perform two tasks at once, many people believe they are excellent multi-taskers.

You can probably imagine plenty of times when you do several things at once. Maybe you talk on the phone while you’re cooking or respond to emails during your commute.

Consider the amount of attention that each of these tasks requires. Chances are, at least one of the two tasks in question is simple enough to be carried out on autopilot.

We’re okay at simultaneously performing simple tasks, but what if you were trying to perform two complex tasks? Can you really work on your presentation and watch a movie at the same time? It can be fun to try to watch TV while you work, but you may be unintentionally making your work more difficult and time-consuming.

Your brain on multi-tasking

Your brain wasn’t designed to multi-tasking. To compensate, it will switch from task to task. Your focus turns to whatever task seems more urgent. The other task falls into the background until you realize you’ve been neglecting it.

When you’re bouncing back and forth like this, an area of the brain known as Broadmann’s Area 10 activates. Located in your fronto-polar prefrontal cortex at the very front of the brain, this area controls your ability to shift focus. People who think they are excellent multitaskers are really just putting Broadmann’s Area 10 to work.

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But I can juggle multiple tasks!

You are capable of taking in information with your eyes while doing other things efficiently. Scientifically speaking, making use of your vision is the only thing you can truly do while doing something else.

For everything else, you’re serial tasking. This constant refocusing can be exhausting, and it prevents us from giving our work the deep attention it deserves.

Think about how much longer it takes to do something when you have to keep reminding yourself to focus.

Why multitasking is failing you

Multitasking does more bad than good to your productivity, here’re 4 reasons why you should stop multitasking:

Multitasking wastes your time.

You lose time when you interrupt yourself. People lose an average of 2.1 hours per day getting themselves back on track when they switch between tasks.

In fact, some studies suggest that doing multiple things at once decreases your productivity by as much as 40%. That’s a significant loss in efficiency. You wouldn’t want your surgeon to be 40% less productive while you’re on the operating table, would you?

It makes you dumber.

A distracted brain performs a full 10 IQ points lower than a focused brain. You’ll also be more forgetful, slower at completing tasks, and more likely to make mistakes.

You’ll have to work harder to fix your mistakes. If you miss an important detail, you could risk injury or fail to complete the task properly.

This is an emotional response.

There’s so much data suggesting that multitasking is ineffective but people insist that they can multitask.

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Feeling productive fulfills an emotional need. We want to feel like we’re accomplishing something. Why accomplish just one item on the to-do list when you can check off two or three?

It’ll wear you out.

When you’re jumping from task to task, it can feel invigorating for a little while. Over time, this needs to fill every second with more and more work leads to burn out.

We’re simply not built to multitask, so when we try, the effect can be exhausting. This destroys your productivity and your motivation.

How to stop multitasking and work productively

Flitting back and forth between tasks feels second-nature after a while. This is in part because Broadmann’s Area 10 becomes better at serial tasking through time.

In addition to changing how the brain works, this serial tasking behavior can quickly turn into a habit.

Just like any bad habit, you’ll need to recognize that you need to make a change first. Luckily, there are a few simple things you can do to adjust to a lifestyle of productive mono-tasking:

1. Consciously change gears

Instead of trying to work on two distinct tasks at once, consider setting up a system to remind you when to change focus. This technique worked for Jerry Linenger, an American astronaut onboard the space station, Mir.

As an astronaut, he had many things to take care of every day. He set alarms for himself on a few watches. When a particular watch sounded, he knew it was time to switch tasks. This enabled him to be 100% in tune with what he was doing at any given moment.

This strategy is effective because the alarm served as his reminder for what was to come next. Linenger’s intuition about setting reminders falls in line with research conducted by Paul Burgess of University College, London on multitasking.

2. Manage multiple tasks without multitasking

Raj Dash of Performancing.com has an effective strategy for balancing multiple projects without multitasking. He suggests taking 15 minutes to acquaint yourself with a new project before moving on to other work. Revisit the project later and do about thirty minutes on research and brainstorming.

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Allow a few days to pass before knocking out the project in question. While you were actively work on other projects, your brain continues to problem solve-in the background.

This method works because it gives us the opportunity to work on several projects without allowing them to compete for your attention.

3. Set aside distractions

Your smartphone, your inbox and the open tabs on your computer are all open invitations for distraction. Give yourself time each day when you silence your notifications, close your inbox and remove unnecessary tabs from your desktop.

If you want to focus, you can’t give anything else an opportunity to invade your mental space.

Emails can be particularly invasive because they often have an unnecessary sense of urgency associated with them. Some work cultures stress the importance of prompt responses to these messages, but we can’t treat every situation like an emergency.

Designate certain times in your day for checking and responding to emails to avoid compulsive checking.

4. Take care of yourself

We often blame electronics for pulling us from our work, but sometimes our physical body forces us into a state of serial tasking. If you’re hungry while you’re trying to work, your attention will flip between your hunger and your work until you take care of your physical needs.

Try to take all your bio-breaks before you sit down for an uninterrupted stint of work.

In addition, you’ll also want to be sure you’re attending to your health in a broader sense. Getting enough exercise, practicing mindfulness and incorporating regular breaks into your day will keep you from being tempted by distractions.

5. Take a break

People are more likely to head to YouTube or check their social media when they need a break. Instead of trying to work and watch a mindless video at the same time, give yourself times when you’re allowed to enjoy your distracting activity of choice.

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Limit how much time you’ll spend on this break so that your guilt-free distraction time doesn’t turn into hours of wasted time.

6. Make technology your ally

Scientists are beginning to discover the detrimental effects of chronic serial tasking on our brains. Some companies are developing programs to curb this desire to multitask.

Apps like Forest turn staying focused into a game. Extensions like RescueTime help you track your online habits so that you can be more aware of how you spend your time.

The key to productivity: Focus

Multitasking is not the key to productivity. It’s far better to schedule time to focus on each task than it is to try to do everything at once.

Make use of the methods outlined above and prepare to be more effective and less exhausted in the process.

If you want to learn more about how to focus, don’t miss my other article:

How to Focus and Maximize Your Productivity (the Definitive Guide)

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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