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How to Create Self Help Momentum

How to Create Self Help Momentum

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    In order to get anywhere – either literally or metaphorically – we need to create and maintain a certain level of momentum. Sitting in your very-capable Porsche won’t get you anywhere unless you choose to start the engine, engage a gear (or six), steer the car and operate the pedals. In my time as a coach, trainer and teacher I’ve encountered many people who have not only been sitting in their Porsche for decades, but they’ve never even opened the garage door! Such a massive waste of talent, power and time.

    The person who doesn’t find a way to create momentum is the person who won’t realise their dreams, move forward or explore their potential. Sadly, some people will spend their lives sitting in neutral, almost doing something but never really doing anything significant. Talent, opportunities, ideas and even brilliance will amount to nothing if we fail to create and maintain momentum. Consider the person in your life (past or present) who is/was always talking about their grand plans for greatness, success and change in their world. You know; the one who is great at the theory (the talking bit) but not so good at the practical (the doing bit).

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    Here’s some momentum-creating suggestions that work… if you work.

    Procrastination is the enemy of potential, the refuge of the weak and a synonym for fear.

    1. Take that first step and keep stepping. As anyone with a basic understanding of physics will tell you, maintaining momentum is significantly easier than creating it. The first step is both the scariest and the most empowering. It’s also the most important. Procrastination is the enemy of potential, the refuge of the weak and a synonym for fear. The vast majority of people who take that long-overdue first step usually say something very predictable like “I wish I had done this years ago” or “I don’t know what I was so afraid of”. Get your potential out of neutral, engage a gear, hit the gas and don’t look back. Everything after the first step is a blessing or a lesson.

    2. Consider the cost of not changing. Imagine your life in five or ten years from now if you don’t change, if you don’t address the things you should and if you don’t pursue your dreams. Right now picture yourself being ten years older; you still haven’t made a significant decision, still haven’t taken that chance, still haven’t taken charge of your body, you’re still talking too much and doing too little, still coughing up the endless excuses, still being controlled by people and circumstances and still wasting your potential. Do you like that picture? Change is rarely about the right time and usually about the right attitude, choices and behaviours. Sometimes picturing what we don’t want is enough to get us moving in the right direction.

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    3. Gain some clarity and certainty. Get clear about what you want and don’t want for your life. Stop going through the motions and stop living that repetitive existence of habit – the one that makes you miserable and the one you really don’t want. The more certain you are about what you want, the easier it will be to stay focused, proactive and productive. If you don’t have clarity, then do your best to de-clutter your mind, step back, gain some perspective, spend more time by yourself, stop being so ‘busy’ (even for a day) and listen to that still small voice; it knows. When we make the effort to find some space, time and quiet and then genuinely listen, the clarity will come. The tricky bit can be when we find that clarity (about what we need to do) and it scares the crap out of us. When this happens, refer to point one!

    4. Get excited. Excitement creates momentum. When we’re excited we do stuff. We overcome fears. We take chances. We make tough decisions. We push the boundaries. We explore our potential. We become solution-focused. We become more resourceful. Chat with any successful person about their goals and their passion and you’ll see what I mean about excitement. If you’re not excited (on some level) about your goals, then you may need to find some different ones.

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    5. Set deadlines. Set yourself some non-negotiable deadlines and make a public (or semi-public) declaration. Not everyone’s cup of tea but works well for many. Sometimes we’ve gotta put our butt on the line to create some real momentum. Don’t be scared of pressure, discomfort or deadlines; they can make all the difference and they can be your greatest teacher. By the way, I’m not suggesting that you do this some time in the future when it suits your schedule and the planets have aligned, I’m suggesting that you do it in the next five minutes.

    Bossy I know.

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    Craig Harper

    Leading presenter, writer and educator in the areas of high-performance, self-management, personal transformation and more

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    Last Updated on September 11, 2019

    Why To-Do Lists Don’t Work (And How to Change That)

    Why To-Do Lists Don’t Work (And How to Change That)

    How often do you feel overwhelmed and disorganized in life, whether at work or home? We all seem to struggle with time management in some area of our life; one of the most common phrases besides “I love you” is “I don’t have time”. Everyone suggests working from a to-do list to start getting your life more organized, but why do these lists also have a negative connotation to them?

    Let’s say you have a strong desire to turn this situation around with all your good intentions—you may then take out a piece of paper and pen to start tackling this intangible mess with a to-do list. What usually happens, is that you either get so overwhelmed seeing everything on your list, which leaves you feeling worse than you did before, or you make the list but are completely stuck on how to execute it effectively.

    To-do lists can work for you, but if you are not using them effectively, they can actually leave you feeling more disillusioned and stressed than you did before. Think of a filing system: the concept is good, but if you merely file papers away with no structure or system, the filing system will have an adverse effect. It’s the same with to-do lists—you can put one together, but if you don’t do it right, it is a fruitless exercise.

    Why Some People Find That General To-Do Lists Don’t Work?

    Most people find that general to-do lists don’t work because:

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    • They get so overwhelmed just by looking at all the things they need to do.
    • They don’t know how to prioritize the items on list.
    • They feel that they are continuously adding to their list but not reducing it.
    • There’s a sense of confusion seeing home tasks mixed with work tasks.

    Benefits of Using a To-Do List

    However, there are many advantages working from a to-do list:

    • You have clarity on what you need to get done.
    • You will feel less stressed because all your ‘to do’s are on paper and out of your mind.
    • It helps you to prioritize your actions.
    • You don’t overlook so many tasks and forget anything.
    • You feel more organized.
    • It helps you with planning.

    4 Golden Rules to Make a To-Do List Work

    Here are my golden rules for making a “to-do” list work:

    1. Categorize

    Studies have shown that your brain gets overwhelmed when it sees a list of 7 or 8 options; it wants to shut down.[1] For this reason, you need to work from different lists. Separate them into different categories and don’t have more than 7 or 8 tasks on each one.

    It might work well for you to have a “project” list, a “follow-up” list, and a “don’t forget” list; you will know what will work best for you, as these titles will be different for everybody.

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    2. Add Estimations

    You don’t merely need to know what has to be done, but how long it will take as well in order to plan effectively.

    Imagine on your list you have one task that will take 30 minutes, another that could take 1 hour, and another that could take 4 hours. You need to know the moment you look at the task, otherwise you undermine your planning, so add an extra column to your list and include your estimation of how long you think the task will take, and be realistic!

    Tip: If you find it a challenge to estimate accurately, then start by building this skill on a daily basis. Estimate how long it will take to get ready, cook dinner, go for a walk, etc., and then compare this to the actual time it took you. You will start to get more accurate in your estimations.

    3. Prioritize

    To effectively select what you should work on, you need to take into consideration: priority, sequence and estimated time. Add another column to your list for priority. Divide your tasks into four categories:

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    • Important and urgent
    • Not urgent but important
    • Not important but urgent
    • Not important or urgent

    You want to work on tasks that are urgent and important of course, but also, select some tasks that are important and not urgent. Why? Because these tasks are normally related to long-term goals, and when you only work on tasks that are urgent and important, you’ll feel like your day is spent putting out fires. You’ll end up neglecting other important areas which most often end up having negative consequences.

    Most of your time should be spent on the first two categories.

    4.  Review

    To make this list work effectively for you, it needs to become a daily tool that you use to manage your time and you review it regularly. There is no point in only having the list to record everything that you need to do, but you don’t utilize it as part of your bigger time management plan.

    For example: At the end of every week, review the list and use it to plan the week ahead. Select what you want to work on taking into consideration priority, time and sequence and then schedule these items into your calendar. Golden rule in planning: don’t schedule more than 75% of your time.

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    Bottom Line

    So grab a pen and paper and give yourself the gift of a calm and clear mind by unloading everything in there and onto a list as now, you have all the tools you need for it to work. Knowledge is useless unless it is applied—how badly do you want more time?

    To your success!

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    Featured photo credit: Emma Matthews via unsplash.com

    Reference

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