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7 Irritating Thoughts That Throw You Off Track

7 Irritating Thoughts That Throw You Off Track

We’ve all been there. One minute you’re sailing towards achieving one of your major life goals and then before you know it a sneaky, irritating thought has crept in to throw you off track. The thing is, the mind is a wily instrument, and if we don’t take the time to train our minds, then our minds will end up training us!

In fact, how much time do you even spend paying attention to those thoughts inside your head? Because if you’re not careful, your negative thoughts will throw a spanner in the works when it comes to achieving your goals.

Think about it. Thoughts essentially drive our behavior—before we do something, anything, we have to have a thought first. And when we’re thinking positive thoughts, life is generally pretty good. Those irritating, negative thoughts, however, are the ones that will do us the most harm. Don’t underestimate the power of a series of irritating, negative thoughts one after another, because they can literally throw you off track and turn your life upside-down!

Here’s a list of 7 irritating thoughts to avoid and 7 more helpful, positive thoughts to choose instead.

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1. “I should…”

The word ‘should’ is highly negative and is not conducive to achieving goals in life. When you think the word “should,” you’re essentially criticizing yourself, so its best to avoid this in everyday thoughts.

Replace with: “I have decided to…”

Instead of worrying about what others think you “should” be doing, consciously make your own decisions in life. Take control of what you really want to be doing with positive and empowered thoughts such as “I have decided to.”

2. “I’ll try.”

When we say I’ll try what we really mean is “I’m not prepared to commit to this.” Have you ever tried to get up and walk? Try it now. Try and get up and walk. Did you do it? I’m guessing not. Because it’s not possible to “try” and do something. As Yoda from Star Wars once said: “Do or do not. There is no try.”

Replace with: “I will.”

Consider for a moment how much more powerful the words “I will” are, compared to “I’ll try.” When you say “I will,” you’re demonstrating your desire to commit to something wholeheartedly and your goals suddenly feel “possible.” Don’t worry too much about whether you actually reach the goals or not—this is about you taking action so you can move forward.

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3. “I can’t…”

I love to tell people that “there’s no such word as ‘can’t.'” “Can’t” is such a debilitating word that sees you failing before you have even begun. If you’re a perfectionist, this might be your worst enemy because perfectionists often don’t even attempt to try new things for fear of failure. Remember this saying: “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” So take a chance and delete “can’t” from your thought processes.

Replace with: “What if?”

This is a great alternative to thoughts that begin with the words “I can’t.” Instead of limiting us, the phrase “What if?” opens up a world of possibilities. It encourages solution-oriented thinking, which helps us to solve complex problems. Next time you feel like you’re in a hopeless situation, try saying to yourself “what if” and see what solutions pop up. You might be surprised!

4. “I wish I wasn’t / didn’t have to…”

This is nothing more irritating than a nagging, complaining voice twittering away inside your head. Plus, it’s pointless. If you don’t like something, then take action and try to change your situation. Otherwise, may as well get on with life with a smile on your face!

Replace with: “I choose not to..”

You always have a choice in life. Instead of wishing your life away, take control and make an active decision to either do something or not do it. In the end, you always choose.

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5. “I need…”

How often to you declare that you ‘need’ something and how often do you really, really need it? This word need creates dependency where it’s often not required. Next time you hear yourself think this, have a re-think to determine if you genuinely need what you’re talking about. If you don’t, then let go and minimize any negativity.

Replace with: “I have everything I need.”

By thinking about what you need a lot of the time, you are focusing on what’s missing in your life. This is essentially negative thinking in action! Put a stop to this by reminding yourself that you have everything that you need to get by.

6. “I’m not as good as…”

When we compare ourselves to others we are essentially de-valuing ourselves. These thoughts can leave us feeling like we’re just not good enough. The reality is this: every person on the planet is different and has their own skills & talents, so instead of comparing yourself to other people’s talents, look for your own skills and focus on these.

Replace with: “I’m good at…”

Train yourself to focus on those things that you are good at instead of making comparisons all the time!

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7. “I’ll never get everything done!”

When we have a lot on our to-do lists, it can be easy for overwhelm to kick in. Negative phrases such as this one only add fuel to the fire and build the anxiety associated with lots of tasks. By allowing these sorts of thoughts into your head, you’re essentially taking your focus off the present and are worrying about the future. This can actually paralyze you and stop you from making any progress.

Replace with: “Everything is under control.”

Instead of worrying about whether you’ll get everything done, simply repeat a calming phrase like “Everything is under control” and then slowly and methodically tick each task off one-by-one. All you need to do is take action and stop worrying!
Do yourself a favor and kick these irritating, negative thoughts to the curb and adopt these more useful, positive phrases!

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Last Updated on September 17, 2018

How to Stop Multitasking and Become Way More Productive

How to Stop Multitasking and Become Way More Productive

Today we are expected to work in highly disruptive environments. We sit down at our desks, turn on our computer and immediately we are hit with hundreds of emails all vying for our attention.

Our phones are beeping and pinging with new alerts to messages, likes and comments and our colleagues are complaining about the latest company initiative is designed to get us to do more work and spend less time at home.

All these distractions result in us multitasking where our attention is switching between one crisis and the next.

Multitasking is a problem. But how to stop multitasking?

How bad really is multitasking?

It dilutes your focus and attention so even the easiest of tasks become much harder and take longer to complete.

Studies have shown that while you think you are multitasking, you are in fact task switching, which means your attention is switching between two or more pieces of work and that depletes the energy resources you have to do your work.

This is why, even though you may have done little to no physical activity, you arrive home at the end of the day feeling exhausted and not in the mood to do anything.

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We know it is not a good way to get quality work done, but the demands for out attention persist and rather than reduce, are likely to increase as the years go by.

So what to do about it?

Ways to stop multitasking and increase productivity

Now, forget about how to multitask!

Here are a few strategies on how to stop multitasking so you can get better quality and more work done in the time you have each working day:

1. Get enough rest

When you are tired, your brain has less strength to resist even the tiniest attention seeker. This is why when you find your mind wandering, it is a sign your brain is tired and time to take a break.

This does not just mean taking breaks throughout the day, it also means making sure you get enough sleep every day.

When you are well rested and take short regular breaks throughout the day your brain is fully refuelled and ready to focus in on the work that is important.

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2. Plan your day

When you don’t have a plan for the day, the day will create a plan for you. When you allow outside influences to take control of your day, it is very hard not to be dragged off in all directions.

When you have a plan for the day, when you arrive at work your brain knows exactly what it is you want to accomplish and will subconsciously have prepared itself for a sustained period of focused work.

Your resistance to distractions and other work will be high and you will focus much better on the work that needs doing.

3. Remove everything from your desk and screen except for the work you are doing

I learned this one a long time ago. In my previous work, I worked in a law office and I had case files to deal with. If I had more than one case file on my desk at any one time, I would find my eyes wandering over the other case files on my desk when I had something difficult to do.

I was looking for something easier. This meant often I was working on three or four cases at one time and that always led to mistakes and slower completion.

Now when I am working on something, I am in full-screen mode where all I can see is the work I am working on right now.

4. When at your desk, do work

We are creatures of habit. If we do our online shopping and news reading at our desks as well as our work, we will always have the temptation to be doing stuff that we should not be doing at that moment.

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Do your online shopping from another place—your home or from your phone when you are having a break—and only do your work when at your desk. This conditions your brain to focus in on your work and not other distractions.

5. Learn to say no

Whenever you hear the phrase “learn to say no,” it does not mean going about being rude to everyone. What it does mean is delay saying yes.

Most problems occur when we say “yes” immediately. We then have to spend an inordinate amount of energy thinking of ways to get ourselves out of the commitment we made.

By saying “let me think about it” or “can I let you know later” gives you time to evaluate the offer and allows you to get back to what you were doing quicker.

6. Turn off notifications on your computer

For most of us, we still use computers to do our work. When you have email alert pop-ups and other notifications turned on, they will distract you no matter how strong you feel.

Turn them off and schedule email reviewing for times between doing your focused work. Doing this will give you a lot of time back because you will be able to remain focused on the work in front of you.

7. Find a quiet place to do your most important work

Most workplaces have meeting rooms that are vacant. If you do have important work to get done, ask if you can use one of those rooms and do your work there.

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You can close the door, put on your headphones and just focus on what is important. This is a great way to remove all the other, non-important, tasks demanding your attention and just focus on one piece of work.

The bottom line

Focusing on one piece of work at a time can be hard but the benefits to the amount of work you get done are worth it. You will make fewer mistakes, you will get more done and will feel a lot less tired at the end of the day.

Make a list of the four or five things you want to get done the next day before you finish your work for the day and when you start the day, begin at the top of the list with the first item.

Don’t start anything else until you have finished the first one and then move on to the second one. This one trick will help you to become way more productive.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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