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Life is a Marathon – A simple techique to keep on PACE.

Life is a Marathon – A simple techique to keep on PACE.

As I grow older, I can’t help but notice how much truth there is in folklores. We tend to brush them off as ‘stuff old people say’. Let’s face it, if they’re still alive, they must know a thing or two about life. One folklore that was imprinted on my subconscious and emerged to the forefront later on is KISS. No not the 70s face painted rock band. My alcoholic, 11th grade chemistry teacher would say it everyday. Kiss stands for Keep It Simple Stupid. If you’re an average Joe like me, especially at the that age, you might misinterpret the proverb. Without having an opportunity to apply it I wasn’t able to grasp the true importance of the concept. After being battered by the waves of life, its definition became clear.

Preparation Is The Key

In today’s information overloaded world, making decisions can be a convoluted process. This often results in stress, anxiety and indecisiveness. We all know that life is a chess game but the victor must always be steps ahead of the competition while staying present. How is that even possible? A simple answer – preparation! Chance favors the prepared mind. Is your head spinning from folklores yet?

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So how exactly do we prepare for this superfluous information chess game of life which supposedly is also a marathon?

Life is a marathon as it is a chess game because all three require strategy. The sooner one stops being reactionary and starts thinking things through, the sooner the chess match evolves. At this point a PACE plan can provide a key technique to enduring aches and pains of the cross country run.

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Apply The KISS Technique

This particular KISS technique can be used in both personal and professional areas of your life. PACE stands for Primary, Alternate, Contingency, and Emergency. Pretty self explanatory right?

One can literally apply this system for almost every decision one makes. If you decide to visit a friend 30 miles away, you can take four possible routes: the most direct or efficient; an alternate route in case there’s an accident or traffic; contingency thorugh back roads if there happens to be an influx of drivers on the road and the first two options aren’t effective; and an emergency route that you hope you’ll never have to take because of the lengthy duration but guarantees a safe passage to the destination.

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Having a PACE plan reduces stress of overcoming adversity or unforeseen events. You already have a plan in place and only need to execute with some minor changes if necessary. Having simple systems in place is one of the key differences between successful people and well the other guys. They are rarely caught off guard and are seldom reactionary. This is why successful people rise to victory when faced with adverse circumstances. They are prepared so chance falls in their favor.

Similarly this is why a lot of small businesses stay small and others grow into big corporations. Instead of having to address mundane issues on a regular basis, leaders can focus on developing business and taking calculated risks by emplacing clear and simple systems.

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If you’ve ever worked in corporate America, then you know that there is a form or procedure for almost everything related to the business. That’s their insurance policy to keep the Is dotted and Ts crossed.

Having a PACE plan is a proven life saver. This is why it is one of the first techniques Green Berets learn during their qualification course. To be successful in corporate America one has to have a warrior’s mentality. It’s no coincidence as to why high ranking leaders of our Armed Forces take on senior roles in the corporate world. The two entities share uncanny resemblances in their structures. Corporate America made a carbon copy of the bureaucratic structure of the military with some changes and ‘civilian’ flair.

It’s not everyone’s goal to be corporate but implementing some of their strategies can definitely make you more present in the chess match. Knowing that, on every play, there are multiple options on the board that put you at an advantage regardless of what piece your opponent moves. It allows you to be steps ahead while remaining present and alert for any surprises.

Keep It Simple

For someone who has, on numerous occasions, almost lit me on fire with a bunsen burner, I would never have thought my chemistry teacher on her second mug of whiskey spiked coffee would enlighten me with such a gift. If she didn’t remind me to keep it simple then applying the PACE plan wouldn’t have had such an impact on my life. It opened my eyes to the realization that I needed to simplify more areas of my personal and professional life. Keeping it simple stupid by running the marathon on PACE can do the same for you.

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Life is a Marathon – A simple techique to keep on PACE.

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Last Updated on September 16, 2019

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

You have a deadline looming. However, instead of doing your work, you are fiddling with miscellaneous things like checking email, social media, watching videos, surfing blogs and forums. You know you should be working, but you just don’t feel like doing anything.

We are all familiar with the procrastination phenomenon. When we procrastinate, we squander away our free time and put off important tasks we should be doing them till it’s too late. And when it is indeed too late, we panic and wish we got started earlier.

The chronic procrastinators I know have spent years of their life looped in this cycle. Delaying, putting off things, slacking, hiding from work, facing work only when it’s unavoidable, then repeating this loop all over again. It’s a bad habit that eats us away and prevents us from achieving greater results in life.

Don’t let procrastination take over your life. Here, I will share my personal steps on how to stop procrastinating. These 11 steps will definitely apply to you too:

1. Break Your Work into Little Steps

Part of the reason why we procrastinate is because subconsciously, we find the work too overwhelming for us. Break it down into little parts, then focus on one part at the time. If you still procrastinate on the task after breaking it down, then break it down even further. Soon, your task will be so simple that you will be thinking “gee, this is so simple that I might as well just do it now!”.

For example, I’m currently writing a new book (on How to achieve anything in life). Book writing at its full scale is an enormous project and can be overwhelming. However, when I break it down into phases such as –

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  • (1) Research
  • (2) Deciding the topic
  • (3) Creating the outline
  • (4) Drafting the content
  • (5) Writing Chapters #1 to #10,
  • (6) Revision
  • (7) etc.

Suddenly it seems very manageable. What I do then is to focus on the immediate phase and get it done to my best ability, without thinking about the other phases. When it’s done, I move on to the next.

2. Change Your Environment

Different environments have different impact on our productivity. Look at your work desk and your room. Do they make you want to work or do they make you want to snuggle and sleep? If it’s the latter, you should look into changing your workspace.

One thing to note is that an environment that makes us feel inspired before may lose its effect after a period of time. If that’s the case, then it’s time to change things around. Refer to Steps #2 and #3 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity, which talks about revamping your environment and workspace.

3. Create a Detailed Timeline with Specific Deadlines

Having just 1 deadline for your work is like an invitation to procrastinate. That’s because we get the impression that we have time and keep pushing everything back, until it’s too late.

Break down your project (see tip #1), then create an overall timeline with specific deadlines for each small task. This way, you know you have to finish each task by a certain date. Your timelines must be robust, too – i.e. if you don’t finish this by today, it’s going to jeopardize everything else you have planned after that. This way it creates the urgency to act.

My goals are broken down into monthly, weekly, right down to the daily task lists, and the list is a call to action that I must accomplish this by the specified date, else my goals will be put off.

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Here’re more tips on setting deadlines: 22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

4. Eliminate Your Procrastination Pit-Stops

If you are procrastinating a little too much, maybe that’s because you make it easy to procrastinate.

Identify your browser bookmarks that take up a lot of your time and shift them into a separate folder that is less accessible. Disable the automatic notification option in your email client. Get rid of the distractions around you.

I know some people will out of the way and delete or deactivate their facebook accounts. I think it’s a little drastic and extreme as addressing procrastination is more about being conscious of our actions than counteracting via self-binding methods, but if you feel that’s what’s needed, go for it.

5. Hang out with People Who Inspire You to Take Action

I’m pretty sure if you spend just 10 minutes talking to Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, you’ll be more inspired to act than if you spent the 10 minutes doing nothing. The people we are with influence our behaviors. Of course spending time with Steve Jobs or Bill Gates every day is probably not a feasible method, but the principle applies — The Hidden Power of Every Single Person Around You

Identify the people, friends or colleagues who trigger you – most likely the go-getters and hard workers – and hang out with them more often. Soon you will inculcate their drive and spirit too.

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As a personal development blogger, I “hang out” with inspiring personal development experts by reading their blogs and corresponding with them regularly via email and social media. It’s communication via new media and it works all the same.

6. Get a Buddy

Having a companion makes the whole process much more fun. Ideally, your buddy should be someone who has his/her own set of goals. Both of you will hold each other accountable to your goals and plans. While it’s not necessary for both of you to have the same goals, it’ll be even better if that’s the case, so you can learn from each other.

I have a good friend whom I talk to regularly, and we always ask each other about our goals and progress in achieving those goals. Needless to say, it spurs us to keep taking action.

7. Tell Others About Your Goals

This serves the same function as #6, on a larger scale. Tell all your friends, colleagues, acquaintances and family about your projects. Now whenever you see them, they are bound to ask you about your status on those projects.

For example, sometimes I announce my projects on The Personal Excellence Blog, Twitter and Facebook, and my readers will ask me about them on an ongoing basis. It’s a great way to keep myself accountable to my plans.

8. Seek out Someone Who Has Already Achieved the Outcome

What is it you want to accomplish here, and who are the people who have accomplished this already? Go seek them out and connect with them. Seeing living proof that your goals are very well achievable if you take action is one of the best triggers for action.

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9. Re-Clarify Your Goals

If you have been procrastinating for an extended period of time, it might reflect a misalignment between what you want and what you are currently doing. Often times, we outgrow our goals as we discover more about ourselves, but we don’t change our goals to reflect that.

Get away from your work (a short vacation will be good, else just a weekend break or staycation will do too) and take some time to regroup yourself. What exactly do you want to achieve? What should you do to get there? What are the steps to take? Does your current work align with that? If not, what can you do about it?

10. Stop Over-Complicating Things

Are you waiting for a perfect time to do this? That maybe now is not the best time because of X, Y, Z reasons? Ditch that thought because there’s never a perfect time. If you keep waiting for one, you are never going to accomplish anything.

Perfectionism is one of the biggest reasons for procrastination. Read more about why perfectionist tendencies can be a bane than a boon: Why Being A Perfectionist May Not Be So Perfect.

11. Get a Grip and Just Do It

At the end, it boils down to taking action. You can do all the strategizing, planning and hypothesizing, but if you don’t take action, nothing’s going to happen. Occasionally, I get readers and clients who keep complaining about their situations but they still refuse to take action at the end of the day.

Reality check:

I have never heard anyone procrastinate their way to success before and I doubt it’s going to change in the near future.  Whatever it is you are procrastinating on, if you want to get it done, you need to get a grip on yourself and do it.

More About Procrastination

Featured photo credit: Malvestida Magazine via unsplash.com

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