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The 5 Most Paralysing Excuses That Stop You From Doing What You Really Want

The 5 Most Paralysing Excuses That Stop You From Doing What You Really Want

I don’t think I know anyone who purposely doesn’t want to be successful. To achieve their ambitions. To have an incredible life. But how many people actually go after it? How many people really want it? How many people do you know who are so focused on their dreams that nothing distracts them? Not many, if any, I bet.

In the past I’ve used excuses without even realising it. They’d just become part of my vocabulary and, therefore, part of my life. I’ve always wanted to be really successful. My excuses were ensuring that I never would be.

Here’s some excuses I’ve used, and I’m sure you’ve used, in the past:

Excuse#1: “I don’t have enough time”

I didn’t have enough time because I was spending my time doing other stuff. Watching TV, scrolling through twitter, idly browsing Facebook. You know, all that really important stuff. Did these things actually make me happy or take me towards the life I truly wanted? No. They were just relaxing and pleasurable ways to procrastinate.

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So, was my excuse valid? No. of course I had time. I was just spending it doing irrelevant stuff.

Excuse#2: “I don’t have enough money”

The real question here is: why don’t I have enough money? Because I didn’t save. Because I spent more than I earned. Because I was spending it on fast food and clothes and alcohol. Actually, I had enough money. I was just spending it on things that would bring me short term gain, rather than investing it for long term gain.

So was my excuse valid? No. I had enough money. I was just choosing to waste it.

Excuse#3: “It’s not realistic”

It’s not realistic to be a millionaire. It’s not realistic to invent the iPhone. It’s not realistic to create the Internet.

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I hope you’re getting the idea. None of these things are “realistic”. At least not to most people. I used to think lots of things weren’t realistic. The idea of living my dream life, for example. I used to consider it, of course, but only as a dream. I never really thought about how I could create it. I was scared. “If I think about it, I’ll have to plan it. And if I plan it, I might actually have to do something!” Scary, right? Lots of people think like that, and the really scary thing is that so many people will settle. Because their dream life isn’t “realistic”. Will you fall into the same trap?

So, was my excuse valid? Of course not. Realistic is an opinion. If you need to change that opinion, change it.

Excuse#4: “I’m comfortable where I am”

Comfortable isn’t the same as happy. I’ve done and continued to do things that were easy and safe and boring because I was ‘comfortable’. This is an illusion. How could I have been comfortable if I was bored? The reason I kept doing these things was because I was certain of the outcome, which is not the same as being comfortable and definitely not the same as being happy. I was comfortable in the fact that I knew what the outcome would be. But I wasn’t stimulated. Or motivated. Or having fun.

So, was my excuse valid? Not really. I was, in a way, comfortable. But was I growing? Was I moving forwards? Was I happy? No.

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Excuse#5: “I can’t do it”

Had I even tried? Did I hate the thought of failure? Wasn’t the real problem that I wouldn’t try, rather than couldn’t?

I was living in permanent fear that I might fail. That I might not be good enough. It might even be worse than giving up because I was resigning myself to an outcome before I even tried. That’s crazy. It makes no sense. I didn’t even bother to explore why I thought I couldn’t do it, or why I wouldn’t at least try.

So, was my excuse valid? No. I was just letting fear run my life instead of taking control and doing what I really wanted.

Conclusion

These excuses felt wrong because they were stopping me from achieving, or even from starting, things that were extremely important to me. I don’t think I could be a painter. Or a sculptor. But that’s cool, because I don’t care. I appreciate paintings and sculptures, but there’s no way I’d ever paint or sculpt for work or pleasure.

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The reason I wasn’t happy was because being successful, in the way that I wanted to be successful, was something I’d never achieve if I kept using these excuses. I only truly stopped using excuses once I discovered and admitted who I really was and what I actually wanted. After that, I knew I could do it. That it was realistic. That I deserved it. And that it was ok for me to go and get it.

I’ll leave you with some fun and thought provoking questions:

What’s the benefit of using an excuse?

When you stop using excuses and start making progress, what would that be like?

Would you allow your children to make excuses?

Featured photo credit: Neal Fowler via flickr.com

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Last Updated on March 23, 2021

Manage Your Energy so You Can Manage Your Time

Manage Your Energy so You Can Manage Your Time

One of the greatest ironies of this age is that while various gadgets like smartphones and netbooks allow you to multitask, it seems that you never manage to get things done. You are caught in the busyness trap. There’s just too much work to do in one day that sometimes you end up exhausted with half-finished tasks.

The problem lies in how to keep our energy level high to ensure that you finish at least one of your most important tasks for the day. There’s just not enough hours in a day and it’s not possible to be productive the whole time.

You need more than time management. You need energy management

1. Dispel the idea that you need to be a “morning person” to be productive

How many times have you heard (or read) this advice – wake up early so that you can do all the tasks at hand. There’s nothing wrong with that advice. It’s actually reeks of good common sense – start early, finish early. The thing is that technique alone won’t work with everyone. Especially not with people who are not morning larks.

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I should know because I was once deluded with the idea that I will be more productive if I get out of bed by 6 a.m. Like most of you Lifehackers, I’m always on the lookout for productivity hacks because I have a lot of things in my plate. I’m working full time as an editor for a news agency, while at the same time tending to my side business as a content marketing strategist. I’m also a travel blogger and oh yeah, I forgot, I also have a life.

I read a lot of productivity books and blogs looking for ways to make the most of my 24 hours. Most stories on productivity stress waking up early. So I did – and I was a major failure in that department – both in waking up early and finishing early.

2. Determine your “peak hours”

Energy management begins with looking for your most productive hours in a day. Getting attuned to your body clock won’t happen instantly but there’s a way around it.

Monitor your working habits for one week and list down the time when you managed to do the most work. Take note also of what you feel during those hours – do you feel energized or lethargic? Monitor this and you will find a pattern later on.

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My experiment with being a morning lark proved that ignoring my body clock and just doing it by disciplining myself to wake up before 8 a.m. will push me to be more productive. I thought that by writing blog posts and other reports in the morning that I would be finished by noon and use my lunch break for a quick gym session. That never happened. I was sleepy, distracted and couldn’t write jack before 10 a.m.

In fact that was one experiment that I shouldn’t have tried because I should know better. After all, I’ve been writing for a living for the last 15 years, and I have observed time and again that I write more –and better – in the afternoon and in evenings after supper. I’m a night owl. I might as well, accept it and work around it.

Just recently, I was so fired up by a certain idea that – even if I’m back home tired from work – I took out my netbook, wrote and published a 600-word blog post by 11 p.m. This is a bit extreme and one of my rare outbursts of energy, but it works for me.

3. Block those high-energy hours

Once you have a sense of that high-energy time, you can then mold your schedule so that your other less important tasks will be scheduled either before or after this designated productive time.

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Block them out in your calendar and use the high-energy hours for your high priority tasks – especially those that require more of your mental energy and focus. You also need to use these hours to any task that will bring you closer to you life’s goal.

If you are a morning person, you might want to schedule most business meetings before lunch time as it’s important to keep your mind sharp and focused. But nothing is set in stone. Sometimes you have to sacrifice those productive hours to attend to other personal stuff – like if you or your family members are sick or if you have to attend your son’s graduation.

That said, just remember to keep those productive times on your calendar. You may allow for some exemptions but stick to that schedule as much as possible.

There’s no right or wrong way of using this energy management technique because everything depends on your own personal circumstances. What you need to remember is that you have to accept what works for you – and not what other productivity gurus say you should do.

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Understanding your own body clock is the key to time management. Without it, you end up exhausted chasing a never-ending cycle of tasks and frustrations.

Featured photo credit: Collin Hardy via unsplash.com

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