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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 November 18, 2019

How to Prioritize Right in 10 Minutes and Work 10X Faster

How to Prioritize Right in 10 Minutes and Work 10X Faster

Everyone of my team members has a bucketload of tasks that they need to deal with every working day. On top of that, most of their tasks are either creativity tasks or problem solving tasks.

Despite having loads of tasks to handle, our team is able to stay creative and work towards our goals consistently.

How do we manage that?

I’m going to reveal to you how I helped my team get more things done in less time through the power of correct prioritization. A few minutes spent reading this article could literally save you thousands of hours over the long term. So, let’s get started with my method on how to prioritize:

The Scales Method – a productivity method I created several years ago.

How to Prioritize with the Scales Method

    One of our new editors came to me the other day and told me how she was struggling to keep up with the many tasks she needed to handle and the deadlines she constantly needed to stick to.

    At the end of each day, she felt like she had done a lot of things but often failed to come up with creative ideas and to get articles successfully published. From what she told me, it was obvious that she felt overwhelmed and was growing increasingly frustrated about failing to achieve her targets despite putting in extra hours most days.

    After she listened to my advice – and I introduced her to the Scales Method – she immediately experienced a dramatic rise in productivity, which looked like this:

    • She could produce three times more creative ideas for blog articles
    • She could publish all her articles on time
    • And she could finish all her work on time every day (no more overtime!)

    Curious to find out how she did it? Read on for the step-by-step guide:

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    1. Set Aside 10 Minutes for Planning

    When it comes to tackling productivity issues, it makes sense to plan before taking action. However, don’t become so involved in planning that you become trapped in it and never move beyond first base.

    My recommendation is to give yourself a specific time period for planning – but keep it short. Ideally, 10 or 15 minutes. This should be adequate to think about your plan.

    Use this time to:

    • Look at the big picture.
    • Think about the current goal and target that you need/want to achieve.
    • Lay out all the tasks you need to do.

    2. Align Your Tasks with Your Goal

    This is the core component that makes the Scales Method effective.

    It works like this:

    Take a look at all the tasks you’re doing, and review the importance of each of them. Specifically, measure a task’s importance by its cost and benefit.

    By cost, I am referring to the effort needed per task (including time, money and other resources). The benefit is how closely the task can contribute to your goal.

      To make this easier for you, I’ve listed below four combinations that will enable you to quickly and easily determine the priority of each of your tasks:

      Low Cost + High Benefit

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      Do these tasks first because they’re the simple ones to complete, yet help you get closer to your goal.

      Approving artwork created for a sales brochure would likely fit this category. You could easily decide on whether you liked the artwork/layout, but your decision to approve would trigger the production of the leaflet and the subsequent sales benefits of sending it out to potential customers.

      High Cost + High Benefit

      Break the high cost task down into smaller ones. In other words, break the big task into mini ones that take less than an hour to complete. And then re-evaluate these small tasks and set their correct priority level.

      Imagine if you were asked to write a product launch plan for a new diary-free protein powder supplement. Instead of trying to write the plan in one sitting – aim to write the different sections at different times (e.g., spend 30 minutes writing the introduction, one hour writing the body text, and 30 minutes writing the conclusion).

      Low Cost + Low Benefit

      This combination should be your lowest priority. Either give yourself 10-15 minutes to handle this task, or put these kind of tasks in between valuable tasks as a useful break.

      These are probably necessary tasks (e.g., routine tasks like checking emails) but they don’t contribute much towards reaching your desired goal. Keep them way down your priority list.

      High Cost + Low Benefit

      Review if these tasks are really necessary. Think of ways to reduce the cost if you decide that the completion of the task is required.

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      For instance, can any tools or systems help to speed up doing the task? In this category, you’re likely to find things like checking and updating sales contacts spreadsheets. This can be a fiddly and time-consuming thing to do without making mistakes. However, there are plenty of apps out there they can make this process instant and seamless.

      Now, coming back to the editor who I referred to earlier, let’s take a look at her typical daily task list:

        After listening to my advice, she broke down the High cost+ High benefit task into smaller ones. Her tasks then looked like this (in order of priority):

          And for the task about promoting articles to different platforms, after reviewing its benefits, we decided to focus on the most effective platform only – thereby significantly lowering the associated time cost.

          Bonus Tip: Tackling Tasks with Deadlines

          Once you’ve evaluated your tasks, you’ll know the importance of each of them. This will immediately give you a crystal-clear picture on which tasks would help you to achieve more (in terms of achieving your goals). Sometimes, however, you won’t be able to decide every task’s priority because there’ll be deadlines set by external parties such as managers and agencies.

          What to do in these cases?

          Well, I suggest that after considering the importance and values of your current tasks, align the list with the deadlines and adjust the priorities accordingly.

          For example, let’s dip into the editor’s world again.

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          Some of the articles she edited needed to be published by specific dates. The Scales Method allows for this, and in this case, her amended task list would look something like this:

            Hopefully, you can now see how easy it is to evaluate the importance of tasks and how to order them in lists of priority.

            The Scales Method Is Different from Anything Else You’ve Tried

            By adopting the Scales Method, you’ll begin to correctly prioritize your work, and most importantly – boost your productivity by up to 10 times!

            And unlike other methods that don’t really explain how to decide the importance of a task, my method will help you break down each of your tasks into two parts: cost and benefits. My method will also help you to take follow-up action based on different cost and benefits combinations.

            Start right now by spending 10 minutes to evaluate your common daily tasks and how they align with your goal(s). Once you have this information, it’ll be super-easy to put your tasks into a priority list. All that remains, is that you kick off your next working day by following your new list.

            Trust me, once you begin using the Scales Method – you’ll never want to go back to your old ways of working.

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            Featured photo credit: Vector Stock via vectorstock.com

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