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The 10 Biggest Blunders That Keep You Away From Success

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The 10 Biggest Blunders That Keep You Away From Success

Success. What is it and why is it that some people seem to be blessed with success all the time and others just aren’t?

It’s not magic. There are simple traps that many of us fall into that hold success just out of reach.

First of all, let’s define the word “Success”. According to Miriam Webster online there are two very different definitions of “Success”. Here they are.

Success:

“the fact of getting or achieving wealth, respect, or fame”

“the correct or desired result of an attempt”

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If you want wealth, respect, or fame, the first one is for you. If you have a particular aim or goal in mind, definition number two applies.

In either case, success can be achieved by anyone, but you must be cautious, as there are some very real traps that can keep you from achieving your goals and success. Here are the main ones:

1. Ignorance

It sounds simple enough but you would be surprised at how many people are rock-headedly ignorant and think they know it all! Thinking you know it all already is a sure way to keep from learning anything about what you need to know to be successful. The people who are the most successful in their chosen fields have decided that they needed to learn everything they could about their field, and they never would have done so if they had already thought they knew it all.

I have seen people who are stone cold failures and still will not listen to anyone who tries to help them learn something. It is sad really because their situation will never change until they decide that there is something to learn, and then set about trying to learn it.

2. Too much useless or false information

This is a big problem because the question arises: “How do you know if information is true or not?” There is soooo much false information out there, so it can be difficult‒if not impossible‒to tell which information is true.

Well, I am here to give you a valuable piece of information and it is this: if you use the information as recommended and it works, it is true. If not, you either did not use It correctly or it is wrong. Try it out and see if it works. Then you’ll know.

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Another way of deciding whether information will be useful is to look at the source of the information. Is it credible? Has the person who is giving you the information had measurable success with it? These are simple quick and easy tests you can run through to see if information is valuable.

For example, imagine that a person is trying to sell a learning method. If they have a lot of successful students who can learn and apply the information and then become successful with it, you can bet that the claims they are making are true.

3. Being superficial

Whether you are studying for your field or working in your field, put your heart and soul into it. While learning, learn everything you can. While working, do everything you can. Find out about all the inner workings of the various aspects of your job. Be very curious and ask yourself why things are the way they are.

Remember, your work should be something you are passionate about. If you are not, your chances of success are limited. The passionate people are the ones who draw others to them and take the time and expend the effort necessary to get ahead. The absolute worst thing you can do is work just for a paycheck.

4. Taking shortcuts

This is similar to my last point except that even passionate people can be tempted to take shortcuts. Remember! If there is not enough time to do it right, there is even less time to do it over! Sit down and do the job properly. This is true with every job in life. Put your attention on it, send the distractions on their way and get it done right.

5. Listening to naysayers

You know those annoying people who come to you saying, “It can’t be done.” or, “Its been done before.” or, “What makes you think you can do it when so many others have failed?”

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These people are simply trying to stop you for reasons that they are not saying. Perhaps you being successful when they have failed makes them wrong in some fashion. Perhaps they are just jealous. Perhaps they have been listening to too many other naysayers. In any case, this has nothing to do with you. Their failures are their failures and have nothing to do with your success.

6. Settling for “Plan B”

Plan B is the plan that you were told you should have to “fall back on,” especially if you have chosen a career in the arts. I don’t know where this idiocy came from because when you look at it, there is art all around you. There are movies and films and music everywhere. It stands to reason that someone somewhere is paying for it.

If you have a passion for something other than a “real job” go for it! Find those who are successful and find out what they did to be successful, and then do that! It really is that simple. There are steps to success in any field and most people who are successful in their fields are willing to help an enthusiastic person find their way. Find out the steps that lead to success and take them.

7. Not keeping your focus.

It is so easy to get distracted in this day and age. Everywhere people and various media outlets are desperately trying to get your attention. A lot of what they are pumping out is really interesting too!

More than ever we have to manage our distractions and be ruthless about not allowing them to take over. Schedule your time for the things you know are distracting but do not lead to your goal. You don’t have to give up your favorite distractions but you do need to manage them and keep them from eating all your time and energy.

8. Failing to write out the steps you need to take daily to move forward toward your goal.

This is so important, and it ties in nicely with my last point. Distractions can easily creep in when you don’t have a clear idea of what you need to actually do to move forward.

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In my line of work, I have so many projects and I love taking on more. If I don’t write down a “battle plan” of the things I need to get accomplished every day, I can pretty much call that day wasted. I will get up and fog around the house doing nothing of value until I realize that it is time for my afternoon appointments.

If I have a battle plan or a “To Do” list, not only do I get more done, but I can look at it at the end of the day and see how productive I was. This aids morale because you are as happy as you are productive in life. When you see that you have gotten a lot done, you are a lot more motivated to do more.

9. Underestimating the amount of effort required to achieve your goal.

It is sometimes very difficult to know how much effort you need to expend to really get moving on a path toward success. In that case, it is safer to overestimate than underestimate. Assume that you will be working your buns off. If that large of an effort is not required, it will be a pleasant surprise. If it is, you will be ready.

Any goal that you are going after will require effort and in most cases, lots of it. If you are ready for it and willing to expend your effort smartly, you will succeed.

10. Thinking that someone else’s definition of success will work for you.

At the beginning of my post, I gave you two definitions of “Success,” but there is another definition that is infinitely more important‒your own, personal definition of success. Sit down and write it out exactly. What does success mean to you? Without a clear idea of what you are going after you will not be able to reach it. If you know exactly what you want, you will know with each and every action you take whether or not it is taking you closer to your goal.

Once you do that, look at the traps and make sure you are not falling into them. They can be insidious, meaning they can sneak up on you. Be aware and keep a copy of this article in hand and refer to it every so often.

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Write me and let me know how it is going. You can put your note or questions in the comments section and I will respond.

Good luck!

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Last Updated on October 7, 2021

Are You Addicted to Productivity?

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Are You Addicted to Productivity?

“It’s great to be productive. It really is. But sometimes, we chase productivity so much that it makes us, well, unproductive. It’s easy to read a lot about how to be more productive, but don’t forget that you have to make that time up.”

Matt Cutts wrote that back in 2013,[1]

“Today, search for ‘productivity’ and Google will come back with about 663,000,000 results. If you decide to go down this rabbit hole, you’ll be bombarded by a seemingly endless amount of content. I’m talking about books, blogs, videos, apps, podcasts, scientific studies, and subreddits all dedicated to productivity.”

Like so many other people, I’ve also fallen into this trap. For years I’ve been on the lookout for trends and hacks that will help me work faster and more efficiently — and also trends that help me help others to be faster. I’ve experimented with various strategies and tools . And, while some of these strategies and solutions have been extremely useful — without parsing out what you need quickly — it’s counterproductive.

Sometimes you end up spending more time focusing on how to be productive instead of actually being productive.

“The most productive people I know don’t read these books, they don’t watch these videos, they don’t try a new app every month,” James Bedell wrote in a Medium post.[2] “They are far too busy getting things done to read about Getting Things Done.”

This is my mantra:

I proudly say, “I am addicted to productivity — I want to be addicted to productivity — productivity is my life and my mission — and I also want to find the best way to lead others through productivity to their best selves.

But most of the time productivity means putting your head down and working until the job’s done.” –John Rampton

Addiction to Productivity is Real

Dr. Sandra Chapman, director of the University of Texas at Dallas Center for BrainHealth points out that the brain can get addicted to productivity just as it can to more common sources of addiction, such as drugs, gambling, eating, and shopping.

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“A person might crave the recognition their work gives them or the salary increases they get,” Chapman told the BBC.[3] “The problem is that just like all addictions, over time, a person needs more and more to be satisfied, and then it starts to work against you. Withdrawal symptoms include increased anxiety, depression, and fear.”

Despite the harmful consequences, addiction is considered by some experts as a brain disease that affects the brain’s reward system and ends in compulsive behavior. Regardless, society tends to reward productivity — or at least to treat it positively. As a result, this makes the problem even worse.

“It’s seen like a good thing: the more you work, the better,” adds Chapman. “Many people don’t realize the harm it causes until a divorce occurs and a family is broken apart, or the toll it takes on mental health.”

Because of the occasional negative issues with productivity, it’s no surprise that it is considered a “mixed-blessing addiction.”

“A workaholic might be earning a lot of money, just as an exercise addict is very fit,” explains Dr. Mark Griffiths, distinguished professor of behavioral addiction at Nottingham Trent University. “But the thing about any addiction is that in the long run, the detrimental effects outweigh any short-term benefits.”

“There may be an initial period where the individual who is developing a work addiction is more productive than someone who isn’t addicted to work, but it will get to a point when they are no longer productive, and their health and relationships are affected,” Griffiths writes in Psychology Today.[4] “It could be after one year or more, but if the individual doesn’t do anything about it, they could end up having serious health consequences.”

“For instance, I speculated that the consequences of work addiction may be reclassified as something else: If someone ends up dying of a work-related heart attack, it isn’t necessarily seen as having anything to do with an addiction per se – it might be attributed to something like burnout,” he adds.

There Are Three “Distinct Extreme Productivity Types

Cyril Peupion, a Sydney-based productivity expert, has observed extreme productivity among clients at both large and medium-sized companies. “Most people who come to me are high performers and very successful. But often, the word they use to describe their work style is ‘unsustainable,’ and they need help getting it back on track.”

By changing their work habits, Peupion assists teams and individuals improve their performance and ensure that their efforts are aligned with the overarching strategy of the business, rather than focusing on work as a means to an end. He has distinguished three types of extreme productivity in his classification: efficiency obsessive, selfishly productive, and quantity-obsessed.

Efficiency obsessive. “Their desks are super tidy and their pens are probably color-coded. They are the master of ‘inbox zero.’ But they have lost sight of the big picture, and don’t know the difference between efficiency and effectiveness.”

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Selfishly productive. “They are so focused on their own world that if they are asked to do something outside of it, they aren’t interested. They do have the big picture in mind, but the picture is too much about them.”

Quantity-obsessed. “They think; ‘The more emails I respond to, the more meetings I attend, the more tasks I do, the higher my performance.’ As a result, they face a real risk of burnout.”

Peupion believes that “quantity obsessed” individuals are the most common type “because there is a pervasive belief that ‘more’ means ‘better’ at work.”

The Warning Signs of Productivity Addiction

Here are a few questions you should ask yourself if you think you may be succumbing to productivity addiction. After all, most of us aren’t aware of this until it’s too late.

  • Can you tell when you’re “wasting” time? If so, have you ever felt guilty about it?
  • Does technology play a big part in optimizing your time management?
  • Do you talk about how busy you are most of the time? In your opinion, is hustling better than doing less?
  • What is your relationship with your email inbox? Are you constantly checking it or experience phantom notifications?
  • When you only check one item off your list, do you feel guilty?
  • Does stress from work interfere with your sleep?
  • Have you been putting things off, like a vacation or side project, because you’re “too swamped?

The first step toward turning around your productivity obsession is to recognize it. If you answered “yes” to any of the above questions, then it’s time to make a plan to overcome your addiction to productivity.

Overcoming Your Productivity Addiction

Thankfully, there are ways to curb your productivity addiction. And, here are 9 such ways to achieve that goal.

1. Set Limits

Just because you’re hooked on productivity doesn’t mean you have to completely abstain from it. Instead, you need to establish boundaries.

For example, there are a lot of amazing productivity podcasts out there. But, that doesn’t mean you have to listen to them all in the course of a day. Instead, you could listen to one or two podcasts, like The Productivity Podcast or Before Breakfast, during your commute. And, that would be your only time of the day to get your productivity fix.

2. Create a Not-to-Do List

Essentially, the idea of a not-to-do list is to eliminate the need to practice self-discipline. Getting rid of low-value tasks and bad habits will allow you to focus on what you really want to do as opposed to weighing the pros and cons or declining time requests. More importantly, this prevents you from feeling guilty about not crossing everything off an unrealistic to-do list.

3. Be Vulnerable

By this, I mean admitting where you could improve. For example, if you’re new to remote work and are struggling with thi s, you would only focus on topics in this area. Suggestions would be how to create a workspace at home, not getting distracted when the kids aren’t in school, or improving remote communication and collaboration with others.

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4. Understand Why You Procrastinate

Often, we procrastinate to minimize negative emotions like boredom or stress. Other times it could be because it’s a learned trait, underestimating how long it takes you to complete something or having a bias towards a task.

Regardless of the exact reason, we end up doing busy work, scrolling social media, or just watching one more episode of our favorite TV series. And, even though we know that it’s not for the best, we do things that make us feel better than the work we should do to restore our mood.[5]

There are a lot of ways to overcome procrastination. But, the first step is to be aware of it so that you can take action. For example, if you’re dreading a difficult task, don’t just watch Netflix. Instead, procrastinate more efficiently,y like returning a phone call or working on a client pitch.

5. Don’t Be a Copycat

Let’s keep this short and sweet. When you find a productivity app or technique that works for you, stick with it.

That’s not to say that you can’t make adjustments along the way or try new tools or hacks. However, the main takeaway should be that just because someone swears by the Pomodoro Technique doesn’t mean it’s a good fit for you.

6. Say Yes to Less

Across the board, your philosophy should be less is more.

That means only download the apps you actually use and want to keep (after you try them out) and uninstall the ones you don’t use. For example, are you currently reading a book on productivity? Don’t buy your next book until you’ve finished the one you’re currently reading (or permit yourself to toss a book that isn’t doing you any good). — and if you really want to finish a book more quickly, listen to the book on your way to work and back.

Already have plans this weekend? Don’t commit to a birthday party. And, if you’re day is booked, decline that last-minute meeting request.

7. Stop Focusing on What’s Next

“In the age when purchasing a thing from overseas is just one click and talking to another person is one swipe right, acquiring new objects or experiences can be addictive like anything else,” writes Patrick Banks for Lifehack .

“That doesn’t need to be you,” he adds. “You can stop your addition to ‘the next thing’ starting today.” After all, “there will always be this next thing if you don’t make a conscious decision to get your life back together and be the one in charge.”

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  • Think about your current lifestyle and the person you’re at this stage to help you identify what you aren’t satisfied with.
  • By setting clear goals for yourself in the future, you will be able to overcome your addiction.
  • Establish realistic goals.
  • To combat addiction, you must be aware of what is going on around you, as well as inside your head, at any given time.
  • Don’t spend time with people who have unhealthy behaviors.
  • Hold yourself accountable.
  • Keep a journal and write out what you want to overcome.
  • Appreciate no longer being addicted to what’s next.

8. Simplify

Each day, pick one priority task. That’s it. As long as you concentrate on one task at a time, you will be less likely to get distracted or overwhelmed by an endless list of tasks. A simple mantra to live by is: work smarter, not harder.

The same is also accurate with productivity hacks and tools. Bullet journaling is a great example. Unfortunately, for many, a bullet journal is way more time-consuming and overwhelming than a traditional planner.

9. Learn How to Relax

“Sure, we need to produce sometimes, especially if we have to pay the bills, but, banning obsession with productivity is unhealthy,” writes Leo Babauta. “When you can’t get yourself to be productive, relax.” Don’t worry about being hyper-efficient. And, don’t beat yourself up about having fun.

“But what if you can’t motivate yourself … ever?” he asks. “Sure, that can be a problem. But if you relax and enjoy yourself, you’ll be happier.”

“And if you work when you get excited, on things you’re excited about, and create amazing things, that’s motivation,” Leo states. “Not forcing yourself to work when you don’t want to, on things you don’t want to work on — motivation is doing things you love when you get excited.”

But, how exactly can you relax? Here are some tips from Leo;

  • Spend 5 minutes walking outside and breathe in the fresh air.
  • Give yourself more time to accomplish things. Less rushing means less stress.
  • If you can, get outside after work to enjoy nature.
  • Play like a child. Even better? Play with your kids. And, have fun at work — maybe give gamification a try .
  • Take the day off, rest, and do something non-work-related.
  • Allow yourself an hour of time off. Try not to be productive during that time. Just relax.
  • You should work with someone who is exciting. Make your project exciting.
  • Don’t work in the evenings. Seriously.
  • Visit a massage therapist.
  • Just breathe.

“Step by step, learn to relax,” he suggests. “Learn that productivity isn’t everything.” For that statement, sorry Leo, I say productivity isn’t everything — it’s the only thing.” However, if you can’t cut loose, relax, do fun things, and do the living part of your life — you’ll crack in a big way — you really will.

It’s great to create and push forward — just remember it doesn’t mean that every minute must be spent working or obsessing over productivity issues. Instead, invest your time in meaningful, high-impact work, get into it, focus, put in big time and then relax.

Are You Addicted to Productivity? was originally published on Calendar by John Rampton.

Featured photo credit: Christina @ wocintechchat.com via unsplash.com

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