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Why I’m Trying to Become a Quitter

Why I’m Trying to Become a Quitter

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    I’m one of those people who’s terrible at saying no. I take on too many projects at once, and spend too much of my time doing things I’d rather not be. I get stuff done, but it’s not always the best I can do, or the best way I can spend my time.

    That’s why my newest goal, both as a professional and a person, is to be a quitter.

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    Being a quitter isn’t being someone who gives up, who doesn’t see important things through to the end. I aspire to be the opposite of those things, and think we all should. The quitter I want to be is someone who gets out when there’s no value to be added, or when that value comes at the expense of something more important.

    I want to quit doing things that I’m asked to do, for no other reason than I’m asked to do it. I want to be able to quit something in mid-stream, because I realize there’s nothing good coming from it.

    A friend of mine once told me that “I knew I was an adult when I could stop reading a book, even after getting 500 pages into it.” Odd though it sounds, we all tend to do this. We get involved in something, realize we don’t want to be a part of it, but keep trucking through. We say “well, I’ve already invested so much time in this, I might as well stick it out.”

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    I propose the opposite: quit as often as possible, regardless of project status or time invested. If you’re reading a book, and don’t like it, stop reading. Cut your losses, realize that the smartest thing to do is stop before your losses grow even more, and quit. If you’re working on a project at work that isn’t going anywhere, but you’ve already invested tons of time on it, quit. Take the time gained by quitting the pointless project, and put it toward something of value. Instead of reading an entire book you hate, read 1/2 a bad one and 1/2 a good one. Isn’t that a better use of your time?

    If you’re stuck doing something, and don’t really want to do it anymore, step back for a second. Ask if you really have to do this, and what value is being produced from your doing it. Don’t think about the time you’ve put into it, or how much it’s taken over your life. If you don’t want to do it, and don’t have to do it, don’t do it.

    By quitting these things, you’ll free up time to do things that actually do create value, for yourself and for others. You’ll have time to read all the great books out there, or at least a couple more. You’ll be able to begin to put your time and effort into the things you’d actually like to do.

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    Let’s try it together: what are the things you’re doing, that you’re only doing because you’ve been doing them for so long? Quit. Don’t let time spent dictate time you will spend. Let’s learn how to say “no” at the beginning, or in the middle, and free up more of our time to do the things we’d like to be doing, and the things actually worth doing.

    Saying no is hard, and admitting a mistaken yes is even harder. But if we do both, we’ll start to make sure that we’re spending our time creating value, rather than aggravating our losses. Let’s be quitters together.

    What do you think? What in your life can you quit?

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    Photo: windy_sydney

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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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