When Minor Tasks Aren’t Minor

Are minor tasks taking you all day?

If you find yourself spending all day to compose an email, write an article, or create a memorable video, chances are that you’re getting very, very distracted.

When Minor Tasks Aren't Minor

If you start lots of projects that take too long or don’t get finished at all, apply these distraction-busting tips:

1. Kill your internet.

Your mind will be blown at how much more productive you are at a computer with no internet connection. No “research” that transforms into a search for the perfect crazy cat video. No twitter, IM, phone, or any other element that crushes your time.

Gather your research materials, and when it’s time to put rubber to the road, cut your internet off – it’s too tempting to write when stress reliving diversion is just a mouse click away.

2. Addition by subtraction.

The brain works in very strange ways. The more stuff you can see, the more your brain can latch onto it and create an “urgent matter” in your brain – notice how easy it is to get distracted by trivial things when you are doing something important? So clear the mess off your desk, and get rid of excess files from your desktop.

Usually, you let stuff stack up on your desktop because you’re trying to get to it quickly. But it’s harder to put those items away once you’re done.

Reduce your visual clutter and enjoy the results.

3. Start with the small things.

It’s easier to get distracted and quit altogether when you work a long block on a single task. The thing of that kind of attention as a heavyweight – you wouldn’t just walk in and lift the heaviest thing in the gym, so why try to focus for a 2 or 3 block stretch?

If you’re having problems staying focused because the work is monotonous, put on some music (not talking) and work in 20 minute stretches.

4. Don’t multitask.

If you’re chasing down three projects at once, you’re hurting yourself. Especially if those projects require a broad set of skills and you’re losing your ability to niche down and specialize. Devote yourself to doing one task, and if you can use one skill at a time (like writing), even better. This helps you get into a “groove” and become more productive.

5. Stop.

Basically, instead of going up and down and up and down into attention, you want to create a smooth, uninterrupted ocean of productivity, and then take frequent breaks. Don’t let yourself burn out on a single task!

6. Work fast.

Get things done as fast as you can. Once you’ve really started to get things humming, you’ll kind of hypnotize yourself with activity, becoming more and more pleased with your results.

Your Psychological Relationship With Money as Someone Self Employed

Your Psychological Relationship With Money as Someone Self Employed

If you’re working from home and running your own business, you may well find that your relationship with money changes to quite some degree.

On the one hand, this is a good thing and you might find that you become a little less stressed about your finances. At the same time though, the opposite can also happen – and you can find yourself obsessing over your bank balance.

If your objective when choosing to work from home was to be happier and healthier, then this can, of course, is somewhat contrary to those aims and so it’s very important that you focus on fixing that attitude and on understanding what may have caused it to go wrong in the first place.

The Problem

So where does this odd relationship with money come from?

The first change is that you’re going to find yourself earning a different amount every day. You won’t get paid at the end of the month and depending on the nature of your work you may even get paid daily!

And if you are paid per hour, or per word, or per sale… you might find that your income is directly linked with how well you perform on a given day or how long you work.

This immediately creates some issues because it now means that you could stay working for 24 hours… and quite possibly earn several hundred dollars in a day. That temptation is always going to be there… which is odd.

And when you look at your money in this way, you then realize that if you decide to treat yourself to a $30 gadget… you can just work for an extra hour or so and earn that $30 back. And if you manage to earn $20 less that day? Well then you just cancel your plan to go out that night and you breakeven…

The Fix

This is unhealthy of course because it now means that every single decision is a financial and business decision. Instead of looking at it this way then, what works better is to set yourself a strict time limit for working and a strict goal for how much you earn.

For instance, you might aim to earn $170 every day. You can then make sure that no matter what happens, you earn at least that much before 5 pm. If you can earn more then that’s great but you don’t go over that time unless you’ve failed to meet the target. This system creates a much more stable income and a much healthier outlook.

How to Convince Yourself to Workout Before Work

workout

Being self-employed makes it 100 times easier to stick to a workout. Now you have much more control over your time and you will be much more able to choose when you want to work and when you want to relax, or exercise.

The problem is, if you aim to finish early at the end of the day and workout then, you will almost always find that it never actually happens. The problem is, you’ll still get tired and once you get into the ‘flow’ you’ll find it’s almost impossible to break out of it and to return later on while being just as productive.

Working out first, on the other hand, means you’ll have more energy and a better mood as you work. It’s just a matter of being disciplined enough to convince yourself to do so.

Here are some tips that can help.

Set Everything Up the Night Before

One way to help yourself workout before you start work is to set up your gym kit etc. the night before. The aim here is to create the minimum barrier between you and the gym so that there’s no effort involved other than the workout itself. Setting things up the night before means you can just grab your bag and go and that helps a lot.

Make Your Workout Fun

If you’re going to convince yourself to workout first thing in the morning then it can help a great deal to do a workout that you actually find fun. Working out can be fun – and especially if you do something like rock climbing or sparring with a heavy bag. Find a workout that you enjoy and don’t worry too much about your strict goals – they’ll come with time as long as you put in the effort.

Oh, and your workouts don’t have to be super long either. Ten minutes is better than nothing if that’s all you have!

Join a Nearby Gym

Which gym do you join?

The nearest one. It’s as simple as that. This way you’ll save a ton of time and feel much more inclined to workout. And if you don’t have a nearby gym, then you should workout from home.

Stress

If you’re struggling to workout at all, then you should bear in mind that the problem is most likely linked with stress or your energy levels. It may just mean you’re taking on too much work, in which case: try to tune it down a bit!

Success Isn’t Always About What You Do…

Success Isn't Always About What You Do...

Sometimes, success is about who you do things with. One of the problems with being a solo entrepreneur is that you very rarely have a chance to reinforce your best habits. Chances are, you live in a community where most people procrastinate, play video games, overdose on fried food, and positively love distractions.

And in order to break away from these influences, we must exert a great deal of energy blocking them out and telling ourselves that will do things differently. And some people even take pride in this wrongheaded approach.

But what if we could form a new community? One based on positivity and mutual support. Wouldn’t it be great if instead of having to rely on ourselves completely, other people could support us when we were down and get us energized about the success happening all around us?

Form A Dynamic Marketing Community.

Start looking for people you can interact with regularly. In the same way that a group like Weight Watchers for Alcoholics Anonymous regularly gets together to stay on track and refocus their goals, you can do the same thing in a marketing community. It’s much easier to do productive things when you’re surrounded by people who are doing the same thing you are. And your interest in the results that they’re having will bring you back again and again.

Where should you go?

Finding Like-Minded Friends

Here’s the thing – it’s tough to round up a random bunch of people on a message board and expect them to coalesce into a motivated community. The chances of success are much better when you have people who have specialized skills and some level of past success. They don’t have to be millionaires, but they should have a portfolio – a finished blog, a completed project… something that indicates the ability or desire to start a project and see it to completion.

Look for groups of bloggers or professionals on the web that already exist. Put your toe into the water, introduce yourself, make friends. Maybe one of these goals meets all of your needs. After a couple of weeks of steady contribution, try making your own group.

What Should You Do?

At first, get to know each other. Build emotional bonds. This seems a little bit cheesy, but there’s a reason why groups like AA make everyone tell their personal story. It’s important for you to have a personal interest in the people in your group.

When should make these introductions, start chasing your goals together? Obviously, you’ll have the individual goals that you are working towards. But look for activities that bind you as a team. Work on a large project that requires accountability, or just read the same book on a monthly basis.

Fighting Obstacles

It’s inevitable that some people will drop the ball along the way. Every community style group has a different approach towards keeping their flock together.

First, you should remember to always keep the door open. No matter what disappointments you encounter from a person along the way, it’s the group’s responsibility to always be civil so that they feel welcomed back if they leave altogether.

Second, when it’s time to get someone back on the wagon, approach them on a 1 to 1 basis. There’s nothing wrong with using the pressure of a group in a drastic situation. But many people will respond better to a quiet correction of an individual.

Stay Encouraged

Remember that a community’s goal should be to empower everyone and not set small groups against each other. The more unified you are in your purpose and your methods, the less friction you’ll have, and the less chance you’ll have to fail.

How To Take Action

Creating a plan is the first step towards taking action and that often means pushing towards the thing that you would normally avoid. It is a step moving towards what is uncomfortable or what scares you.

What makes taking action so difficult for people who overthink is that fact that action typically goes against their impulse. What is easier is to simply mull over a plan for the umpteenth time and deceive yourself into “playing it safe” (which basically means not doing anything until you think you know what to do).

However, your potential to predict the future is quite slim. And it really is hard to see the possibility of success if all you have experienced is a failure. Yet it is only after a number of failures that most people get a chance at success.

This fear fixates overthinkers into inaction. It convinces them into believing that inaction does not hurt. However, while you may play it safe temporarily, it is important to realize that inaction may not hurt you now, but it will hurt you for the rest of your life.

And the longer you choose inaction over action, the harder it becomes to act.

Here are some ways to cut the cord and step into taking action:

Just do it

Nike got it right when they chose “Just Do It” as their slogan. This step will help you snap out of overthinking making you do what needs to be done right away. By now you know that you can’t really just sit around and think your way out of something.

But just doing it sounds a lot easier than going through with it, especially if you are an overthinker. This step also involves cutting ties with your thoughts and emotions. (Not all ties, but just the irrational ones holding you back).

This means disregarding what your thoughts are babbling about and how your emotions are trying to hold you back. It is perhaps the best reminder to focus on the present and forget about everything else.

This, however, does not mean that thoughts and emotions are useless. However, sometimes, and you often know when they do hold you back. If you can disassociate with these temporarily, it becomes easier to act regardless of what others have to say.

This step can be particularly helpful if you are trying to establish a new habit, or quit an old one. Take the example of quitting smoking. By identifying less with your thoughts and emotions, you will improve faster and stick to your habit until it sticks to you.

Just doing it is also useful when you don’t feel like doing something. For instance, your new habit may be to exercise every day but today you may not feel like working out.

In this scenario, you can find a lot of excuses not to work out and slack off, but doing it without any regard for these excuses may surprisingly make you feel better.

Exercise is known for boosting mood so once you start, you may find out that you flip around mentally, and what felt like a drag before actually helped make you feel better and turned the rest of your day around.

Become result oriented

All actions work towards getting results. If you make this your motto, you may find that it becomes a lot easier to get the job done. Becoming result-oriented is also a very effective mindset for productivity and one that scoffs procrastination.

how to take action

When you take action to get to a result, everything else becomes insignificant. Only the result remains relevant and this mindset automatically puts all your focus into the action that you take.

There are also a few advantages to becoming result oriented as you work toward your target. First, there is a drive to action. And then there is flexibility.

For instance, if one action does not work as planned, then you improvise and get things done another way. Since the result is all that matters, you will change how you do things to get there. This promotes flexibility.

Here is an example of result-oriented action: You have to do the dishes, but it is not the most exciting of chores. However, if you are result oriented, then you will look at the scenario as something like this- you want to have an organized and clean kitchen and you need to get the dishes done to achieve that. You will do so quickly without giving it too much thought since that will get you the result you wish for.

Hold yourself accountable

This is a good check to monitor your actions versus inaction. When you hold yourself accountable to yourself, you establish your own principles and standards of behavior. This is the first step.

But it is easy to cheat your way out of your own accountability, especially if no one else knows what you are up to. You may be tempted to rationalize your inaction to yourself and take a cheat day or two off. So another way to ascertain action is to tell others about your plans.

By being accountable to others, it becomes harder to not do something as promised. If a bunch of people knows what you are going to do, you would not want to disappoint them by inaction or will have to face up to them the next time you see them.

This tip can work well for some people but may not be for everyone. It may put some at risk for taking action only to avoid judgment and create pressure within themselves.

But if you feel that you can create accountability for yourself to your standards, it may be more helpful when taking action than the one you receive from being accountable to others. You may need to feel your way through both options to see what works best for you.

Lighten up

This may seem a little out of sorts, but it is important not to take everything so seriously. And people who overthink tend to do exactly that.

Taking things too seriously is perhaps one of the most effective ways to discourage yourself from being proactive. After all, there could be serious consequences and repercussions of the action you take to tell the mind of an overthinker to the person.

This possibility makes taking action feel too large, too difficult and too intimidating all at the same time. Having too serious a mindset is a one-way street headed to creating big problems and negative feelings from pretty much nothing.

But if you relax a little and ease off, you will realize that the issues and negative emotions wandering inside your mind are simply the mind’s own creations and nothing more. Without such a negative state of mind, your projects will also appear lighter and seem less cumbersome to get started on.

Too often overthinkers fail to discriminate between what is of importance and what isn’t since they think about everything.  On the other hand, lightening up will also help you distinguish the important stuff from the unimportant leaving you more time and energy for what really matters in life.

Prepare a to-do list

If you pair the previous step up with preparing a to-do list, taking action can become even easier. When you have a to-do list on hand, it becomes a visual reminder of what needs to be done and where to take the action. Visual reminders are also a great tool to limit the wanderings of a rambling mind.

How To Take Action

Plus, the list also acts as a filter to separate the important things from the unimportant. You (or your busy mind) need not worry about things that are not on the list.

When creating your list, do keep in mind to make it precise and limited. This is important as it is easy to become overly passionate when penning down what needs to be done. Or, you may end up making a long list that eventually starts to fill you up with dread, makes you feel weary and sets in the temptation to procrastinate.

Instead, it is better to have a short list of just three to four items max, and everything else can go on a different list. A shorter list will be less frightening and make it simpler to take action and get the work done.

Get rid of the “what if”

The “what if” dilemma can really do a number on your mind. It can lead you to devote days, weeks, months, and in some cases, even years just contemplating what might happen should you take action.

A better suggestion instead is to redirect the focus from “what if” to “how”. Rather than let your mind meander over “what if”, think about the course of action you will follow to do something, solve a problem, or get to a goal.

How you plan on achieving all of these things and what you must do to get there is a better and more relevant way to engage the mind.

Focusing on “how” to take action not only puts your thinking skills to better use but also helps establish a positive outlook.

It replaces resolve with irresolution which in turn makes it quicker to take action in the absence of overthinking possible scenarios

Final words

To sum up, quieting an on-the-go mind requires active participation on your part. You can only do so when you stop being a constant worrywart and put some kind of action into motion.

While some anxiety and worry are normal, overthinking everything takes it beyond the bounds of normalcy if it starts to affect routine life. Still, breaking the habit with a few simple changes can help to free your mind and become proactive to take action rather than be fixated in the negative.