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10 Simple Steps To Be Productive And Kill The Procrastination Beast

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10 Simple Steps To Be Productive And Kill The Procrastination Beast

Have you ever experienced this? You are so tired and worn out after a long workday that some of your primary body functions have temporarily shut down.You are not able to think, speak or walk properly. Heck, let`s be honest. If your mother watched you limping towards the bathroom to brush your teeth, she would seriously be wondering about if she had given birth to a Quasimodo (hunchback).

The Problem? Even though you are putting in more hours at work, you somehow can`t seem to catch up. Your never-ending growing to do list is not the real problem. The real problem is what lurks behind it – the big and dreadful procrastination beast, which is growing more each day.

You feel that you are awfully close to the breaking-point…where you either will be drowned by your to do list or eaten alive by the procrastination beast. Can you relate? If so, it`s okay. I`ve been there too…Relax. Breathe. There is still hope.

Here’s the 10 Simple Steps To Be Productive And Kill The Procrastination Beast:

1. Setting a correct goal

It`s important that you have clarity, so you will be able to set a correct goal. Something that might be worse than failing to reach a correct goal, is to actually reach a wrong goal. Let`s say that you were going to learn to play ice hockey. That was your ultimate goal, and you knew that it was the path you wanted to take.

A good first step would for instance be learning how to skate. Instead of aiming for that goal, you somehow, don’t ask me why, found out you wanted to learn how to run faster. Even though, learning how to run faster might be a cool goal to reach, it will bring you nowhere closer to learning how to skate. You get the point.

Then over to one of the most underestimated steps…

 

2. Your BIG why

This will actually be the real make it or break it factor. It`s within our human nature to resist going out of our comfort zone. Why? Because we think it`s uncomfortable.

If your ´why´ is not big enough, you won`t be able to fend off the excuses when you have to push yourself doing the necessary tasks, whether you feel like it or not. The bigger your why, the greater your chance of actually sticking to plan and reaching your goal.

You should have a burning desire, which will make you unstoppable on your way to your goal. Have you found your real why?

Good, let`s move on.

“People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.” – Simon Sinek

3. How?

Knowing how to reach your goal is crucial. If you don`t know how, then you could do research and google the topic. A good tip is to find someone who has already accomplished what you want to accomplish, and replicate the method. It can either be finding a mentor or just paying an expert to show you the way.

In the end you basically need to find out how to reach your big hairy goal, and then break it down into smaller manageable steps.

We got the how covered, then over to the…

 

4. When?

It`s essential that you set a deadline for your big hairy goal, and for your smaller goals. A deadline will make you push yourself out of the comfort zone in order to get cranking. And the most important thing?

If you set a deadline, you MUST do whatever is in your power to actually meet that deadline. If not, you are conditioning your mind to expect to fail the deadlines you set. The worst part? Setting a deadline will lose it`s effect. So how do we keep track of all the activities? Let`s answer that in the next step.

“A dream is just a dream. A goal is a dream with a plan and a deadline.” – Harvey McKay

5. The master to do list

You should have a master to do list. What does that mean? It means that you should have only ONE to do list, which contains all the tasks that need to be done.

When I was working for one of the biggest companies in Norway, some of the people who were perceived as the most valuable and productive employees by the company had several to do lists. I asked them two simple questions: how many to do lists they had and if they had full control of all their to do tasks.

The answers were always the same, they were never 100% sure how many lists they actually had nor if they had full control of all the tasks. If you don`t know how many to do lists you actually have, you certainly don`t have full control of all your to do tasks.

How many to do lists should you have? If you answered one, a high five to you.

 

6. Support

They say that when it comes to a fight, there is strength in numbers. That is also the case when it comes to reaching our goal. And let`s face it, you are really preparing for a fight against the procrastination beast.
When you have mapped out the necessary tasks in order to reach your goal, sticking to the plan can be hard.

That is why it can be a good idea to share your goal with people you trust, and which you know will support you. If your goal was to start with mixed martial arts and to compete in the UFC, your mother would probably not be the biggest supporter. And it`s understandable. Who wants to see their child being beaten into a pulp?

It is important to actually pick the right supporters. Nothing is worse than having people who don`t really support you, being a part of your cheerleading crew. That negative person might poison and demotivate the rest of the cheerleading crew, and last but not least, you.

The next point is also very important. By mastering that skill, you can truly become unstoppable.

 

7. Laser focus

They say that the person who has the ability to focus on only one single thought for 2 minutes straight, will have the ability to accomplish anything. You want to be that person, right? It`s okay. Just start practicing.

So the real key to focusing is really to remove ALL distractions.

A crash course on how to laser focus:

  1. Mute or turn off your cellphone. If it`s muted, put it away and don`t look at it until you are finished completing your task at hand.
  2. Turn-off the Internet connection. You think that you are doing research by googling stuff, but what you are really doing, is ruining your own focus.
  3. Let people around you know that you are busy, so you won`t get interrupted

The next step might be the hardest part…

 

8. Self-discipline

Self-discipline is about doing the necessary tasks no matter what, whether your feel like or not. You have to brainwash yourself. You have to put your feelings aside, program your mind and become an unstoppable machine.

The good news? It will become a little bit easier, the more you practice it. However, be prepared that it will be a constant battle. Do you want to know a little secret? By learning the skill of self-discipline it will become a catalyst for all other activities you need to do in order to stop procrastinating and become more productive.

Kop Kopmeyer wrote about 1000 success principles (4 books). At the end of the last book he wrote that the most important principle for success is self-discipline, without that none of the other principles will work. Yeah, you know the importance of self-discipline by now.

Then it`s time to…

Conquer-Self

9. Grow some courage

In order to achieve your goals and get the success you dream of in your life and business, you need to be able to move out of the comfort zone. You need to stop worrying about what everyone else will think about you. It`s scary, right? Yeah, I know.

What if you make a fool out of yourself and what if people will be talking about you? You have probably heard the cliché “It`s better to have tried and failed than to never have tried at all.” It`s a cliché, we can all agree on that, nevertheless, it`s still true.

I will let you in on one more secret. People will be talking about you no matter what. Whatever you do, you can`t stop it. So if people are going to talk about you anyway, you might as well build the future you want. Stop whining and stop trying to think about excuses.

Just grow some courage. Okay, so you are all pumped up now? And your self-esteem is on it`s peak? Awesome. What`s next?

Use your good self-esteem and…

 

10Take action now!

When you have done all the steps above, there is no need for more analyzing or thinking. You have already done that. Enough talk. It`s time to do the actual walk and kill the procrastination beast once and for all!

You can do it. Just remove your butt from your chair and just do it! Take action now!

 

Now is the time to kill the procrastination beast before it kills you. Please leave your comments below!

Tor decided to leave his six-figure job in order to follow his passion - to help online entrepreneurs free up more time, so they can do what they love. Want to become more productive? Download his free eBook and learn how to double your productivity in 7 days.

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40 Comments

40 Comments

  1. Apeh Kelvin Chibueze

    Jul 3, 2016 at 2:25 pm

    Your writings inspire one and lift off the burden of past regrets on procrastination. I’ve dwelled on procrastination for long and it has really eaten Me up. I’ve that potential to accomplish my vision but how to go about it considering the task involved has really tied Me down all because of procrastination. Yes, I’ve gotten the light! Thanks Man.

  2. Connie

    Jul 30, 2015 at 2:39 am

    TOR, this article will be very helpful. I’m changing careers, even though I am staying in the medical field. This will be of great help in planning things out. I look forward to reading more of your articles. Thank you.

    • Tor Refsland

      Jul 30, 2015 at 9:13 am

      Hi Connie,

      thanks for your comment.

      I`m glad that you found my article useful 🙂

      Feel send me an email if you need any sparring regarding planning or productivity 😉

      Have a great day.

      Best,

      Tor

  3. Brent Jones

    Jun 22, 2015 at 9:43 pm

    Awesome Post, Tor! Shared it on all my networks. 🙂

    I like the point about WHY.

    One of my mentors once told me, “Figure out why and how will reveal itself.”

    Seriously, when we can mentally envision what success will look like, it’s 1000x easier to accomplish great things!

    • Tor Refsland

      Jun 24, 2015 at 11:52 am

      Thanks, Brent.

      I really appreciate your support and you sharing the post.

      You are AWESOME 😉

      Yup, one of my mentors actually told me the same line…(true story).

      A strong WHY will make you be able to endure all the challenges, the hardship, go outside your comfort zone and do A LOT of things you REALLY don`t WANT to do…

      …but you will do it, because the big PRIZE at the end of the journey is so WORTH it!

      Have a great day,

      Tor

  4. Sonia Thompson

    Jun 22, 2015 at 3:15 pm

    Hey Tor!

    Killing procrastination is so super important for entrepreneurs, so I’m glad you covered this topic.

    My favorite step is the one about 1 to-do list. I generally only work with one, but as I’ve started working on some bigger projects, I see the importance of writing down ALL the steps that need to happen, and then that then allows me to figure out what’s on the critical path and what’s not – which then helps me create a proper daily task list.

    • Tor Refsland

      Jun 24, 2015 at 11:56 am

      Hi Sonia,

      great to see you here.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

      Having ONE to do list will totally change your day, your way of working and yes…increase your productivity tremendously.

      By ONLY having 1 to do list, using the 80/20 rules prioritising the most important tasks at any given time, and sorting the priority of the tasks using the ABCDE method, helped me to increase my productivity with 200% in my previous six-figure income job.

      The result was that I was actually able to do in 2 hours what I normally spent 8 hours of doing.

      Side note – this is how the ABCDE method works:

      I Prioritize the tasks using the ABCDE method:

      A :Tasks I must do – serious consequences if it doesn`t get done
      B: Tasks I should do – mild consequences if it doesn`t get done
      C: Tasks I could do – no consequences if it doesn`t get done
      D: Tasks I delegate
      E: Tasks I never do

      You never do a B task before you have done alle the A tasks, and you never do a C task before you have done all the B tasks, etc.

      Have a great day!

      Tor

  5. Hanna

    Jun 22, 2015 at 3:10 am

    Good useful article Tor – my biggest challenge is the WHY, seems it’s just not BIG enough so any tips on finding your WHY would be greatly appreciated.

    Thank you for the share.

    • Tor Refsland

      Jun 24, 2015 at 12:01 pm

      Hi Hanna,

      first of all, regarding finding your WHY. Since I don`t know what type of project you are talking about, it`s hard for me to give a specific feedback.

      THAT being said…

      if you have a challenge to find your big WHY…

      well, most likely you just don`t have a strong WHY for that project / journey.

      Having a PASSION and a strong WHY is like chemistry with someone when you are on a first date.

      Either you have it, or you don`t.

      However, there might be a few exceptions to this.

      Let me tell you this…

      Visit my website and contact me. Shoot me an email with more details, and I can probably give you a much more detailed answer to your specific situation 😉

      Best,

      Tor

  6. Daniela Uslan

    Jun 22, 2015 at 1:25 am

    Hi Tor,

    What a great list of suggestions! One of the tips that I struggle with the most is self discipline. Even when I have a clear goal, a clear WHY, and support, I find myself getting off track and going on Facebook or wasting time. Also having one master list. That sounds so daunting, but yet so simple. I will have to try it! Thanks for the tips!

    Daniela

    • Tor Refsland

      Jun 24, 2015 at 11:49 am

      Hi Daniela,

      thanks for stopping by to comment 🙂

      You have the clear goal, a clear WHY and support?

      That`s great! 🙂

      What you should do is to focus on FOCUSING (yeah, I wrote that sentence on purpose).

      The key about focusing is to remove all distractions; turn off or mute your cellphone, be unavailable to people and TURN OFF your internet connection.

      Yup, you read correct 😉

      When you remove all distractions, and only FOCUS on ONE task at a time, you should be able to get your stuff done 😉

      Have an awesome day!

      Tor

    • Tor Refsland

      Jun 24, 2015 at 12:05 pm

      Hi Daniela,

      thanks for stopping by.

      You found your clear goal, a clear WHY and support, right?

      That is GREAT!

      Your next step should be focus on FOCUSING (yeah, I wrote that sentence on purpose 😉 )

      You should remove ALL distractions; mute or turn off your cellphone, make yourself unavailable for other people, and turn off your internet connection.

      Yes, you read correct.

      When you are able to focus on ONE single task at hand, and not being distracted, you will instantly become more productive!

      You can do it 🙂

      Best,

      Tor

  7. Joanna

    Jun 20, 2015 at 8:02 pm

    Great post, Tor

    I agree, realising that for the past (insert your number) weeks/months/years you’ve been hitting the wrong goals and ticking off your to-do lists things that don’t really take you where you truly want to go takes a lot of courage and is painful, if not devastating. But if you can take it and turn the learning into a new course of action, then the reward is awesome!

    • Tor Refsland

      Jun 21, 2015 at 12:17 pm

      Thanks for commenting, Joanna.

      Yes, heading in the wrong direction can be crippling for your journey.

      However, the good thing is to stop…and take a breath. Get an overview, and see where you are located compared to your target destination.

      It`s important to not beat yourself up if you took the wrong path, but just change the course and find the silver lining in the experience.

      There is nothing that is called good or bad experience. It`s just experience.

      What you do with it is up to you 🙂

      Have a great day.

      Tor

  8. Carol Amato

    Jun 20, 2015 at 6:03 pm

    What an excellent article! Loved each and every point you made – extremely helpful.

    Especially the ‘When’ and ‘Self-Discipline’ sections. Deadlines are great, but if we don’t have the self-discipline to carry them out, we’re lost. LOL Plain old kitchen timer works for me as well as accountability partner.

    Loved the quote you included by Napoleon Hill, so apt here!

    Thanks for sharing, and have a great weekend.

    Carol Amato

    • Tor Refsland

      Jun 21, 2015 at 12:19 pm

      Thanks for stopping by to comment, Carol.

      Yes, self-discipline is perhaps the hardest factor when it comes to reaching your goal and succeed.

      However, the more you practice it, the easier it becomes.

      A kitchen timer sounds indeed like a great accountability partner 😉

      Have a great day!

      Tor

  9. Andrea Beltrami

    Jun 20, 2015 at 5:30 pm

    Epic list, Tor! These seem easy enough but oh how looks can be deceiving. Each one of these has taken a LOT of time for me to wrap my mentality around but I’ve gotten pretty decent at most. Now if I could just implement them all at the same time. Hahaha

    There’s still a nagging need to procrastinate when I’m afraid or when it’s a task I don’t enjoy doing. What can I say, I’m a work in progress…but aren’t we all! 😉

    • Tor Refsland

      Jun 21, 2015 at 12:25 pm

      Thanks for stopping by to share your thoughts, Andrea.

      I was struggling a long time with these tips as well. However, when I became good at them, it totally changed my life.

      The difference between successful people and people who are not, is that successful people are willing to improve their most important skills ALL the time, and never be satisfied and procrastinate.

      When we are faced with insecurity or fear, procrastination has a tendency to appear.

      But the more we practice to go outside our comfort zone, do sparring with mentors and get used to handle uncomfortable situations, we will become better at it, and we will procrastinate less when we are faced with a new unknown situation 😉

      Tor

  10. Jenna Dalton

    Jun 19, 2015 at 9:01 pm

    Great article, Tor. I love what you said to Sue too – in the comment above – about procrastinating by setting realistic goals that you’ll hit every time.

    I never thought of that being procrastination before but you’re right, it absolutely is!

    Time to go set some bigger goals 🙂

    • Tor Refsland

      Jun 20, 2015 at 8:30 am

      Thanks a lot for stopping by to comment, Jenna.

      It means a lot 🙂

      In a nutshell; when you don`t perform at your best ability to reach your peak potential, you are actually procrastinating.

      It`s a lot like with the “slight edge” principle.

      Person A trains 1 times in the gym per week and just does the bare minimum workout, while person B trains 3 times a week and pushes himself/herself to the limit every single minute of the workout.

      You will probably not see a big difference between those two people when it comes to health and fitness after 1 week, after 1 month, perhaps not after 3 months.

      But after 6 months and more, the difference in their training is starting to show on the outside.

      After 1-2 years, person B will a lightyear ahead.

      How was it accomplished?

      By person B pushing himself to the limit, and doing it consistently.

      THAT is how you reach your peak potential FAST.

      At the end, your success is the sum of all the correct small activities you have completed every single day in order to bring you closer to your peak potential 😉

      Have a great weekend, Jenna.

      Best,

      Tor

      • Jenna Dalton

        Jun 22, 2015 at 3:30 pm

        That absolutely makes sense, Tor. I love that way of thinking and have always thought that to be the case myself – it’s not necessarily one big action that gets you results, it’s a bunch of smaller actions put together over time. Smart strategy, my friend. Keep up the great work!

        • Tor Refsland

          Jun 24, 2015 at 11:45 am

          Thanks, Jenna.

          The clue is to take a big hairy goal(DUMB goal) and break it down into smaller manageable goals (SMART goal).

          The same to you, my friend 🙂

          Tor

  11. Dennis Seymour

    Jun 19, 2015 at 2:37 pm

    Cool post Tor. Goal setting has been a problem for me over the years. I made it a point to address that this year.

    I’m getting things done, though it feels slow, but I am creeping towards accomplishing goals which is the important part!

    You know what would complete this? Tools! Haha 😀 Obsessed with productivity tools.

    Enjoy the weekend!

    • Tor Refsland

      Jun 20, 2015 at 8:20 am

      Thanks a lot for stopping by to comment, Dennis.

      The most important thing is that you are improving 🙂

      Rome wasn`t built in one day 😉

      Productivity can be of great assistance, but at the end of the day, it really comes down to how focused you can work on your most important tasks…every single hour of your workday 😉

      In my experience, too many tools can be counterproductive.

      Have a great weekend 🙂

      Tor

  12. Jane Gordon

    Jun 19, 2015 at 2:22 pm

    I have the biggest problem with the “procrastination beast”! Thanks for the tips! 🙂

    • Tor Refsland

      Jun 20, 2015 at 8:17 am

      Thanks a lot for commenting, Jane.

      I hope that you will start to implement a few of the tips here, so you can handle the beast once and for all 😉

      Have a great weekend.

      Tor

  13. Andrew M. Warner

    Jun 19, 2015 at 1:34 pm

    Hey Tor,

    Good stuff here.

    The big hairy goal concept is something that I try to do all the time. It makes it much easier when you actually get to break it down into steps you can take to move forward. I made the mistake before of just trying to do it all at once, which didn’t work.

    You did a great job with this post.

    – Andrew

    • Tor Refsland

      Jun 20, 2015 at 8:16 am

      Thanks a lot for stopping by to comment, Andrew.

      I really appreciate it 🙂

      Handling a big hairy goal is like handling a 7 course meal. You don`t eat all the courses at once.
      You take ONE course at a time .

      Another big advantage when it comes to handling the smaller goals, is that once you complete a small goal, your confidence increases 😉

      Then you will have more confidence to tackle the next small goal, and when you are about to complete the last small goal (that completes the big hairy goal) your confidence is sky high, you have momentum and you are unstoppable 😉

      Have a great weekend.

      Best,

      Tor

  14. Kevin Duncan

    Jun 19, 2015 at 1:08 pm

    Hi Tor,

    Congrats on getting published at Addicted 2 Success! This site is big time. Congratulations, my friend. 🙂

    Procrastination is definitely a killer. It can be such a difficult habit for people to break, but once they do… well, suddenly their lives are ten times less stressful.

    No need staying up until 4am cramming for an exam (because you started studying weeks ago). No need trying to lose 20 pounds in 7 days for your high school reunion (because you started your diet three months ago). No need stressing and worrying over the things you wish hadn’t waited until the last minute to tackle.

    It’s freeing!

    Great steps you’ve shared with all of us, Tor. I’ll be tweeting this shortly.

    Congrats again! Hope you have an awesome Friday and weekend.

    -Kevin

    • Tor Refsland

      Jun 20, 2015 at 8:09 am

      Thanks a lot for stopping by to comment, Kevin.

      I really appreciate it, buddy.

      Yes, I totally agree with what you are saying. The difference between suffering from procrastination and being able to live a productive life is like night and day.

      If you don`t kill the procrastination beast and building your dream, you will be building someone else`s.

      Thanks a lot for your great comment.

      Have a great weekend.

      Tor

  15. Peter Banerjea

    Jun 19, 2015 at 10:48 am

    Hey Tor!
    Excellent post as usual. Reading your posts is a quick way to get a shot of adrenaline! Keep writing mate!
    Peter

    • Tor Refsland

      Jun 19, 2015 at 1:18 pm

      Hi Peter,

      thanks for stopping by to comment and for your kind words.

      It`s comments like those that makes it worth all the hard work 😉

      Have an awesome day!

      Tor

  16. Anthony Metivier

    Jun 19, 2015 at 10:25 am

    All good points, Tor!

    I too like the “big hairy goals,” concept. It begs another metaphor: the big strong comb (or brush).

    But what do you do with the hydra-effect? I mean, what do you do when tackling one item on your to-do lists means creating another to-do list?

    • Tor Refsland

      Jun 19, 2015 at 1:25 pm

      Thanks for stopping by to comment, Anthony.

      Here is how i deal with the “Hydra-effect”.

      If you have a task A on your to do list, it spawns into several subtasks, I use a technique I call the Dependant Subtask principle.

      It works like this:

      Task A spawns into 5 subtasks.

      Task A – subtask A1
      – subtask A2
      – subtask A3
      – subtask A4
      – subtask A5

      You need to complete all 5 subtasks in order to complete task A. If there are dependencies among the subtasks, you range them from A1 to A5, where A1 is the subtask you have to complete first, then A2, A3, etc.

      In other words, I don`t create another to do list, I just take a big task and split it into several subtasks.

      I hope that helps.

      Best,

      Tor

      • Anthony Metivier

        Jun 27, 2015 at 7:51 am

        I like the Dependent Subtask principle. I’m going to put it to work – thank!

        • Tor Refsland

          Jun 27, 2015 at 9:49 am

          Great, Anthony.

          Good luck.

          And let me know how that goes 🙂

          Tor

  17. Sue Anne Dunlevie

    Jun 19, 2015 at 10:03 am

    Hi, Tor,

    Great article! I like setting “big hairy goals” – I don’t always hit them but it’s amazing how many happen.

    “Focus” is my word this year – after consulting with you, I check email much less now.

    Thanks for the info,
    Sue

    • Tor Refsland

      Jun 19, 2015 at 1:29 pm

      Thanks for stopping by to comment, Sue.

      The secret with “big hairy goals” is actually not necessarily to reach them, but that you will push yourself to achieve a BETTER results than if you didn`t set a high goal.

      Nothing is worse than to procrastinate by always setting realistic goals, which you will hit every single time.

      Setting goals is like training in the gym. If you never increase the amount of weights you lift, you will not progress according to your true potential 😉

      Focus is indeed an important ingredient when it comes to increasing your productivity, reaching your goals, being present and more happy.

      Best,

      Tor

  18. Lawrence Berry

    Jun 19, 2015 at 2:58 am

    The three things that I like here that have proved to be the most beneficial for me is having a why, having a plan, and taking action. When you have a why for what you want to do in life and you wake up to your why and a dream, you have motivation. After you have motivation, you need a plan of action, and after you have a plan, you need to take action. This are the true keys to success for me and you nailed it in detail in this article. Thanks for sharing!

    • Tor Refsland

      Jun 19, 2015 at 1:35 pm

      Thanks for commenting and for your kind words, Lawrence.

      Yes, reaching your goals isn`t really that complicated.

      It`s actually SIMPLE (but not easy).

      If you were going to go skiing for 10 kilometers the first time in your life, and you had never done it before, you would probably suck at it.

      The weather might be bad, your technique would be probably be far from perfect, and your skis might not be prepared in the best way.

      However, the only thing standing between you and the 10 kilometers finish line, is if you decide to QUIT.

      It doesn`t matter how bad the weather is, how tired and fed up you are, or how much you suck at skiing.

      If you have a strong enough WHY and you continue to move forward, you WILL reach the finish line eventually.

      That is basically how reaching your goals work 😉

      Have an awesome day.

      Best,

      Tor

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Life

You Can Create Whatever Life You Want So Stop Talking Yourself Out of Your Destiny

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destiny
Image Credit: Unsplash

There’s never been a time like right now in human history for entrepreneurship. We have access to virtually limitless knowledge thanks to the advent of the internet, and you can reach anyone on this planet literally at the click of a button.

However, despite the massive amount of opportunity out there, there are still time-tested principles that every wanna-be entrepreneur needs to know in order to truly succeed. Knowing these principles can spell the difference between achieving your dreams and talking yourself out of your destiny.

There is Such a Thing as Preparing Too Much

While it’s certainly necessary to prepare in life, a just as devastating problem many people face in life is being too prepared. Way too often, people believe they’re actually working by spending hours “preparing” when all they’re doing is thinking about working while their actual work goes untouched.

As Gary Vaynerchuk put it bluntly in one of his livestream Q&A videos, “There are just so many ways to build your business, but lack of action is not one of them.” Basically, we are both blessed and cursed by our access to virtually limitless knowledge. We can turn on the faucet of knowledge and grab a quick swig when we need it, but if we leave it on for too long we’ll be drowning in information and be stuck trying to process everything.

If you spend too much time processing, you’ll be more likely to talk yourself out of taking the risks necessary to build a successful business. The solution is simple: stop processing and start taking action.

A phrase I find myself repeating a lot when I get into a bind is, “How did successful people do it before the age of internet?” The answer is they did it by not talking themselves off of the ledge of destiny and instead diving into their project headfirst.

“Change your life today. Don’t gamble on the future, act now, without delay.” – Simone de Beauvoir

Our Feelings Often Lie to Us

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve felt like throwing in the towel when trying to build my web design business. I remember one day in particular I had a massive headache and was on the verge of quitting everything due to the frustration I felt while dealing with a problematic client.

I looked at my watch and realized I hadn’t eaten yet that morning, so I went and made myself breakfast. After eating a bowl of scrambled eggs and toast, my headache magically vanished along with my thoughts of wanting to quit. I quickly realized what needed to be done and fixed the client’s issue without much thought. The problem wasn’t with the client, the problem was with my stomach.

Can you imagine how ridiculous I would have looked had I fired my client all because I hadn’t eaten that day? This is why our feelings sometimes need to take a backseat when it comes to making wise, calculated decisions for our success.

Intuition is important, obviously, but it’s best utilized with years of reliable experience to back it up. So go with your gut when it’s wise to do so, but always make sure your gut is fed otherwise you may regret what it has to say.

Perfectionism Can Halt All Progress

You will never have everything figured out. Let that sink in. It’s become such a trope in our society that it’s surprising how easily we tend to forget it. There isn’t a single business out there that has all the answers on how to do things right, so why do we feel the need to stop moving forward if things aren’t perfect?

I remember a friend of mine spent years trying to compose music on his synthesizer but never released anything because it “wasn’t good enough” by his standards. I gave him the simple proposition to “put out crappy music”, since no matter what he would always think his music was crappy due to his perfectionist mindset. Within a day, he finally put something out on SoundCloud and his song “#Selfie” became a hit worldwide while his band The ChainSmokers continues to put out hits to this day.

OK, I’m kidding about that last part, but hopefully you get my point. My friend finally had a song out that he could have had out years ago but was too caught up on making everything “perfect” to do anything. He had, in effect, talked himself out of taking action. The same thing applies with business, even if you don’t have everything figured out it’s best to just start something and learn as you go.

“Imperfection is perfection.” – Flume

Whenever that annoying, perfectionist voice in your head tries to get you to quit because you’ll never have the “perfect” product or service to sell, tell it to shut up and put out your product or service anyway. As you gain experience in your field and receive valuable feedback from customers, you’ll be able to continually improve things with your business.

Had you not taken action to begin with, you would never have attained either of these two valuable assets. Never settle for mediocrity, but at the same time recognize your need to be in motion even if the thing that sets you in motion is initially subpar.

How do you push yourself and keep motivated? Let us know your thoughts below!

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Life

3 Mental Tricks to Help You Become a More Productive Person

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Whether you’re a career salesman, a student, or a software engineer, you can’t move an inch in your career if you produce less. Productivity is the key that will unlock your success. Unfortunately, not all of us are productive. And some of it is not our problem. Our Internet-empowered world is bloated with too many social media tools, too many emails and notifications, too many SMS and short messages, too many YouTube videos and Netflix movies. The distractions are at an all time high.

But what if there is a system that will help you keep all these distractions aside until you have accomplished your tasks? There is. And it only takes 3 simple steps. Read Below:

Step 1: See your everyday tasks as a gift

Showing up every day to work is anything but fun. You know your life depends on it, but some days are not your best days. No matter how you plan your projects, you can’t show up to do them. You’re tired and bored and uninterested. What’s the way forward? It’s not about planning. It’s not about waking up early. It’s not about lack of exercise or anything like that.

If you want to conquer your to-do list, day in and day out, you need a simple shift in your mindset. Stop thinking of your tasks as work. See those tasks as gifts…as natural endowments exclusively given to you. This simple shift in your mindset will awaken the sleeping giant within you. You’ll start feeling great about yourself, stop seeing your work as burdensome. The tasks will now make you feel proud.

No longer will your showing up early at your desk irritate you—because now you feel comfortable doing the work that matters. The mindset adjustment is not even difficult. Just figure out the value that your tasks will bring to your marketplace.

“Focus on being productive instead of busy.” – Tim Ferriss

Step 2: Be conscious of the impeccable values of your tasks

That’s how to shift your thinking. You dissect the unique values that are embedded in your tasks (when you accomplish them, of course). If you’re a web designer, for example, think about the joy and life-changing events that your design job will bring to your client. That landing page that you’ll design, it would mean the world to your client.

It will even change their business and their lives along the way. But that will not happen if you don’t show up every day, roll up your sleeves and work on that landing page. Now if you can visualize that value, it will serve you well. You’ll be motivated. So, how do you become more conscious of the values of your work? Write them down. And read them every day to spark your productivity.

Step 3: Remind yourself of the limited time you have in life

We like to postpone today’s tasks for tomorrow. Often, we’ll schedule a time to work, but when the time is due, we come up with another excuse, “I’ve got to call that client instead; I’ll leave that work till tomorrow.” But we don’t own tomorrow. We don’t have control over it. We don’t even know what it holds. And we have a very limited time.

If you want to improve your productivity, you have got to remind yourself about the scarcity of your time. Here are a few questions to ask yourself (I recommend that you do these exercises every time before you begin to work):

  • If you only have 24 hours left today, how do you want to spend it?
  • If you have 5 projects to complete today, how do you manage your time?
  • Would you rather watch a movie on Netflix or accomplish today’s task and move closer to your vision?

“Do something instead of killing time because time is killing you.” – Paulo Coelho

It’s about making smart choices. I know It’s hard. It’s tough. It requires an impeccable amount of discipline. But with constant practice, these mental tricks will help you become a more productive person, move you closer to realizing your vision.

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Life

7 Simple Tips to Help You Eliminate Negative Thoughts

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Have you been feeling low lately? Are you missing being the person you once used to be? In this fast-paced life of ours, it is not surprising to feel depressed. 15 out of 100 adults in the USA fall prey to depression every year.

As we get more and more detached from reality and bury ourselves into the virtual world of our smartphones, anxiety and stress seep into our brain and make us lose sight of the happy versions of ourselves. It is optimism alone that keeps us going by giving us the will to fight the battle within us. The power to usher in positivity and shoo off the negative thoughts rests with you.

Here’s what you can do to remove the dark cloud of pessimism that hovers over you:

1. Train your mind to think positive

Affirmations can help boost your self-esteem. If you continue to affirm your brain, it will learn to believe in you and will work positively. Positive affirmations are scientifically proven and can make miracles happen. Tell yourself that you are getting better and your subconscious will adapt to it and function accordingly.

Train your brain to give a neutral spin to all your negative thoughts. Since, building a positive mindset isn’t an easy task to do, the neutral thoughts will help you keep the negativity at bay and aid you in paving your path towards positivity.

2. Cultivate self-love

If you have been waiting for a pair of arms to reach out and rescue you, you might just have to wait longer. Instead, be your own messiah. In order to do so, you have to perfect the art of self-love. Nurture your narcissism a bit and learn to appreciate yourself more often.

Learn to turn down offers politely and indulge in some quality Me-time. Bake your favorite cake or shop for the dress that you had been eyeing for quite some time now. Go get a spa treatment and appreciate the daily efforts that you make.

“Owning our story and loving ourselves through that process is the bravest thing that we’ll ever do.” – Brené Brown

3. Keep yourself busy

The key to ward off negativity is to keep your brain busy, so that it does not get the time to breed ill thoughts. Considering how the descent towards the abysmal pit of depression starts at our workstation, I would suggest that you find engagements outside your workplace that helps your mind to relax.

You can try reading lighthearted literature. A personal favorite, the Chicken Soup for the Soul, can actually nurture your brain with the much-needed optimism to fight away the negative blues. Listen to happy, soulful music or take a stroll in the fresh air.

4. Surround yourself with positivity

People around us have the power to affect us – in both positive and negative ways. Their actions affect us, and we take their words to heart. Quite often, negative thoughts cloud our minds because of a seed that was sown by someone we hold close to our hearts. The people we walk and talk with are capable of influencing our emotions. So, you must choose your company wisely.

Surround yourself with people who care for you and love you. Love is the only magic potion for us muggles, and with the right kind of love and support, we can eliminate the negative thoughts that wreak havoc in our brains. Also, learn to block unwanted people from your lives.

5. Be a social butterfly

In this age of social media, we have more virtual friends than actual friends. So, come out of the virtual world and spend some time with your family and friends. Your family members fall among the ones who love you just as you are. At the end of the day, they are the ones who matter.

Moreover, when you go out of your way to help someone, you feel more positive. Rescuing someone from the same pit of darkness as you are in can help you ward off your own demons. So, don’t shy away from community work.

“Society is like a large piece of frozen water; and skating well is the great art of social life.” – Letitia Elizabeth Landon

6. Lead a healthy life

Exercise and meditation can be of immense help when it comes to overcoming stress and negative thoughts. When you exercise, your brain releases chemicals like dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin which play an important role in regulating your mood. Mediation helps you to increase your brain power and aligns your thought processes towards optimism.

Other than exercising, you must get enough sleep. Proper sleep helps our bodies to recover from the daily toil and provides it with the time to repair. Also, try to eat healthy food. Avoid gluten, caffeine, and sugar as they make you bitter and depressed. Keep your body healthy, which in turn will tell your brain to be more positive.

7. Make your ambiance teem with positivity

Other than exercising and eating healthy, you can take little steps like drawing yourself a bath or sleeping with a heavier comforter on to make yourself feel more calm and composed. When you feel rejuvenated physically, your mind will automatically feel relaxed.

Get your upholstery in happier shades of light pastels and make sure that your room is adequately lit up. However small these changes might be, they will welcome positivity into your life.

In the end, I would like to emphasize the importance of reducing stress. Train your brain to focus on the brighter side of things, so that depression and negativity cannot take a toll on your mental health. Trust me when I say that you are stronger than you think!

Which one of these 7 tips to eliminate negative thoughts do you need to work on most? Let us know how you’re going to work on it below!

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Life

4 Steps to Accepting and Acting on Negative Feedback

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All feedback is good, but not all feedback is positive. We’re often subject to negative feedback at work for different scenarios such as missing a performance target set by the organization or developing a high-end product idea that flopped after testing.

Regardless of the reason, accepting negative feedback can be difficult—especially if there is pressure across the board to perform in the face of perpetual downsizing, outsourcing, or consolidation.

It can be even harder if you’re just starting out. It’s easy to take the feedback as a personal affront. But nothing could be farther from the truth. Performance feedback isn’t meant to insult or demean, it’s an attempt to rehabilitate.

Think about it, why would your supervisor take the time to talk it out if they’d already given up on you? Because motivating a team also means holding team members accountable for what’s not working. Receiving feedback is a chance to improve and better support those around us.

So next time you’re called into the boss’ office for feedback, consider these four steps below:

1. Detach – Remember that it’s not personal

The first step is to detach, emotionally that is. Before the conversation starts, remind yourself that this feedback is based on job performance and factors that include objective data. It has nothing to do with how nice you are, how fun you are around the office, or how you live your life away from work.

Your supervisor is trying to do their job as well as you’ve been trying to do yours. They feel that talking to you now is vital for your own well-being as a team member and for the team as a whole. If there’s something you’re doing that needs to be better, they have a responsibility to everyone on the team to tell you—and early enough so you can address it and make the end result better for everyone.

“I think it’s very important to have a feedback loop, where you’re constantly thinking about what you’ve done and how you could be doing it better.” – Elon Musk

2. Information – Focus on the data

Your supervisor’s description of your performance should be specific and actionable, so listen first and take careful notes as you pick up on themes. The earlier you try to respond, the more likely you will appear defensive and only out to present your ‘side’.

If you focus on listening and taking down what observations they have, you are more likely to capture what needs improvement. If you’re focused on improving those things, you’ll ultimately grow and be successful in supporting the organization and remaining an asset to those around you.

3. Vision – Create an image of what improvement looks like

The conversation is over. You’ve left the office and are back in your workspace. Review your notes and think about what your supervisor said. It’s time to work on the counter-image—what does improvement look like? This is an exercise in setting and realizing a vision.

Imagine what it looks like for the opposite of the feedback to be true. Don’t think about the steps to get there yet. Focus on ‘winning’ the situation, accounting for each observation your supervisor provided and experiencing success. Develop a narrative that you can see the same way you can watch a television series play out.

Got the image? Now plan your steps, in reverse from the vision you have to the moment you find yourself in now. You must have a vision of where you’ll end up before you can plan the steps to get there, otherwise you’ll set out on a path that leads nowhere—and therefore never ends.

“Try not to become a man of success, but rather try to become a man of value.” – Albert Einstein

4. Empathize – Put yourself in the shoes of those around you

This is the most important step. Your supervisor felt it was the best thing for you and the team to tell you where you fell short and afford you a golden opportunity to do better. The truth is the conversation was likely as difficult for them as it was for you. Having to tell a teammate they’re not meeting standards can eat away at a manager, and is challenging because they must now consider what happens if you’re unable to improve.

You both have the organization’s best interest in mind. Feel what it’s like from their side, what it takes to manage the team and support everyone while meeting performance milestones set by senior leadership. Then think about the team around you.

What are they hoping to see from you? What can you do to help them focus elsewhere in the organization where there’s more work to be done? If you can push the envelope of improvement and get your team moving forward, it allows others to worry about the bigger problems ahead that will take everyone’s effort to solve.

Feedback is a tool for improvement, for yourself and those around you. If you’re receptive, you’ll engender trust and remain as an asset to the organization. That goes for managers, too.

Feedback is a two-way street, so if you’re that supervisor, remember to solicit feedback from your employees on a regular basis and rely on these same four steps to improve and look positively to the future.

How do you deal with handling negative feedback? Let us know your tips for others!

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5 Tips for Young People Starting a Business or Side-Hustle

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The decision to start a business or any sort of “side-hustle” takes a lot of nerve, especially when you’re only in your 20s. Yet, the ability to power on and keep going – through all the ups and downs of business is a feat to be truly admired. (more…)

With the desire to go "digital nomad" and help businesses with their social media, Chelsea Tobin founded her boutique social media agency, Queen of Swords Media, in 2018. She attended Auckland University of Technology in New Zealand, where she graduated with a Bachelor of Business (Marketing major) and a Bachelor of Communication Studies (PR major). She enjoys speaking and writing about her journey so far in the world of business, self-development and mindfulness as a young millennial woman navigating her way through life, and of course social media. You can follow her on Instagram here.

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40 Comments

40 Comments

  1. Apeh Kelvin Chibueze

    Jul 3, 2016 at 2:25 pm

    Your writings inspire one and lift off the burden of past regrets on procrastination. I’ve dwelled on procrastination for long and it has really eaten Me up. I’ve that potential to accomplish my vision but how to go about it considering the task involved has really tied Me down all because of procrastination. Yes, I’ve gotten the light! Thanks Man.

  2. Connie

    Jul 30, 2015 at 2:39 am

    TOR, this article will be very helpful. I’m changing careers, even though I am staying in the medical field. This will be of great help in planning things out. I look forward to reading more of your articles. Thank you.

    • Tor Refsland

      Jul 30, 2015 at 9:13 am

      Hi Connie,

      thanks for your comment.

      I`m glad that you found my article useful 🙂

      Feel send me an email if you need any sparring regarding planning or productivity 😉

      Have a great day.

      Best,

      Tor

  3. Brent Jones

    Jun 22, 2015 at 9:43 pm

    Awesome Post, Tor! Shared it on all my networks. 🙂

    I like the point about WHY.

    One of my mentors once told me, “Figure out why and how will reveal itself.”

    Seriously, when we can mentally envision what success will look like, it’s 1000x easier to accomplish great things!

    • Tor Refsland

      Jun 24, 2015 at 11:52 am

      Thanks, Brent.

      I really appreciate your support and you sharing the post.

      You are AWESOME 😉

      Yup, one of my mentors actually told me the same line…(true story).

      A strong WHY will make you be able to endure all the challenges, the hardship, go outside your comfort zone and do A LOT of things you REALLY don`t WANT to do…

      …but you will do it, because the big PRIZE at the end of the journey is so WORTH it!

      Have a great day,

      Tor

  4. Sonia Thompson

    Jun 22, 2015 at 3:15 pm

    Hey Tor!

    Killing procrastination is so super important for entrepreneurs, so I’m glad you covered this topic.

    My favorite step is the one about 1 to-do list. I generally only work with one, but as I’ve started working on some bigger projects, I see the importance of writing down ALL the steps that need to happen, and then that then allows me to figure out what’s on the critical path and what’s not – which then helps me create a proper daily task list.

    • Tor Refsland

      Jun 24, 2015 at 11:56 am

      Hi Sonia,

      great to see you here.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

      Having ONE to do list will totally change your day, your way of working and yes…increase your productivity tremendously.

      By ONLY having 1 to do list, using the 80/20 rules prioritising the most important tasks at any given time, and sorting the priority of the tasks using the ABCDE method, helped me to increase my productivity with 200% in my previous six-figure income job.

      The result was that I was actually able to do in 2 hours what I normally spent 8 hours of doing.

      Side note – this is how the ABCDE method works:

      I Prioritize the tasks using the ABCDE method:

      A :Tasks I must do – serious consequences if it doesn`t get done
      B: Tasks I should do – mild consequences if it doesn`t get done
      C: Tasks I could do – no consequences if it doesn`t get done
      D: Tasks I delegate
      E: Tasks I never do

      You never do a B task before you have done alle the A tasks, and you never do a C task before you have done all the B tasks, etc.

      Have a great day!

      Tor

  5. Hanna

    Jun 22, 2015 at 3:10 am

    Good useful article Tor – my biggest challenge is the WHY, seems it’s just not BIG enough so any tips on finding your WHY would be greatly appreciated.

    Thank you for the share.

    • Tor Refsland

      Jun 24, 2015 at 12:01 pm

      Hi Hanna,

      first of all, regarding finding your WHY. Since I don`t know what type of project you are talking about, it`s hard for me to give a specific feedback.

      THAT being said…

      if you have a challenge to find your big WHY…

      well, most likely you just don`t have a strong WHY for that project / journey.

      Having a PASSION and a strong WHY is like chemistry with someone when you are on a first date.

      Either you have it, or you don`t.

      However, there might be a few exceptions to this.

      Let me tell you this…

      Visit my website and contact me. Shoot me an email with more details, and I can probably give you a much more detailed answer to your specific situation 😉

      Best,

      Tor

  6. Daniela Uslan

    Jun 22, 2015 at 1:25 am

    Hi Tor,

    What a great list of suggestions! One of the tips that I struggle with the most is self discipline. Even when I have a clear goal, a clear WHY, and support, I find myself getting off track and going on Facebook or wasting time. Also having one master list. That sounds so daunting, but yet so simple. I will have to try it! Thanks for the tips!

    Daniela

    • Tor Refsland

      Jun 24, 2015 at 11:49 am

      Hi Daniela,

      thanks for stopping by to comment 🙂

      You have the clear goal, a clear WHY and support?

      That`s great! 🙂

      What you should do is to focus on FOCUSING (yeah, I wrote that sentence on purpose).

      The key about focusing is to remove all distractions; turn off or mute your cellphone, be unavailable to people and TURN OFF your internet connection.

      Yup, you read correct 😉

      When you remove all distractions, and only FOCUS on ONE task at a time, you should be able to get your stuff done 😉

      Have an awesome day!

      Tor

    • Tor Refsland

      Jun 24, 2015 at 12:05 pm

      Hi Daniela,

      thanks for stopping by.

      You found your clear goal, a clear WHY and support, right?

      That is GREAT!

      Your next step should be focus on FOCUSING (yeah, I wrote that sentence on purpose 😉 )

      You should remove ALL distractions; mute or turn off your cellphone, make yourself unavailable for other people, and turn off your internet connection.

      Yes, you read correct.

      When you are able to focus on ONE single task at hand, and not being distracted, you will instantly become more productive!

      You can do it 🙂

      Best,

      Tor

  7. Joanna

    Jun 20, 2015 at 8:02 pm

    Great post, Tor

    I agree, realising that for the past (insert your number) weeks/months/years you’ve been hitting the wrong goals and ticking off your to-do lists things that don’t really take you where you truly want to go takes a lot of courage and is painful, if not devastating. But if you can take it and turn the learning into a new course of action, then the reward is awesome!

    • Tor Refsland

      Jun 21, 2015 at 12:17 pm

      Thanks for commenting, Joanna.

      Yes, heading in the wrong direction can be crippling for your journey.

      However, the good thing is to stop…and take a breath. Get an overview, and see where you are located compared to your target destination.

      It`s important to not beat yourself up if you took the wrong path, but just change the course and find the silver lining in the experience.

      There is nothing that is called good or bad experience. It`s just experience.

      What you do with it is up to you 🙂

      Have a great day.

      Tor

  8. Carol Amato

    Jun 20, 2015 at 6:03 pm

    What an excellent article! Loved each and every point you made – extremely helpful.

    Especially the ‘When’ and ‘Self-Discipline’ sections. Deadlines are great, but if we don’t have the self-discipline to carry them out, we’re lost. LOL Plain old kitchen timer works for me as well as accountability partner.

    Loved the quote you included by Napoleon Hill, so apt here!

    Thanks for sharing, and have a great weekend.

    Carol Amato

    • Tor Refsland

      Jun 21, 2015 at 12:19 pm

      Thanks for stopping by to comment, Carol.

      Yes, self-discipline is perhaps the hardest factor when it comes to reaching your goal and succeed.

      However, the more you practice it, the easier it becomes.

      A kitchen timer sounds indeed like a great accountability partner 😉

      Have a great day!

      Tor

  9. Andrea Beltrami

    Jun 20, 2015 at 5:30 pm

    Epic list, Tor! These seem easy enough but oh how looks can be deceiving. Each one of these has taken a LOT of time for me to wrap my mentality around but I’ve gotten pretty decent at most. Now if I could just implement them all at the same time. Hahaha

    There’s still a nagging need to procrastinate when I’m afraid or when it’s a task I don’t enjoy doing. What can I say, I’m a work in progress…but aren’t we all! 😉

    • Tor Refsland

      Jun 21, 2015 at 12:25 pm

      Thanks for stopping by to share your thoughts, Andrea.

      I was struggling a long time with these tips as well. However, when I became good at them, it totally changed my life.

      The difference between successful people and people who are not, is that successful people are willing to improve their most important skills ALL the time, and never be satisfied and procrastinate.

      When we are faced with insecurity or fear, procrastination has a tendency to appear.

      But the more we practice to go outside our comfort zone, do sparring with mentors and get used to handle uncomfortable situations, we will become better at it, and we will procrastinate less when we are faced with a new unknown situation 😉

      Tor

  10. Jenna Dalton

    Jun 19, 2015 at 9:01 pm

    Great article, Tor. I love what you said to Sue too – in the comment above – about procrastinating by setting realistic goals that you’ll hit every time.

    I never thought of that being procrastination before but you’re right, it absolutely is!

    Time to go set some bigger goals 🙂

    • Tor Refsland

      Jun 20, 2015 at 8:30 am

      Thanks a lot for stopping by to comment, Jenna.

      It means a lot 🙂

      In a nutshell; when you don`t perform at your best ability to reach your peak potential, you are actually procrastinating.

      It`s a lot like with the “slight edge” principle.

      Person A trains 1 times in the gym per week and just does the bare minimum workout, while person B trains 3 times a week and pushes himself/herself to the limit every single minute of the workout.

      You will probably not see a big difference between those two people when it comes to health and fitness after 1 week, after 1 month, perhaps not after 3 months.

      But after 6 months and more, the difference in their training is starting to show on the outside.

      After 1-2 years, person B will a lightyear ahead.

      How was it accomplished?

      By person B pushing himself to the limit, and doing it consistently.

      THAT is how you reach your peak potential FAST.

      At the end, your success is the sum of all the correct small activities you have completed every single day in order to bring you closer to your peak potential 😉

      Have a great weekend, Jenna.

      Best,

      Tor

      • Jenna Dalton

        Jun 22, 2015 at 3:30 pm

        That absolutely makes sense, Tor. I love that way of thinking and have always thought that to be the case myself – it’s not necessarily one big action that gets you results, it’s a bunch of smaller actions put together over time. Smart strategy, my friend. Keep up the great work!

        • Tor Refsland

          Jun 24, 2015 at 11:45 am

          Thanks, Jenna.

          The clue is to take a big hairy goal(DUMB goal) and break it down into smaller manageable goals (SMART goal).

          The same to you, my friend 🙂

          Tor

  11. Dennis Seymour

    Jun 19, 2015 at 2:37 pm

    Cool post Tor. Goal setting has been a problem for me over the years. I made it a point to address that this year.

    I’m getting things done, though it feels slow, but I am creeping towards accomplishing goals which is the important part!

    You know what would complete this? Tools! Haha 😀 Obsessed with productivity tools.

    Enjoy the weekend!

    • Tor Refsland

      Jun 20, 2015 at 8:20 am

      Thanks a lot for stopping by to comment, Dennis.

      The most important thing is that you are improving 🙂

      Rome wasn`t built in one day 😉

      Productivity can be of great assistance, but at the end of the day, it really comes down to how focused you can work on your most important tasks…every single hour of your workday 😉

      In my experience, too many tools can be counterproductive.

      Have a great weekend 🙂

      Tor

  12. Jane Gordon

    Jun 19, 2015 at 2:22 pm

    I have the biggest problem with the “procrastination beast”! Thanks for the tips! 🙂

    • Tor Refsland

      Jun 20, 2015 at 8:17 am

      Thanks a lot for commenting, Jane.

      I hope that you will start to implement a few of the tips here, so you can handle the beast once and for all 😉

      Have a great weekend.

      Tor

  13. Andrew M. Warner

    Jun 19, 2015 at 1:34 pm

    Hey Tor,

    Good stuff here.

    The big hairy goal concept is something that I try to do all the time. It makes it much easier when you actually get to break it down into steps you can take to move forward. I made the mistake before of just trying to do it all at once, which didn’t work.

    You did a great job with this post.

    – Andrew

    • Tor Refsland

      Jun 20, 2015 at 8:16 am

      Thanks a lot for stopping by to comment, Andrew.

      I really appreciate it 🙂

      Handling a big hairy goal is like handling a 7 course meal. You don`t eat all the courses at once.
      You take ONE course at a time .

      Another big advantage when it comes to handling the smaller goals, is that once you complete a small goal, your confidence increases 😉

      Then you will have more confidence to tackle the next small goal, and when you are about to complete the last small goal (that completes the big hairy goal) your confidence is sky high, you have momentum and you are unstoppable 😉

      Have a great weekend.

      Best,

      Tor

  14. Kevin Duncan

    Jun 19, 2015 at 1:08 pm

    Hi Tor,

    Congrats on getting published at Addicted 2 Success! This site is big time. Congratulations, my friend. 🙂

    Procrastination is definitely a killer. It can be such a difficult habit for people to break, but once they do… well, suddenly their lives are ten times less stressful.

    No need staying up until 4am cramming for an exam (because you started studying weeks ago). No need trying to lose 20 pounds in 7 days for your high school reunion (because you started your diet three months ago). No need stressing and worrying over the things you wish hadn’t waited until the last minute to tackle.

    It’s freeing!

    Great steps you’ve shared with all of us, Tor. I’ll be tweeting this shortly.

    Congrats again! Hope you have an awesome Friday and weekend.

    -Kevin

    • Tor Refsland

      Jun 20, 2015 at 8:09 am

      Thanks a lot for stopping by to comment, Kevin.

      I really appreciate it, buddy.

      Yes, I totally agree with what you are saying. The difference between suffering from procrastination and being able to live a productive life is like night and day.

      If you don`t kill the procrastination beast and building your dream, you will be building someone else`s.

      Thanks a lot for your great comment.

      Have a great weekend.

      Tor

  15. Peter Banerjea

    Jun 19, 2015 at 10:48 am

    Hey Tor!
    Excellent post as usual. Reading your posts is a quick way to get a shot of adrenaline! Keep writing mate!
    Peter

    • Tor Refsland

      Jun 19, 2015 at 1:18 pm

      Hi Peter,

      thanks for stopping by to comment and for your kind words.

      It`s comments like those that makes it worth all the hard work 😉

      Have an awesome day!

      Tor

  16. Anthony Metivier

    Jun 19, 2015 at 10:25 am

    All good points, Tor!

    I too like the “big hairy goals,” concept. It begs another metaphor: the big strong comb (or brush).

    But what do you do with the hydra-effect? I mean, what do you do when tackling one item on your to-do lists means creating another to-do list?

    • Tor Refsland

      Jun 19, 2015 at 1:25 pm

      Thanks for stopping by to comment, Anthony.

      Here is how i deal with the “Hydra-effect”.

      If you have a task A on your to do list, it spawns into several subtasks, I use a technique I call the Dependant Subtask principle.

      It works like this:

      Task A spawns into 5 subtasks.

      Task A – subtask A1
      – subtask A2
      – subtask A3
      – subtask A4
      – subtask A5

      You need to complete all 5 subtasks in order to complete task A. If there are dependencies among the subtasks, you range them from A1 to A5, where A1 is the subtask you have to complete first, then A2, A3, etc.

      In other words, I don`t create another to do list, I just take a big task and split it into several subtasks.

      I hope that helps.

      Best,

      Tor

      • Anthony Metivier

        Jun 27, 2015 at 7:51 am

        I like the Dependent Subtask principle. I’m going to put it to work – thank!

        • Tor Refsland

          Jun 27, 2015 at 9:49 am

          Great, Anthony.

          Good luck.

          And let me know how that goes 🙂

          Tor

  17. Sue Anne Dunlevie

    Jun 19, 2015 at 10:03 am

    Hi, Tor,

    Great article! I like setting “big hairy goals” – I don’t always hit them but it’s amazing how many happen.

    “Focus” is my word this year – after consulting with you, I check email much less now.

    Thanks for the info,
    Sue

    • Tor Refsland

      Jun 19, 2015 at 1:29 pm

      Thanks for stopping by to comment, Sue.

      The secret with “big hairy goals” is actually not necessarily to reach them, but that you will push yourself to achieve a BETTER results than if you didn`t set a high goal.

      Nothing is worse than to procrastinate by always setting realistic goals, which you will hit every single time.

      Setting goals is like training in the gym. If you never increase the amount of weights you lift, you will not progress according to your true potential 😉

      Focus is indeed an important ingredient when it comes to increasing your productivity, reaching your goals, being present and more happy.

      Best,

      Tor

  18. Lawrence Berry

    Jun 19, 2015 at 2:58 am

    The three things that I like here that have proved to be the most beneficial for me is having a why, having a plan, and taking action. When you have a why for what you want to do in life and you wake up to your why and a dream, you have motivation. After you have motivation, you need a plan of action, and after you have a plan, you need to take action. This are the true keys to success for me and you nailed it in detail in this article. Thanks for sharing!

    • Tor Refsland

      Jun 19, 2015 at 1:35 pm

      Thanks for commenting and for your kind words, Lawrence.

      Yes, reaching your goals isn`t really that complicated.

      It`s actually SIMPLE (but not easy).

      If you were going to go skiing for 10 kilometers the first time in your life, and you had never done it before, you would probably suck at it.

      The weather might be bad, your technique would be probably be far from perfect, and your skis might not be prepared in the best way.

      However, the only thing standing between you and the 10 kilometers finish line, is if you decide to QUIT.

      It doesn`t matter how bad the weather is, how tired and fed up you are, or how much you suck at skiing.

      If you have a strong enough WHY and you continue to move forward, you WILL reach the finish line eventually.

      That is basically how reaching your goals work 😉

      Have an awesome day.

      Best,

      Tor

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Life

You Can Create Whatever Life You Want So Stop Talking Yourself Out of Your Destiny

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There’s never been a time like right now in human history for entrepreneurship. We have access to virtually limitless knowledge thanks to the advent of the internet, and you can reach anyone on this planet literally at the click of a button.

However, despite the massive amount of opportunity out there, there are still time-tested principles that every wanna-be entrepreneur needs to know in order to truly succeed. Knowing these principles can spell the difference between achieving your dreams and talking yourself out of your destiny.

There is Such a Thing as Preparing Too Much

While it’s certainly necessary to prepare in life, a just as devastating problem many people face in life is being too prepared. Way too often, people believe they’re actually working by spending hours “preparing” when all they’re doing is thinking about working while their actual work goes untouched.

As Gary Vaynerchuk put it bluntly in one of his livestream Q&A videos, “There are just so many ways to build your business, but lack of action is not one of them.” Basically, we are both blessed and cursed by our access to virtually limitless knowledge. We can turn on the faucet of knowledge and grab a quick swig when we need it, but if we leave it on for too long we’ll be drowning in information and be stuck trying to process everything.

If you spend too much time processing, you’ll be more likely to talk yourself out of taking the risks necessary to build a successful business. The solution is simple: stop processing and start taking action.

A phrase I find myself repeating a lot when I get into a bind is, “How did successful people do it before the age of internet?” The answer is they did it by not talking themselves off of the ledge of destiny and instead diving into their project headfirst.

“Change your life today. Don’t gamble on the future, act now, without delay.” – Simone de Beauvoir

Our Feelings Often Lie to Us

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve felt like throwing in the towel when trying to build my web design business. I remember one day in particular I had a massive headache and was on the verge of quitting everything due to the frustration I felt while dealing with a problematic client.

I looked at my watch and realized I hadn’t eaten yet that morning, so I went and made myself breakfast. After eating a bowl of scrambled eggs and toast, my headache magically vanished along with my thoughts of wanting to quit. I quickly realized what needed to be done and fixed the client’s issue without much thought. The problem wasn’t with the client, the problem was with my stomach.

Can you imagine how ridiculous I would have looked had I fired my client all because I hadn’t eaten that day? This is why our feelings sometimes need to take a backseat when it comes to making wise, calculated decisions for our success.

Intuition is important, obviously, but it’s best utilized with years of reliable experience to back it up. So go with your gut when it’s wise to do so, but always make sure your gut is fed otherwise you may regret what it has to say.

Perfectionism Can Halt All Progress

You will never have everything figured out. Let that sink in. It’s become such a trope in our society that it’s surprising how easily we tend to forget it. There isn’t a single business out there that has all the answers on how to do things right, so why do we feel the need to stop moving forward if things aren’t perfect?

I remember a friend of mine spent years trying to compose music on his synthesizer but never released anything because it “wasn’t good enough” by his standards. I gave him the simple proposition to “put out crappy music”, since no matter what he would always think his music was crappy due to his perfectionist mindset. Within a day, he finally put something out on SoundCloud and his song “#Selfie” became a hit worldwide while his band The ChainSmokers continues to put out hits to this day.

OK, I’m kidding about that last part, but hopefully you get my point. My friend finally had a song out that he could have had out years ago but was too caught up on making everything “perfect” to do anything. He had, in effect, talked himself out of taking action. The same thing applies with business, even if you don’t have everything figured out it’s best to just start something and learn as you go.

“Imperfection is perfection.” – Flume

Whenever that annoying, perfectionist voice in your head tries to get you to quit because you’ll never have the “perfect” product or service to sell, tell it to shut up and put out your product or service anyway. As you gain experience in your field and receive valuable feedback from customers, you’ll be able to continually improve things with your business.

Had you not taken action to begin with, you would never have attained either of these two valuable assets. Never settle for mediocrity, but at the same time recognize your need to be in motion even if the thing that sets you in motion is initially subpar.

How do you push yourself and keep motivated? Let us know your thoughts below!

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3 Mental Tricks to Help You Become a More Productive Person

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Whether you’re a career salesman, a student, or a software engineer, you can’t move an inch in your career if you produce less. Productivity is the key that will unlock your success. Unfortunately, not all of us are productive. And some of it is not our problem. Our Internet-empowered world is bloated with too many social media tools, too many emails and notifications, too many SMS and short messages, too many YouTube videos and Netflix movies. The distractions are at an all time high.

But what if there is a system that will help you keep all these distractions aside until you have accomplished your tasks? There is. And it only takes 3 simple steps. Read Below:

Step 1: See your everyday tasks as a gift

Showing up every day to work is anything but fun. You know your life depends on it, but some days are not your best days. No matter how you plan your projects, you can’t show up to do them. You’re tired and bored and uninterested. What’s the way forward? It’s not about planning. It’s not about waking up early. It’s not about lack of exercise or anything like that.

If you want to conquer your to-do list, day in and day out, you need a simple shift in your mindset. Stop thinking of your tasks as work. See those tasks as gifts…as natural endowments exclusively given to you. This simple shift in your mindset will awaken the sleeping giant within you. You’ll start feeling great about yourself, stop seeing your work as burdensome. The tasks will now make you feel proud.

No longer will your showing up early at your desk irritate you—because now you feel comfortable doing the work that matters. The mindset adjustment is not even difficult. Just figure out the value that your tasks will bring to your marketplace.

“Focus on being productive instead of busy.” – Tim Ferriss

Step 2: Be conscious of the impeccable values of your tasks

That’s how to shift your thinking. You dissect the unique values that are embedded in your tasks (when you accomplish them, of course). If you’re a web designer, for example, think about the joy and life-changing events that your design job will bring to your client. That landing page that you’ll design, it would mean the world to your client.

It will even change their business and their lives along the way. But that will not happen if you don’t show up every day, roll up your sleeves and work on that landing page. Now if you can visualize that value, it will serve you well. You’ll be motivated. So, how do you become more conscious of the values of your work? Write them down. And read them every day to spark your productivity.

Step 3: Remind yourself of the limited time you have in life

We like to postpone today’s tasks for tomorrow. Often, we’ll schedule a time to work, but when the time is due, we come up with another excuse, “I’ve got to call that client instead; I’ll leave that work till tomorrow.” But we don’t own tomorrow. We don’t have control over it. We don’t even know what it holds. And we have a very limited time.

If you want to improve your productivity, you have got to remind yourself about the scarcity of your time. Here are a few questions to ask yourself (I recommend that you do these exercises every time before you begin to work):

  • If you only have 24 hours left today, how do you want to spend it?
  • If you have 5 projects to complete today, how do you manage your time?
  • Would you rather watch a movie on Netflix or accomplish today’s task and move closer to your vision?

“Do something instead of killing time because time is killing you.” – Paulo Coelho

It’s about making smart choices. I know It’s hard. It’s tough. It requires an impeccable amount of discipline. But with constant practice, these mental tricks will help you become a more productive person, move you closer to realizing your vision.

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Life

7 Simple Tips to Help You Eliminate Negative Thoughts

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Have you been feeling low lately? Are you missing being the person you once used to be? In this fast-paced life of ours, it is not surprising to feel depressed. 15 out of 100 adults in the USA fall prey to depression every year.

As we get more and more detached from reality and bury ourselves into the virtual world of our smartphones, anxiety and stress seep into our brain and make us lose sight of the happy versions of ourselves. It is optimism alone that keeps us going by giving us the will to fight the battle within us. The power to usher in positivity and shoo off the negative thoughts rests with you.

Here’s what you can do to remove the dark cloud of pessimism that hovers over you:

1. Train your mind to think positive

Affirmations can help boost your self-esteem. If you continue to affirm your brain, it will learn to believe in you and will work positively. Positive affirmations are scientifically proven and can make miracles happen. Tell yourself that you are getting better and your subconscious will adapt to it and function accordingly.

Train your brain to give a neutral spin to all your negative thoughts. Since, building a positive mindset isn’t an easy task to do, the neutral thoughts will help you keep the negativity at bay and aid you in paving your path towards positivity.

2. Cultivate self-love

If you have been waiting for a pair of arms to reach out and rescue you, you might just have to wait longer. Instead, be your own messiah. In order to do so, you have to perfect the art of self-love. Nurture your narcissism a bit and learn to appreciate yourself more often.

Learn to turn down offers politely and indulge in some quality Me-time. Bake your favorite cake or shop for the dress that you had been eyeing for quite some time now. Go get a spa treatment and appreciate the daily efforts that you make.

“Owning our story and loving ourselves through that process is the bravest thing that we’ll ever do.” – Brené Brown

3. Keep yourself busy

The key to ward off negativity is to keep your brain busy, so that it does not get the time to breed ill thoughts. Considering how the descent towards the abysmal pit of depression starts at our workstation, I would suggest that you find engagements outside your workplace that helps your mind to relax.

You can try reading lighthearted literature. A personal favorite, the Chicken Soup for the Soul, can actually nurture your brain with the much-needed optimism to fight away the negative blues. Listen to happy, soulful music or take a stroll in the fresh air.

4. Surround yourself with positivity

People around us have the power to affect us – in both positive and negative ways. Their actions affect us, and we take their words to heart. Quite often, negative thoughts cloud our minds because of a seed that was sown by someone we hold close to our hearts. The people we walk and talk with are capable of influencing our emotions. So, you must choose your company wisely.

Surround yourself with people who care for you and love you. Love is the only magic potion for us muggles, and with the right kind of love and support, we can eliminate the negative thoughts that wreak havoc in our brains. Also, learn to block unwanted people from your lives.

5. Be a social butterfly

In this age of social media, we have more virtual friends than actual friends. So, come out of the virtual world and spend some time with your family and friends. Your family members fall among the ones who love you just as you are. At the end of the day, they are the ones who matter.

Moreover, when you go out of your way to help someone, you feel more positive. Rescuing someone from the same pit of darkness as you are in can help you ward off your own demons. So, don’t shy away from community work.

“Society is like a large piece of frozen water; and skating well is the great art of social life.” – Letitia Elizabeth Landon

6. Lead a healthy life

Exercise and meditation can be of immense help when it comes to overcoming stress and negative thoughts. When you exercise, your brain releases chemicals like dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin which play an important role in regulating your mood. Mediation helps you to increase your brain power and aligns your thought processes towards optimism.

Other than exercising, you must get enough sleep. Proper sleep helps our bodies to recover from the daily toil and provides it with the time to repair. Also, try to eat healthy food. Avoid gluten, caffeine, and sugar as they make you bitter and depressed. Keep your body healthy, which in turn will tell your brain to be more positive.

7. Make your ambiance teem with positivity

Other than exercising and eating healthy, you can take little steps like drawing yourself a bath or sleeping with a heavier comforter on to make yourself feel more calm and composed. When you feel rejuvenated physically, your mind will automatically feel relaxed.

Get your upholstery in happier shades of light pastels and make sure that your room is adequately lit up. However small these changes might be, they will welcome positivity into your life.

In the end, I would like to emphasize the importance of reducing stress. Train your brain to focus on the brighter side of things, so that depression and negativity cannot take a toll on your mental health. Trust me when I say that you are stronger than you think!

Which one of these 7 tips to eliminate negative thoughts do you need to work on most? Let us know how you’re going to work on it below!

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Life

4 Steps to Accepting and Acting on Negative Feedback

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All feedback is good, but not all feedback is positive. We’re often subject to negative feedback at work for different scenarios such as missing a performance target set by the organization or developing a high-end product idea that flopped after testing.

Regardless of the reason, accepting negative feedback can be difficult—especially if there is pressure across the board to perform in the face of perpetual downsizing, outsourcing, or consolidation.

It can be even harder if you’re just starting out. It’s easy to take the feedback as a personal affront. But nothing could be farther from the truth. Performance feedback isn’t meant to insult or demean, it’s an attempt to rehabilitate.

Think about it, why would your supervisor take the time to talk it out if they’d already given up on you? Because motivating a team also means holding team members accountable for what’s not working. Receiving feedback is a chance to improve and better support those around us.

So next time you’re called into the boss’ office for feedback, consider these four steps below:

1. Detach – Remember that it’s not personal

The first step is to detach, emotionally that is. Before the conversation starts, remind yourself that this feedback is based on job performance and factors that include objective data. It has nothing to do with how nice you are, how fun you are around the office, or how you live your life away from work.

Your supervisor is trying to do their job as well as you’ve been trying to do yours. They feel that talking to you now is vital for your own well-being as a team member and for the team as a whole. If there’s something you’re doing that needs to be better, they have a responsibility to everyone on the team to tell you—and early enough so you can address it and make the end result better for everyone.

“I think it’s very important to have a feedback loop, where you’re constantly thinking about what you’ve done and how you could be doing it better.” – Elon Musk

2. Information – Focus on the data

Your supervisor’s description of your performance should be specific and actionable, so listen first and take careful notes as you pick up on themes. The earlier you try to respond, the more likely you will appear defensive and only out to present your ‘side’.

If you focus on listening and taking down what observations they have, you are more likely to capture what needs improvement. If you’re focused on improving those things, you’ll ultimately grow and be successful in supporting the organization and remaining an asset to those around you.

3. Vision – Create an image of what improvement looks like

The conversation is over. You’ve left the office and are back in your workspace. Review your notes and think about what your supervisor said. It’s time to work on the counter-image—what does improvement look like? This is an exercise in setting and realizing a vision.

Imagine what it looks like for the opposite of the feedback to be true. Don’t think about the steps to get there yet. Focus on ‘winning’ the situation, accounting for each observation your supervisor provided and experiencing success. Develop a narrative that you can see the same way you can watch a television series play out.

Got the image? Now plan your steps, in reverse from the vision you have to the moment you find yourself in now. You must have a vision of where you’ll end up before you can plan the steps to get there, otherwise you’ll set out on a path that leads nowhere—and therefore never ends.

“Try not to become a man of success, but rather try to become a man of value.” – Albert Einstein

4. Empathize – Put yourself in the shoes of those around you

This is the most important step. Your supervisor felt it was the best thing for you and the team to tell you where you fell short and afford you a golden opportunity to do better. The truth is the conversation was likely as difficult for them as it was for you. Having to tell a teammate they’re not meeting standards can eat away at a manager, and is challenging because they must now consider what happens if you’re unable to improve.

You both have the organization’s best interest in mind. Feel what it’s like from their side, what it takes to manage the team and support everyone while meeting performance milestones set by senior leadership. Then think about the team around you.

What are they hoping to see from you? What can you do to help them focus elsewhere in the organization where there’s more work to be done? If you can push the envelope of improvement and get your team moving forward, it allows others to worry about the bigger problems ahead that will take everyone’s effort to solve.

Feedback is a tool for improvement, for yourself and those around you. If you’re receptive, you’ll engender trust and remain as an asset to the organization. That goes for managers, too.

Feedback is a two-way street, so if you’re that supervisor, remember to solicit feedback from your employees on a regular basis and rely on these same four steps to improve and look positively to the future.

How do you deal with handling negative feedback? Let us know your tips for others!

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