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10 Effective Strategies To Fight Procrastination

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Procrastination Stop It Now Not Later

Procrastination might seem harmless enough; but when you start to tally up all the time you have wasted in the past week, month, or year, it becomes significantly more disconcerting.

As somebody who struggled for years with procrastination (to the point where it had disastrous consequences on my education and professional life) I understand the pain that can be caused by failing to achieve the things you desire in life.

If you are tired of wasting precious moments of your life to procrastination, then pay close attention. In this article you are going to discover ten effective strategies to help you fight procrastination and get your groove back.

I’ve tested these techniques myself (and helped implement them in the lives of others) and strongly believe that they will work for you.

 

10 Ways To Stop Procrastinating

 

1. Set Yourself a Goal to Achieve

One of the most effective ways to fight back against procrastination is to have a goal to work towards in your life. Whether it is something as simple as completing your next essay, through to running a marathon for the first time, a goal will help you focus your energies and provide impetus to get up and get things done.

Just remember that it pays to set a realistic goal. So if you’ve never so much as picked up a microphone before, don’t expect to be a virtuoso singer by the end of the month. Setting unrealistic goals only places you in a position of likely disappointment, which is not going to encourage you to take action.

 

2. Discover Your Biggest Distractions

All of us are liable to be distracted by certain things. Whether it is social media, texting, or good old fashioned chinwagging with colleagues, there is bound to be something that has a tendency to keep you distracted from your work.

You need to identify your biggest distractions and time-wasters, and then try to eliminate or block them when you need to get work done.

For digital distractions, such as social media, the solution is surprisingly easy; there is a plethora of tools online that you can use to temporarily block websites for a set duration of time.

I’m a big fan of the StayFocusd extension for Google Chrome, which makes blocking websites like Facebook and Twitter an absolute breeze.

If you find yourself being distracted by coworkers, friends in the library, or family members around the house, then invest in a good pair of noise cancelling headphones for when you need to be working. These serve two purposes; firstly, you will be able to block out distracting noises. Secondly, you will put up a “defensive barrier”that discourages those around you from interrupting your work flow.

I’ve always found that the simple act of wearing a pair of headphones while working in an office prevents colleagues from interrupting me, except under truly important circumstances.

 

3. Keep Track of Where You are Wasting Time

In the realm of personal finance it is very much au fait to keep track of the money you spend on a daily basis. From that Starbucks coffee on the way to work, through to a takeaway lunch; the small amounts of money you spend all add up over time to create a big figure that you could have saved.

Unfortunately, this activity has not proven very popular when it comes to seeing where you spend the time in a day. In order to get a good perspective on just how much time you might be wasting due to procrastination, you need to make a concerted effort to record where you are spending your time.

I suggest carrying around a notebook and pen for the next few days, and then write down the time you spend doing everything. Keep track of seemingly insignificant events as well, such as the time spent showering, or cooking dinner, or doing laundry.

The whole point here is to build up an accurate picture so you can.

a)    See how much time you are wasting in an average day

b)    Work out exactly how you are wasting that time

This will be a truly eye-opening experience, which help put procrastination in context and inspire you to take action. You can then use the information you gather to help you identify particular activities that waste a lot of your time.

 

 

4. Use Productivity Apps

In the age of the smartphone there is an almost endless supply of quality apps and programs that you can carry with you wherever you go, which will help you to beat procrastination and manage your time more effectively.

I’m a big fan of using “to-do list”apps that allow you to create a list of tasks you wish to complete in a day, and then check off as you complete them. There are so many excellent choices for both iPhone and Android, although I personally use an app called Todoist.

Having a list of tasks you want to complete is a great way to structure your day and focus your effort – and using a productivity app brings a whole new world of convenience to your fingertips.

 

5. Identify Crucial Work & Attack it First

Although I’m a big fan of trying to get everything complete, I also believe that prioritisation of work is extremely important – and is something that can really help you to become more motivated and fight back against procrastination.

You need to identify the most crucial/important work on your schedule, and then do that first. There’s no point in wasting your time, energy, and drive on doing insignificant tasks first (although it is always tempting to do so if those tasks are easier to complete).

Make sure you tackle any mission-critical work first, so that you can dedicate the maximum amount of energy possible to it. If you do less important work first, then by the time you have completed that you will probably feel too drained to effectively tackle the important tasks.

 

Stop Procastinating Quote

 

6. Look for (Ethical) Shortcuts

There is a popular (and sadly misattributed) quote by Bill Gates that describes how he prefers to hire lazy people, as they tend to find the swiftest solutions to a problem.

Although it would be crazy to describe laziness and procrastination as a positive, you can leverage off these traits in order to look for shortcuts when doing work or performing any given task.

For example, I used to work in a marketing agency where I had to create monthly reports in Excel, in order to show clients where their budget was being spent. The process I was taught for this involved a number of redundant steps, as well as actions that I had a hunch could be better automated in Excel.

I did a quick bit of research and discovered some Excel functions I could use to practically automate the entire reporting process. Although I was taking an unsanctioned shortcut, the output was exactly the same and I was able to complete three reports in the time it usually took to do one!

However, if you are going to go down the shortcut route, then you need to ensure that whatever you do does not have a negative impact on the quality of your work.

If taking a shortcut means notably worse results (or, in even more serious circumstances, that someone could suffer harm or loss because of your actions) then it’s best to do the work properly – even if that takes a whole lot more time.

 

7. Visualize Success and Motivation

The power of visualization is real, and it can bring amazing benefits to your life. If you’re struggling with procrastination or lack of motivation, then I want you to give visualization a try.

What you need to do is focus your mind on what feeling motivated and taking action would be like. To do this it helps to visualize yourself doing a particular task or activity (e.g. going for a run).

Bear in mind that visualization is more complex than giving a passing thought to something you want to do. It requires true dedication and focus to achieve results from visualization. You need to imagine the sights you will see, sounds you will hear, and emotions you will feel, when you achieve what you wish to complete.

 

8. Improve Lifestyle Factors

In order to stop procrastination, find motivation, and become more energetic, you need to also look at lifestyle factors. I’m talking about things like diet, exercise, and sleep.

In my experience, people who have poor diets, exercise infrequently, and get insufficient sleep, are all more prone to procrastination. The reasons for this are numerable; what matters is the change you can make!

You don’t need to totally overhaul your life and go all super-healthy on everyone. However, by making some modest lifestyle changes you can really improve your chances of becoming more energetic and motivated – which, in turn, will help you to beat procrastination.

In order of importance, I would recommend that you focus on:

  1. Getting regular exercise to elevate your mood and enhance mental focus
  2. Ensuring you get sufficient sleep, so that you have the energy you need to be active
  3. Improving your diet (reduce the amount of processed/junk foods you eat, and increase the amount of vegetables, fruit, and “brain foods”, such as oily fish in your diet).

 

9. Break Tasks Down Into Smaller Parts

Another excellent strategy for making work easier (and more appealing to do) is to break tasks down into smaller parts.

For example, that essay you need to write by Monday morning might seem like a massive mountain now …but if you break it down into its constituent parts – research, intro, argument, conclusion, proofing etc – it suddenly becomes a series of small hills!

Almost everything you could ever hope to do in life can be broken down into smaller parts, which you can then tackle head-on. Small tasks are easier to complete, require less time, and are less daunting to attempt.

 

10. Force Yourself to Take Action

My father used to tell me that even when you’re down, lacking energy, and feeling unmotivated, one of the best steps you can take is to literally force yourself (against your own will) to take action. This is a rather strange concept to grapple with, but basically you need to pick something you need to do, and then accomplish it …even if you aren’t feeling so much as slightly motivated to do so.

Here’s an anecdote to help explain my point: I had a friend who was desperate to get in shape, but he could never quite bring himself to get to the gym; his reason being that he didn’t feel motivated at the time to do so. I told him one evening that he needed to force himself to go to the gym, and that as soon as he hopped on the treadmill he would feel much better for it.

Lo and behold, this simple act of encouragement helped, and he managed to cajole himself into taking action. Since that first baby step he has become a true gym junkie, and is deservedly reaping the rewards.

Forcing yourself to take those baby steps will have a similar effect in your life. Get over the feeling of not wanting to do something, and just do it. After all, the best solution for procrastination is to get something done.

 

pablo picasso picture quote

 

Conclusion

Procrastination isnt an incurable disease that has to linger over all of your life. It is something that can be overcome with the right mental attitude and resources.

Start dedicating yourself to beating procrastination, set a goal to be motivated, and watch the results materialise when you start to take action.

James Frankton is a blogger and lifestyle coach at www.whyamilazy.com - visit his site for more time management and motivation advice. 

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8 Comments

8 Comments

  1. Mwela Victor

    Jun 9, 2017 at 9:44 am

    Thank you for teaching these stratagees.

  2. Michael

    Jul 13, 2014 at 10:39 am

    Hey,
    if you want to understand the reason why people do what they do, I highly recommend you “Awaken the Giant Within” from Tony Robbins. In the first chapters he describes the model of pain and pleasure and what drives people to do things. Absolute great book!

  3. Naomi@business start ups

    Jun 23, 2014 at 9:48 pm

    Hi James,

    I’ve just started using “#3. Keep Track of Where You are Wasting Time”

    I was shocked at how long basic tasks were taking me to do! NOT any more

    Thanks, Naomi

  4. Tom

    Jun 22, 2014 at 7:05 am

    Love the quote graphic on procrastination being compared to a credit card … excellent analogy!

  5. Koko

    Jun 21, 2014 at 6:26 pm

    In my personal opinion, procrastination is the first obstacle that blocks success. Instant execution should be a habit, rather than solvable argument.

  6. Ben Granville Kyle

    Jun 21, 2014 at 2:19 pm

    First you need to understand WHY you are procrastinating. Without that these tips probably won’t work. Break tasks into smaller parts. It seems logical, and my rational brain understands that. You would do it if you could, but you still don’t do it. Because you are convinced that you will screw it up, and be judged as a person based on your performance, or maybe you are afraid you will do a good job, and people will expect more of you, until you eventually mess up.

    THOSE are the issues you need to address

    • Emily Filloramo

      Jun 21, 2014 at 4:10 pm

      Totally agree with you Ben.

      I had a client where we found the reason why she procrastinated was because she didn’t believe she deserved success because at 2-years-old she took on the belief that she was unlovable when her baby brother was born. (Between the ages of 0-7, our brains absorb every negative experience literally.)

      She missed deadlines, she showed up late for appointments and she got people angry as a result of her procrastination. These negative results reinforced the original faulty belief that “I’m not lovable and not worthy” that was hidden in her subconscious.

      When she re-parented and showered love to this 2 year old part that was frozen in time, that’s when her procrastination diminished. As a result, she no longer missed deadlines, she no longer showed up late for appointments. Her relationships improved and she became more successful. All because we turned a negative core belief into a positive one.

    • James Frankton

      Jun 21, 2014 at 11:10 pm

      Hi Ben,

      Thanks for your input. I would certainly agree with you that understanding why you are procrastinating is something that is important to understand as well. That is a huge topic in itself (and something I hope to cover in a future piece).

      In my experience, the reasons for procrastination tend to break down to:

      1) Fear of failure – I think you’ve mentioned this (“because you are convinced that you will screw it up”)
      2) Excessive perfectionism
      3) A genuine lack of energy
      4) No goal or target to work towards

      Knowing which of these root causes speaks to you (or whatever else you feel is causing you to procrastinate) is definitely going to help you get more out of strategy you deploy to beat procrastination.

      Regards,

      James Frankton (the author)

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Success Advice

One Question You Must Answer to Ensure Personal Success

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I don’t believe in quick fixes, in get-rich-quick schemes, or any other system that guarantees instant success with only a modicum of effort. But, I do believe it’s possible to condense great strings of logical thought and intellectual algorithms into basics. I like to keep things simple! Many of my clients love the fact that I don’t overly complete things, and frankly, so do I! I like to ask simple questions whose answers can be had quickly but require some focus in obtaining the outcome.

Here’s the question I always ask: What is standing between your current reality (where you are now) and your ultimate vision (where you want to be)? Are the impediments psychological, physical, emotional or some other reason?

Until you answer what is causing the difference between your AS IS and your SHOULD BE, you will be stuck spinning your wheels in the mud and the muck of the former. This is an important question that requires a level of mental self-examination. And the answer to this question may require a lifetime of introspection. It is an important question to answer because if you know where you want to go that provides direction but examining why you are not there yet can provide momentum. (In other words, by answering the question it may get you there faster!)

“Success is not final; failure is not fatal: It is the courage to continue that counts.” – Winston S. Churchill

It’s just like following a road map. A map is useless unless you know two things, where you are, and where you want to go. What might be stopping you (or at least slowing you down) from the ultimate destination of your passion and life’s fulfilment?

I’ve asked many people about this over the years and have heard these four reasons that keep people from moving forward.

1. Lack of vision

How do you plan to get there, if you don’t know where “there” is? The most difficult undertaking in the world is to sit quietly with a blank sheet of paper and chart out your life. I know, I have many blank sheets of paper to prove it. However, I also found out that it only takes one sheet, with a few well-crafted lines of thought to give you the direction you need. But you need to start!

2. Lack of goals

So, you know where you want to go, you just don’t know how to get there. The second hardest thing in the world is to have a sheet of paper with your ultimate destination on top, and the rest blank as you ask yourself, now what or how do I get to my vision? The process of functional decomposition means breaking down the larger process into steps that are both actionable and motivational. In other words, the steps are small enough to do and you remain motivated because they are so small.

“Successful people do what unsuccessful people are not willing to do. Don’t wish it were easier; wish you were better.” – Jim Rohn

3. You don’t believe you can get there

You want to, but there is a script running through your head telling you to go home, make some chicken soup and don’t leave the house until these foolish notions of greatness are gone. Think about it, your parents never did what you are trying to do, no one in your family has ever done it, you are far too old (or too young) to do that, you don’t have the right education…your rationalizing can go on for a lifetime! Here is my suggestion when it comes to running those self-deprecating scripts: STOP IT!

4. You are lazy

You won’t admit this to yourself, but perhaps you are just plain lazy. I’ve seen it so many times; individuals majoring in minors. Performing high fun, low payoff activities instead of the low fun, high payoff activities. (And, by the way, who ever said that a high payoff activity can’t be fun? There’s that darn script again.) As a species we are inclined to take the path of least resistance, but that path may not lead us to our vision, but you must admit, we are having a great time NOT moving toward our vision! Laziness is not “doing nothing.” It’s doing the wrong thing because that’s what you want to do, and, very often, we know it’s the wrong thing to do!

There you have the four possible things that might be holding you back from the realization of your vision. Are any of them hitting home? Answer this question before you move on:

What is standing between my current reality and my ultimate vision of success?

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Success Advice

4 Character Traits Blocking Success From Entering Your Life

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Some days you wake up full of energy and ready to face the day. The challenges you gave yourself the day before seems almost too easy. However, there are also other days where you find yourself without the desire and energy to move forward. Operating from this mindset, you lose productive time, counted first in minutes, then hours. Sometimes your loss of productivity can be measured in days, weeks and months of missed opportunities.   

Since you will not wake up every day bursting with excitement, you must find a way to summon the energy necessary to pound out another story for a publication, work on your social media content plan and write new copy for your website.

To understand why you are unable to take the actions required for success, you must first identify what blocks you. You can’t overcome challenges you aren’t aware of, and this is the juncture separating those who succeed from those who don’t.

Here are the four main character defects that block success:

1. Apathy

Apathy is exhibited as a lack of concern. It shows up when you are tired or stretched too thin. Many entrepreneurs work one or more jobs while attempting to launch a business, whether online or brick and mortar. When progress can’t be seen, it is easy to stop caring and give up.

2. Procrastination

Procrastination can occur when you get up ready to give all you’ve got to your endeavor, but first you check out an episode of your favorite Netflix show while you have coffee. After eight hours of binge-watching, your productive mindset is gone which leaves you demoralized. This in turn brings you back to apathy, triggers fear and causes more procrastinating.

3. Fear

Fear is a corrosive emotion everyone struggles with, and if you are not careful, it will absolutely stop you in your tracks. Fear will say you cannot obtain your dreams. The most successful entrepreneurs and business leaders grapple with anxiety, worry and apprehension, yet you rarely see them paralyzed by their fearfulness. Like them, you can’t defeat your fear unless you identify it. With an insightful mentor, you can easily determine what you are afraid of. Once it is recognized, you’ll find the strength to walk through it.   

“Curiosity will conquer fear even more than bravery will.” – James Stephens

4. Overwhelm

Overwhelm occurs when you commit to more than you are capable of doing. Balance and giving the appropriate amount of time to all aspects of life is a tremendous challenge. Have you found yourself overwhelmed when a friend asks a favor of you while you are trying to meet a deadline at work and maintain focus on your entrepreneurial side project? Do you worry how you’ll ever find the time to get it all done? Often when this occurs, we may mentally shut down and accomplish nothing.

To counter the deficits listed above, you must identify, then develop the opposite, positive traits necessary for success. It’s important to understand the “why” of each attribute because only then can you fully tap into the power they offer to help you accomplish your goals.

Here are the four traits to counter the above traits with:

1. Purpose

Purpose gives voice to why you are alive. It tells you and others what you are working toward and why. Living out your purpose is the single greatest weapon against apathy. Knowing your purpose gives you a standard with which you can measure your progress. It motivates you to think, act and ultimately, to succeed.

2. Action

Action is the opposite of procrastination. When your effort is focused on achieving an objective, action propels you forward. Breaking a large project down into small, manageable steps, you’ll gain the needed traction to successfully reach your goal!

3. Courage

Courage is built by first facing, then walking through your fears. Courage gives you strength to do what you think is impossible. Developing a relationship with a mentor, someone willing to tell you the truth about what they see, is crucial to success in this area. With help, you can first identify, then make the adjustments necessary to identify and release the fear blocking you.

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” – Winston S. Churchill

4. Focus

Focus is the final attribute. What you give your attention to is the single most important factor influencing your success. You become what you focus on. When you focus on your purpose, take the necessary actions and develop the courage to bust through, you win!

This is not an all-inclusive list, it’s simply a starting point. As you tackle and overcome your grosser defects, the subtler ones will begin to surface. Slowly, with help from your trusted mentor, you will work and grow through these challenges.  

As you become stronger, you’ll be able to withstand additional demands. You meet them head-on with the new skill set you’ll develop as you let your old ones go. You will be more effective, positive and energetic along with ready to take any action necessary. You are a winner!

Which one of the character traits above do you need to focus on most in order to achieve success? Let us know in the comments below!

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Success Advice

6 Important Decisions to Make to Have a Successful Career

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Would you rather paint your bedroom blue or beige? What is your usual coffee go-to order: a mocha or a macchiato? Should you take the bus or the train to work today? Decisions are everywhere. They are the ones behind our choices and the ones behind all consequences that we face for those choices.

Life is riddled with decisions at every intersection, and some say that those who are the best decision-makers can actually make the most of their time on this planet. Sure, inspirational and spiritual speakers have a lot to say when it comes to the matters of fate, luck or destiny, but only the successful know that a man is truly capable of shaping their own as per their choices.

From choosing on whom to delegate that difficult task to knowing when to bring up a tricky topic during a meeting with shareholders, decisions have the potential to shape your careers as well. If you have been wondering about the ways that you can improve your career, you can consider bringing in some smart decisions in your life right now.

What are the decisions that can help you have a successful career? Since decisions play such a huge role in shaping our lives and careers, you may wish to pick up a few that help you scale higher in your career as well.

Here are 6 of the most important decisions to bring into your life today so that you can take your career to newer heights:

1. Put your goals on paper

Sure, it’s great to have goals for your career, but simply letting them wander about in your mind is not going to help you achieve them, you know. That is why you need to have a list of goals that you have set for yourself – on paper.

Maintain a journal (virtual or offline, whichever works for you) that enlists your career objectives and goals according to short-term and long-term ones. For example, you can put upskilling in short-term goals and moving to a higher managerial position by the end of three years as a long-term goal.

Establish parity in the short-term and long-term goals so that you can synthesise them when the time comes. Jotting down the objectives will help you have a clear idea of where you stand and the way that you should go to bring about the positive changes in your career.

2. Bring in a daily dose of positivity

Let’s face it, all of us have encountered setbacks in our professional lives. The most important lesson to take from those setbacks is to never become pessimistic about what you can achieve. Positivity has helped many to soar the skies when it comes to their careers, and with a conscious decision to eliminate all sorts of negative thoughts from your mind can help you in doing the same too.

You will find a bunch of success stories that all start and end with how important it is to persevere in the face of adversities and letting your positive aura shine through in dark times. One of the smartest things that you can thus do for your career is to decide to chuck all negativity (as well as toxic acquaintances) that make you doubt your abilities and pull you down.

“Growth is never by mere chance; it is the result of forces working together.” – James Cash Penney

3. Hone your writing skills

No matter which industry you belong to, an impressive writing style in this fast-paced age of digital communication truly has the power to take you places when it comes to becoming more successful in your career.

The blessing that is the web has brought on a range of online tools and resources that you can put to good use for improving your writing skills. If you need to review your official documents and emails, then try online tools to edit and proofread your documents efficiently. You can also use online tools and tutorials to pick up tricks that help you sharpen your writing and make it devoid of common mistakes we all prone to making.

4. Upskill yourself proactively

Whether it is learning to code or taking up creative writing classes, you should decide to upskill proactively throughout your career. Upskilling has benefited more than one, and when the time comes for a job switch to move on to better prospects, you can always leverage the additional skills picked up earlier. As we move towards a faster and more digitised work sphere, it is best to attune oneself to the latest trends and in-demand skills of your industry and beyond to make sure that you are prepared when it is time to take the plunge.

5. Reflect on each day

When you are at work, the days seem to go by in a dizzying blur, leaving you breathless from the sheer pressure of work and tasks that you have to manage throughout the day. Deciding to spare time for yourself despite your busy schedule ensures both personal and professional growth, as leading psychologists opine.

Treat each day as a lesson, and you will end up with a long list of things that you learnt from each of them as they went by. An excellent way to do this is to keep a journal, but if you do not feel up to writing at the end of the busy day, you can always unwind while listening to your favourite music and reflect on the day that was.

6. Pick up a healthy lifestyle

Lastly, it is important to decide to be healthy and fit for only by that will you be at your productive peak to help you achieve all that you want to in your professional sphere. Devote some time to exercise every day and have a healthy diet.

You are sure to find many benefits of having a healthy lifestyle when you rise and shine to go to work with renewed vigour every day that helps you create innovative designs or brainstorm for killer marketing tactics. You never know which hidden potential of yours gets unlocked by facing work with a positive and beaming attitude every day, so why not take a leap of faith?

“Strength and growth come only through continuous effort and struggle.” – Napoleon Hill

Staying ahead of the competition, working overtime, managing piles of emails and getting stuck in the daily conundrums of work may sometimes leave you wondering as to where it is that you are headed when it comes to your career. Cruise through your career like a pro as these six decisions present a world of benefits for your personal and professional growth.

What decisions have you made that have helped you grow professionally? Comment below!

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Success Advice

4 of the World’s Greatest Thinkers Share Their Secrets to Living the Good Life

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It takes a lot of effort, dedication, and open-mindedness to lead a good life of excellent health, wealth, love and happiness. As a personal trainer, and a human being, part of my life revolves around understanding how the human mind works and how to help myself, and the people around me, make decisions that put their lives on the right track.

We only live once thus we have to make the best out of our journey. One of the greatest ways to learn how to live is by learning from those who have lead the good life themselves.

Here are four of the greatest thinkers secrets to live a good life:

1. Jordan Peterson: Treat yourself like someone you’re responsible for helping

Ever heard of the term, ‘Treat yourself like you treat your best friend?” As corny as it sounds, this tip holds water. You need to be kind to yourself, and you must be compassionate. In fact, studies suggest that self-compassion is more critical to your well being than self-esteem.

If this is true, why is it hard for many people to make friends with themselves? The answer, according to Jordan Peterson, lies in the fact that you`ve been around your imperfect self for so long that all you can see is a flawed human being.

A person, still according to Peterson, will deride his whole existence just because, in his eyes, he’s the ugly, ashamed, frightened, worthless, inadequate, insignificant, resentful, defensive descendant of Adam. Peterson suggests you will gain inner peace when you see yourself through the eyes of a loving coach trying to lead their imperfect mentee to the best possible results.

2. Leonardo da Vinci: Understand how your mind works

Michael J. Gelb, the author of How to Think Like Leonardo da Vinci: Seven Steps to Genius Every day, believes Dimostrazione – the Italian translation of demonstration – is one of Da Vinci`s seven principles to his unmatched intelligence. The Italian sculpture, inventor, musician, geologist, and mathematician had a special knack for examining how things work, including his mind, and he made sure to document his musings on paper so he could understand himself better. Before he died, Da Vinci left one of his trustees a 10,000-paper journal full of notes, questions, designs and even jokes and fables.

To reap the benefits of dimonstrazione, you need to regularly detach yourself from the digital world for a few minutes of ruminating and journaling. Question your thoughts, beliefs, and why you/people do things in specific ways. Doing this will spark your creativity and help you solve deeply-rooted problems much easier.

“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” – Leonardo da Vinci

3. Richard Dawkins: Avoid the trial/error trap

Some may think making lots of mistakes is the best way to learn how to do something. According to Richard Dawkins, making so many mistakes is a waste of time and can sometimes be fatal. In his opinion, most of what you learn should come from “simulation.” He believes one should study the best and worst types of people, emulate their good and avoid their bad.

Most of the time, all you need is to follow someone else`s wheel instead of trying to invent your own – at least until you`re strong enough to lead your way. Additional tip: Get coaching or a mentor who`s 20 years older than you. A good one will save you lots of time, effort and money.

4. Carl Sagan: The universe is not required to be in harmony with ambition

Be flexible and formless, then adapt to the universe instead of trying to bend it to your will – which may not happen. To Carl Sagan, a man should understand that life won’t always give him what he wants, but he must use what life gives him for his better good. If life throws you a  tomato, make a soup of it. Many successful people spent decent parts of their lives drifting between careers only to realize later that they wouldn’t have made it without those career wanderings.

You must also understand that the purpose of a goal isn’t to hit the target but to evolve into the type of person who can achieve his goals. You won’t always win if you swing for the fences with every shot, but your track record will be far better than someone who plays it safe not because of your extraordinary genes but because the type of goal you chose for yourself forced you to step out of your shell and grow.

“Imagination will often carry us to worlds that never were. But without it we go nowhere.” – Carl Sagan

Take great care of your mind. Read good books, understand your cognitive biases and take courses in lateral thinking and problem solving. Your mind is your most important asset and it’s a great shame if you fail to use it well.

What is your secret to living the good life? Let us know your secrets in the comments below!

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Success Advice

One Question You Must Answer to Ensure Personal Success

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I don’t believe in quick fixes, in get-rich-quick schemes, or any other system that guarantees instant success with only a modicum of effort. But, I do believe it’s possible to condense great strings of logical thought and intellectual algorithms into basics. I like to keep things simple! Many of my clients love the fact that I don’t overly complete things, and frankly, so do I! I like to ask simple questions whose answers can be had quickly but require some focus in obtaining the outcome. (more…)

Biagio Sciacca, known to his friends as Bill, was a lifelong resident of Pittston, PA. He is the owner of Intelligent Motivation, Inc. a global consulting and training firm specializing in management and leadership training as well as psychological assessment for hiring and staff development. He is the author of several books relating to goal setting, and his third book, Provocative Leadership, is publishing soon. Now residing in Tamarindo, Costa Rica, he divides his time between his international coaching and training clients, writing his next book and wandering aimlessly on the beach. Feel free to contact Bill at bill@intelligentmotivationinc.com or schedule a call with him by going to www.intelligentmotivationinc.com and clicking on the “set up a call” tab.

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8 Comments

8 Comments

  1. Mwela Victor

    Jun 9, 2017 at 9:44 am

    Thank you for teaching these stratagees.

  2. Michael

    Jul 13, 2014 at 10:39 am

    Hey,
    if you want to understand the reason why people do what they do, I highly recommend you “Awaken the Giant Within” from Tony Robbins. In the first chapters he describes the model of pain and pleasure and what drives people to do things. Absolute great book!

  3. Naomi@business start ups

    Jun 23, 2014 at 9:48 pm

    Hi James,

    I’ve just started using “#3. Keep Track of Where You are Wasting Time”

    I was shocked at how long basic tasks were taking me to do! NOT any more

    Thanks, Naomi

  4. Tom

    Jun 22, 2014 at 7:05 am

    Love the quote graphic on procrastination being compared to a credit card … excellent analogy!

  5. Koko

    Jun 21, 2014 at 6:26 pm

    In my personal opinion, procrastination is the first obstacle that blocks success. Instant execution should be a habit, rather than solvable argument.

  6. Ben Granville Kyle

    Jun 21, 2014 at 2:19 pm

    First you need to understand WHY you are procrastinating. Without that these tips probably won’t work. Break tasks into smaller parts. It seems logical, and my rational brain understands that. You would do it if you could, but you still don’t do it. Because you are convinced that you will screw it up, and be judged as a person based on your performance, or maybe you are afraid you will do a good job, and people will expect more of you, until you eventually mess up.

    THOSE are the issues you need to address

    • Emily Filloramo

      Jun 21, 2014 at 4:10 pm

      Totally agree with you Ben.

      I had a client where we found the reason why she procrastinated was because she didn’t believe she deserved success because at 2-years-old she took on the belief that she was unlovable when her baby brother was born. (Between the ages of 0-7, our brains absorb every negative experience literally.)

      She missed deadlines, she showed up late for appointments and she got people angry as a result of her procrastination. These negative results reinforced the original faulty belief that “I’m not lovable and not worthy” that was hidden in her subconscious.

      When she re-parented and showered love to this 2 year old part that was frozen in time, that’s when her procrastination diminished. As a result, she no longer missed deadlines, she no longer showed up late for appointments. Her relationships improved and she became more successful. All because we turned a negative core belief into a positive one.

    • James Frankton

      Jun 21, 2014 at 11:10 pm

      Hi Ben,

      Thanks for your input. I would certainly agree with you that understanding why you are procrastinating is something that is important to understand as well. That is a huge topic in itself (and something I hope to cover in a future piece).

      In my experience, the reasons for procrastination tend to break down to:

      1) Fear of failure – I think you’ve mentioned this (“because you are convinced that you will screw it up”)
      2) Excessive perfectionism
      3) A genuine lack of energy
      4) No goal or target to work towards

      Knowing which of these root causes speaks to you (or whatever else you feel is causing you to procrastinate) is definitely going to help you get more out of strategy you deploy to beat procrastination.

      Regards,

      James Frankton (the author)

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Success Advice

One Question You Must Answer to Ensure Personal Success

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personal success
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I don’t believe in quick fixes, in get-rich-quick schemes, or any other system that guarantees instant success with only a modicum of effort. But, I do believe it’s possible to condense great strings of logical thought and intellectual algorithms into basics. I like to keep things simple! Many of my clients love the fact that I don’t overly complete things, and frankly, so do I! I like to ask simple questions whose answers can be had quickly but require some focus in obtaining the outcome.

Here’s the question I always ask: What is standing between your current reality (where you are now) and your ultimate vision (where you want to be)? Are the impediments psychological, physical, emotional or some other reason?

Until you answer what is causing the difference between your AS IS and your SHOULD BE, you will be stuck spinning your wheels in the mud and the muck of the former. This is an important question that requires a level of mental self-examination. And the answer to this question may require a lifetime of introspection. It is an important question to answer because if you know where you want to go that provides direction but examining why you are not there yet can provide momentum. (In other words, by answering the question it may get you there faster!)

“Success is not final; failure is not fatal: It is the courage to continue that counts.” – Winston S. Churchill

It’s just like following a road map. A map is useless unless you know two things, where you are, and where you want to go. What might be stopping you (or at least slowing you down) from the ultimate destination of your passion and life’s fulfilment?

I’ve asked many people about this over the years and have heard these four reasons that keep people from moving forward.

1. Lack of vision

How do you plan to get there, if you don’t know where “there” is? The most difficult undertaking in the world is to sit quietly with a blank sheet of paper and chart out your life. I know, I have many blank sheets of paper to prove it. However, I also found out that it only takes one sheet, with a few well-crafted lines of thought to give you the direction you need. But you need to start!

2. Lack of goals

So, you know where you want to go, you just don’t know how to get there. The second hardest thing in the world is to have a sheet of paper with your ultimate destination on top, and the rest blank as you ask yourself, now what or how do I get to my vision? The process of functional decomposition means breaking down the larger process into steps that are both actionable and motivational. In other words, the steps are small enough to do and you remain motivated because they are so small.

“Successful people do what unsuccessful people are not willing to do. Don’t wish it were easier; wish you were better.” – Jim Rohn

3. You don’t believe you can get there

You want to, but there is a script running through your head telling you to go home, make some chicken soup and don’t leave the house until these foolish notions of greatness are gone. Think about it, your parents never did what you are trying to do, no one in your family has ever done it, you are far too old (or too young) to do that, you don’t have the right education…your rationalizing can go on for a lifetime! Here is my suggestion when it comes to running those self-deprecating scripts: STOP IT!

4. You are lazy

You won’t admit this to yourself, but perhaps you are just plain lazy. I’ve seen it so many times; individuals majoring in minors. Performing high fun, low payoff activities instead of the low fun, high payoff activities. (And, by the way, who ever said that a high payoff activity can’t be fun? There’s that darn script again.) As a species we are inclined to take the path of least resistance, but that path may not lead us to our vision, but you must admit, we are having a great time NOT moving toward our vision! Laziness is not “doing nothing.” It’s doing the wrong thing because that’s what you want to do, and, very often, we know it’s the wrong thing to do!

There you have the four possible things that might be holding you back from the realization of your vision. Are any of them hitting home? Answer this question before you move on:

What is standing between my current reality and my ultimate vision of success?

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4 Character Traits Blocking Success From Entering Your Life

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Some days you wake up full of energy and ready to face the day. The challenges you gave yourself the day before seems almost too easy. However, there are also other days where you find yourself without the desire and energy to move forward. Operating from this mindset, you lose productive time, counted first in minutes, then hours. Sometimes your loss of productivity can be measured in days, weeks and months of missed opportunities.   

Since you will not wake up every day bursting with excitement, you must find a way to summon the energy necessary to pound out another story for a publication, work on your social media content plan and write new copy for your website.

To understand why you are unable to take the actions required for success, you must first identify what blocks you. You can’t overcome challenges you aren’t aware of, and this is the juncture separating those who succeed from those who don’t.

Here are the four main character defects that block success:

1. Apathy

Apathy is exhibited as a lack of concern. It shows up when you are tired or stretched too thin. Many entrepreneurs work one or more jobs while attempting to launch a business, whether online or brick and mortar. When progress can’t be seen, it is easy to stop caring and give up.

2. Procrastination

Procrastination can occur when you get up ready to give all you’ve got to your endeavor, but first you check out an episode of your favorite Netflix show while you have coffee. After eight hours of binge-watching, your productive mindset is gone which leaves you demoralized. This in turn brings you back to apathy, triggers fear and causes more procrastinating.

3. Fear

Fear is a corrosive emotion everyone struggles with, and if you are not careful, it will absolutely stop you in your tracks. Fear will say you cannot obtain your dreams. The most successful entrepreneurs and business leaders grapple with anxiety, worry and apprehension, yet you rarely see them paralyzed by their fearfulness. Like them, you can’t defeat your fear unless you identify it. With an insightful mentor, you can easily determine what you are afraid of. Once it is recognized, you’ll find the strength to walk through it.   

“Curiosity will conquer fear even more than bravery will.” – James Stephens

4. Overwhelm

Overwhelm occurs when you commit to more than you are capable of doing. Balance and giving the appropriate amount of time to all aspects of life is a tremendous challenge. Have you found yourself overwhelmed when a friend asks a favor of you while you are trying to meet a deadline at work and maintain focus on your entrepreneurial side project? Do you worry how you’ll ever find the time to get it all done? Often when this occurs, we may mentally shut down and accomplish nothing.

To counter the deficits listed above, you must identify, then develop the opposite, positive traits necessary for success. It’s important to understand the “why” of each attribute because only then can you fully tap into the power they offer to help you accomplish your goals.

Here are the four traits to counter the above traits with:

1. Purpose

Purpose gives voice to why you are alive. It tells you and others what you are working toward and why. Living out your purpose is the single greatest weapon against apathy. Knowing your purpose gives you a standard with which you can measure your progress. It motivates you to think, act and ultimately, to succeed.

2. Action

Action is the opposite of procrastination. When your effort is focused on achieving an objective, action propels you forward. Breaking a large project down into small, manageable steps, you’ll gain the needed traction to successfully reach your goal!

3. Courage

Courage is built by first facing, then walking through your fears. Courage gives you strength to do what you think is impossible. Developing a relationship with a mentor, someone willing to tell you the truth about what they see, is crucial to success in this area. With help, you can first identify, then make the adjustments necessary to identify and release the fear blocking you.

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” – Winston S. Churchill

4. Focus

Focus is the final attribute. What you give your attention to is the single most important factor influencing your success. You become what you focus on. When you focus on your purpose, take the necessary actions and develop the courage to bust through, you win!

This is not an all-inclusive list, it’s simply a starting point. As you tackle and overcome your grosser defects, the subtler ones will begin to surface. Slowly, with help from your trusted mentor, you will work and grow through these challenges.  

As you become stronger, you’ll be able to withstand additional demands. You meet them head-on with the new skill set you’ll develop as you let your old ones go. You will be more effective, positive and energetic along with ready to take any action necessary. You are a winner!

Which one of the character traits above do you need to focus on most in order to achieve success? Let us know in the comments below!

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6 Important Decisions to Make to Have a Successful Career

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Would you rather paint your bedroom blue or beige? What is your usual coffee go-to order: a mocha or a macchiato? Should you take the bus or the train to work today? Decisions are everywhere. They are the ones behind our choices and the ones behind all consequences that we face for those choices.

Life is riddled with decisions at every intersection, and some say that those who are the best decision-makers can actually make the most of their time on this planet. Sure, inspirational and spiritual speakers have a lot to say when it comes to the matters of fate, luck or destiny, but only the successful know that a man is truly capable of shaping their own as per their choices.

From choosing on whom to delegate that difficult task to knowing when to bring up a tricky topic during a meeting with shareholders, decisions have the potential to shape your careers as well. If you have been wondering about the ways that you can improve your career, you can consider bringing in some smart decisions in your life right now.

What are the decisions that can help you have a successful career? Since decisions play such a huge role in shaping our lives and careers, you may wish to pick up a few that help you scale higher in your career as well.

Here are 6 of the most important decisions to bring into your life today so that you can take your career to newer heights:

1. Put your goals on paper

Sure, it’s great to have goals for your career, but simply letting them wander about in your mind is not going to help you achieve them, you know. That is why you need to have a list of goals that you have set for yourself – on paper.

Maintain a journal (virtual or offline, whichever works for you) that enlists your career objectives and goals according to short-term and long-term ones. For example, you can put upskilling in short-term goals and moving to a higher managerial position by the end of three years as a long-term goal.

Establish parity in the short-term and long-term goals so that you can synthesise them when the time comes. Jotting down the objectives will help you have a clear idea of where you stand and the way that you should go to bring about the positive changes in your career.

2. Bring in a daily dose of positivity

Let’s face it, all of us have encountered setbacks in our professional lives. The most important lesson to take from those setbacks is to never become pessimistic about what you can achieve. Positivity has helped many to soar the skies when it comes to their careers, and with a conscious decision to eliminate all sorts of negative thoughts from your mind can help you in doing the same too.

You will find a bunch of success stories that all start and end with how important it is to persevere in the face of adversities and letting your positive aura shine through in dark times. One of the smartest things that you can thus do for your career is to decide to chuck all negativity (as well as toxic acquaintances) that make you doubt your abilities and pull you down.

“Growth is never by mere chance; it is the result of forces working together.” – James Cash Penney

3. Hone your writing skills

No matter which industry you belong to, an impressive writing style in this fast-paced age of digital communication truly has the power to take you places when it comes to becoming more successful in your career.

The blessing that is the web has brought on a range of online tools and resources that you can put to good use for improving your writing skills. If you need to review your official documents and emails, then try online tools to edit and proofread your documents efficiently. You can also use online tools and tutorials to pick up tricks that help you sharpen your writing and make it devoid of common mistakes we all prone to making.

4. Upskill yourself proactively

Whether it is learning to code or taking up creative writing classes, you should decide to upskill proactively throughout your career. Upskilling has benefited more than one, and when the time comes for a job switch to move on to better prospects, you can always leverage the additional skills picked up earlier. As we move towards a faster and more digitised work sphere, it is best to attune oneself to the latest trends and in-demand skills of your industry and beyond to make sure that you are prepared when it is time to take the plunge.

5. Reflect on each day

When you are at work, the days seem to go by in a dizzying blur, leaving you breathless from the sheer pressure of work and tasks that you have to manage throughout the day. Deciding to spare time for yourself despite your busy schedule ensures both personal and professional growth, as leading psychologists opine.

Treat each day as a lesson, and you will end up with a long list of things that you learnt from each of them as they went by. An excellent way to do this is to keep a journal, but if you do not feel up to writing at the end of the busy day, you can always unwind while listening to your favourite music and reflect on the day that was.

6. Pick up a healthy lifestyle

Lastly, it is important to decide to be healthy and fit for only by that will you be at your productive peak to help you achieve all that you want to in your professional sphere. Devote some time to exercise every day and have a healthy diet.

You are sure to find many benefits of having a healthy lifestyle when you rise and shine to go to work with renewed vigour every day that helps you create innovative designs or brainstorm for killer marketing tactics. You never know which hidden potential of yours gets unlocked by facing work with a positive and beaming attitude every day, so why not take a leap of faith?

“Strength and growth come only through continuous effort and struggle.” – Napoleon Hill

Staying ahead of the competition, working overtime, managing piles of emails and getting stuck in the daily conundrums of work may sometimes leave you wondering as to where it is that you are headed when it comes to your career. Cruise through your career like a pro as these six decisions present a world of benefits for your personal and professional growth.

What decisions have you made that have helped you grow professionally? Comment below!

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4 of the World’s Greatest Thinkers Share Their Secrets to Living the Good Life

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It takes a lot of effort, dedication, and open-mindedness to lead a good life of excellent health, wealth, love and happiness. As a personal trainer, and a human being, part of my life revolves around understanding how the human mind works and how to help myself, and the people around me, make decisions that put their lives on the right track.

We only live once thus we have to make the best out of our journey. One of the greatest ways to learn how to live is by learning from those who have lead the good life themselves.

Here are four of the greatest thinkers secrets to live a good life:

1. Jordan Peterson: Treat yourself like someone you’re responsible for helping

Ever heard of the term, ‘Treat yourself like you treat your best friend?” As corny as it sounds, this tip holds water. You need to be kind to yourself, and you must be compassionate. In fact, studies suggest that self-compassion is more critical to your well being than self-esteem.

If this is true, why is it hard for many people to make friends with themselves? The answer, according to Jordan Peterson, lies in the fact that you`ve been around your imperfect self for so long that all you can see is a flawed human being.

A person, still according to Peterson, will deride his whole existence just because, in his eyes, he’s the ugly, ashamed, frightened, worthless, inadequate, insignificant, resentful, defensive descendant of Adam. Peterson suggests you will gain inner peace when you see yourself through the eyes of a loving coach trying to lead their imperfect mentee to the best possible results.

2. Leonardo da Vinci: Understand how your mind works

Michael J. Gelb, the author of How to Think Like Leonardo da Vinci: Seven Steps to Genius Every day, believes Dimostrazione – the Italian translation of demonstration – is one of Da Vinci`s seven principles to his unmatched intelligence. The Italian sculpture, inventor, musician, geologist, and mathematician had a special knack for examining how things work, including his mind, and he made sure to document his musings on paper so he could understand himself better. Before he died, Da Vinci left one of his trustees a 10,000-paper journal full of notes, questions, designs and even jokes and fables.

To reap the benefits of dimonstrazione, you need to regularly detach yourself from the digital world for a few minutes of ruminating and journaling. Question your thoughts, beliefs, and why you/people do things in specific ways. Doing this will spark your creativity and help you solve deeply-rooted problems much easier.

“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” – Leonardo da Vinci

3. Richard Dawkins: Avoid the trial/error trap

Some may think making lots of mistakes is the best way to learn how to do something. According to Richard Dawkins, making so many mistakes is a waste of time and can sometimes be fatal. In his opinion, most of what you learn should come from “simulation.” He believes one should study the best and worst types of people, emulate their good and avoid their bad.

Most of the time, all you need is to follow someone else`s wheel instead of trying to invent your own – at least until you`re strong enough to lead your way. Additional tip: Get coaching or a mentor who`s 20 years older than you. A good one will save you lots of time, effort and money.

4. Carl Sagan: The universe is not required to be in harmony with ambition

Be flexible and formless, then adapt to the universe instead of trying to bend it to your will – which may not happen. To Carl Sagan, a man should understand that life won’t always give him what he wants, but he must use what life gives him for his better good. If life throws you a  tomato, make a soup of it. Many successful people spent decent parts of their lives drifting between careers only to realize later that they wouldn’t have made it without those career wanderings.

You must also understand that the purpose of a goal isn’t to hit the target but to evolve into the type of person who can achieve his goals. You won’t always win if you swing for the fences with every shot, but your track record will be far better than someone who plays it safe not because of your extraordinary genes but because the type of goal you chose for yourself forced you to step out of your shell and grow.

“Imagination will often carry us to worlds that never were. But without it we go nowhere.” – Carl Sagan

Take great care of your mind. Read good books, understand your cognitive biases and take courses in lateral thinking and problem solving. Your mind is your most important asset and it’s a great shame if you fail to use it well.

What is your secret to living the good life? Let us know your secrets in the comments below!

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