Stop reading, Start applying

Every year, hundreds of books get published that claim to have the magic method that will solve all your productivity issues. Thousands (millions?) of articles get written on the topic. These materials are read by plenty of well-meaning people seeking to become just a little bit more efficient at work, or looking to achieve a better work-life balance.

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Start first, Correct Later

Plans are often the missing link that turn ideas into reality. They are a necessity if you ever wish to turn the wishes in your head into realistic goals. A goal, written down and accompanied by a plan has a greater chance of being achieved than one which stays an unwritten, fuzzy idea in someone’s head. In fact, you are 42% more likely to achieve a goal if you regularly write it down.

While planning is crucial, there can be such a thing as over-planning. There comes a point where one is planning for planning’s sake. At that point, planning becomes an excuse not to get started. When you reach that point, what you are doing is PROCRASTINATION.

Don’t overdo it
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Is it really impossible?

I am not a motivational speaker. Therefore, I am not about to tell you impossible is a word that only exists in the dictionary. There are times when you will have to accept things did not work out as planned. Times when you worked really hard on a product launch only for the product to flop. You gave it your best but factors beyond your control stopped it from happening. Those times should be learning opportunities. Study why you failed, extract useful lessons, accept you have failed and move on. You know what not to do next time.

However, there are times when we label tasks as impossible simply because we do not wish to try. At times such as these the word “impossible” is coming not from facts but from a place of fear. We fear to fail so much that we’d rather not try at all.

Sticky note with the word "impossible" written on it
Is it really?
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Nobody is guaranteed tomorrow

“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The next best time is now.”

Allegedly a Chinese proverb

The sentence that often accompanies procrastination is “I will do it tomorrow.” In this case, tomorrow is not the next day but that mythical destination where all human creativity, effort and productivity resides. If you think really hard you can almost feel it. Infact, you are sure with just a little more time you will be able to reach it. So does everyone else. So far, no one has reached it.

Never underestimate the power you have over what happens today
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Have you had your pomodoro this morning?

A pomodoro timer on a desk

Do you have trouble getting started on a task even though you know what the next step should be and have everything you need? If this sounds like you, the bad news is not getting your tasks done automatically sets you up for productivity failure. The good news is you can do something about it. Let me introduce a new word: Pomodoro. No, it’s not English. The pomodoro technique is named after the Italian word for “tomato.” The technique was developed in the 1980s by Francesco Cirillo. He chose to name the technique after a tomato shaped kitchen timer he used as a student. I promise you don’t have to buy a timer to use this technique.

A tomato shaped kitchen timer
The timer that started it all

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Just get Started

The Word "Momentum" spelt in blue ink

It is said that if you put a plank in front of the wheels of a train standing still, the train won’t even be able to start moving. However, if you put a steel wall in front of a train moving at full speed, the train will punch right through the wall. What gave the train power to punch through the wall? It’s called Momentum. If you have ever helped someone push a car, you know it requires a stronger push to get the car moving but once the wheels start turning, it gets easier especially if you are pushing downhill.

“The most important thing you can do to achieve your goals is to make sure that as soon as you set them, you immediately begin to create momentum.”

– Tony Robbins.

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