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Motivation

5 Excellent Ways to Stay Focused on Your Dreams

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5 Excellent Ways to Stay Focused on Your Dreams

Staying focused on the path you need to follow to achieve your dreams is very crucial to be successful. When you stray from the track, your progress becomes slow, and your dreams seem more unachievable than ever. Without focus, the quality of your work suffers. Because you aren’t giving it your all, you are completing the task just for the sake of it.

“Why do you dwell on things that don’t matter when there are so many things that do?”

-Dennis Sharpe

How productive we are is also dependant upon how focused we are. There are many ways for our mind to be easily distracted, primarily because of our phones. Eventually, the quality of our work starts degrading which again becomes a cause for stress. When you feel mental burn-out, you need to find ways to deal with it.

Having discipline and staying focused is the leading quality to have to keep working without stopping towards our goals and dreams. If you have been losing focus and the drive to continue your work, then these are some excellent ways to stay focused on your dreams.

1. Keep reminding yourself of the big picture

5 Excellent Ways to Stay Focused on Your Dreams

No matter what it is, there is always going to be something we don’t like. Even if you have your dream job or business you are really passionate about, some part of it won’t excite you as much as the other parts of the work. Maybe you love your business, but hate answering emails, and whenever you have to do it, you lose your motivation to get back to other tasks.

“Having the big picture in mind enables us to overcome the day to day routines that attempt to distract us from pursuing our dream.”

-Assegid Habtewold

These mundane tasks make us lose our patience and focus. We don’t want to do them, but they are an essential part, so we have to. During tasks that make you feel like this, you have to think if you can do anything to change it. If no, then remind yourself of the big picture. Remind yourself that every little thing adds up to your efforts to fulfill your dream.

“If you spend your life over analyzing every encounter you will always see the tree, but never the forest.”

-Shannon L. Alder

If you have the resources to unload those tasks, then do it. Outsourcing is one of the best ways to focus on what you love and get the work that you don’t find interesting done by someone else. You have to figure out how you can get your work done more effectively by automating, outsourcing, and smart planning.

2. Remind yourself the reason why you started

5 Excellent Ways to Stay Focused on Your Dreams

Entrepreneurship needs patience. Any business needs patience. It isn’t easy to build anything from the ground up. When you start out, the reasons for you taking on your journey are fresh and clear in your mind.

“The most important thing is this: to sacrifice what you are now for what you can become tomorrow.”

-Shannon Alder

As the days pass, your mind gets more and more daunted with daily things that need to be done, short-term goals to be achieved, targets to be met, solutions for problems to be found, etc. While you are busy managing and micromanaging your business, it becomes easy to lose sight of the reason you began this thing in the first place.

It is important to keep reminding yourself of your main reasons for whatever you are doing – your vision, your mission statement, your inspiration, anything that made you take the first step. Otherwise, you will easily hit mental roadblocks that will stop you from succeeding, and you will deviate from your path.

This is why it is advised to prepare a document with your mission statement in the beginning and use it to refresh your memory time and time again. Your mission statement doesn’t have to be rigid, you can make changes over the course of time, but remember to keep the core goal same.

When you keep reminding yourself why achieving something is really important to you, it becomes difficult to lose focus. You start looking for ways to achieve your goals effectively.

3. Maintain a routine

5 Excellent Ways to Stay Focused on Your Dreams

One of the reasons for not being consistent and focused in your work is not following a routine. When you just wing your day, it is easier to get distracted and lose your focus. Knowing how much time to invest in doing what is important, and sticking to that schedule is what takes you a step closer to your dream every day.

“A daily routine built on good habits and disciplines separates the most successful among us from everyone else. The routine is exceptionally powerful.”

-Darren Hardy

Consistency is the key to success. Being consistent with your work, doing a little every day, is what helps you preserve your vision towards your goal. Procrastination and laziness can make you spiral down the unproductive path real quick. You have to be careful when a break turns into hours of nothingness. Quickly snap out of it and do something, anything that will make you feel productive.

“Over time, as the daily routines become second nature, discipline morphs into habit.”

-Twyla Tharp

Make a to-do list every night for the next day and follow it to the T. When you make a list the night before, it gives you the opportunity to start the next day with a plan. When you know what to do, it becomes difficult to lose track. Every night, recap your day and make notes as to what you did to reach your goal and what you still need to do.

4. Self impose deadlines, restrictions, and incentives

5 Excellent Ways to Stay Focused on Your Dreams

This might not seem effective at first glance, but if you are an entrepreneur and aren’t exactly answerable to anyone, you will soon understand the importance of deadlines. When you work at an organization, there is someone to look over the work you do. You work in teams, are dependent on each other and are answerable for slacking. All of these things, encourage you to work more and get your work done on time.

“Wasted strokes, like missed deadlines, are preventable and costly.”

-Lorii Myers

You have to use that aspect of a day job and apply it to your business and yourself. Set non-negotiable deadlines for the most important tasks. This will help you learn how to manage tasks effectively, how to multitask, and how to get a job done no matter what.

If just setting deadlines is still not helping you focus completely. Set strict restrictions on yourself. Do not allow yourself to deviate from the task at hand. If you have the urge to stop working and check your phone or play a game or listen to one song, stop yourself. Close your eyes and take a deep breath. Tell yourself that you will be able to do whatever you want, guilt-free, when you get your work done.

“No man, who continues to add something to the material, intellectual and moral well-being of the place in which he lives, is left long without proper reward.”

-Booker T. Washington

Incentives or rewards are a great way to motivate yourself to finish the task at hand. When you have something to look forward to, it becomes easier to run the last mile. When you work on your business, the results aren’t often quick. No sight of results can dim your mood, and you can feel demotivated, everything can seem pointless. You have to avoid that feeling, and that can be done by setting rewards for yourself for completing a difficult task or achieving a small milestone.

5. Focus on yourself before you focus on your dreams

With everything mentioned, it is also important to take care of yourself. Self-care is neglected by many people under the pretense of being busy. Being busy is no reason to neglect yourself and your health. You do not have to follow an elaborate self-care routine. A little something every day is enough.

“Focus on you, until the focus is on you.”

-Anonymous

Try to incorporate meditation in your morning routine. Meditation has proven to have many benefits. You can also practice yoga every day. Meditation and yoga are both said to relieve stress and help create a positive mindset.  Exercise and eat healthy to keep your body in top shape to continue working.

A positive mindset is important for moving forward in your life, no matter what life throws at you. To achieve a positive mindset you need to focus on –

These are some of the key things to do to surround yourself with positivity. When your mind isn’t stressed and anxious, the weight of working becomes lighter on you. This is the healthy mental state you need to be in to apply yourself completely and maintain undeterred focus.

5 Excellent Ways to Stay Focused on Your Dreams

All of the ways that I have talked about are really important and helpful to stay focused on your dreams. I know these things work because I have tested them myself and have read the same being advised by many successful people.

When you start something, it is scary and difficult, but your dream keeps you going. As you progress, it becomes less scary but you also lose sight of your dream. Your end goal is something that you have to look at as a destination, like a light at the end of a dark tunnel, that will always help you find a path to reach there. Work like you are in the tunnel, only your dream is what you can see, and everything else is pitch black. It will help you remain focused in your most distracting times.





Motivation

You Have Enough Time You Just Need to Start Spending it Right

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You Have Enough Time You Just Need to Start Spending it Right

Ever felt like you never have enough time? That somehow your life is messed up with so many tasks and responsibilities that you never get time to properly live your life? If so, then you need to stop for a moment and take a look at how you are managing your time. 

When most people say that they have very little time for any activity, mostly it’s because of poor time management. Everyone gets the same number of hours in a day, how you spend it makes a huge difference in how much work you get done and how much time you can take out for yourselves. Today we talk about four reasons why you might be starving on time and how you can resolve it for leading an abundant life.

1. Control Distractions

The human mind can be distracted by many things while trying to focus on any single activity. And the more one is aware of being distracted, the more the mind moves towards these distractions. As such, one generally ends up wasting too much time thinking about these distractions rather than focusing on the main activity.

You Have Enough Time You Just Need to Start Spending it Right

For example, suppose you are required to finish an assignment by 3 PM in the evening and you start working on it at 10 AM in the morning. Under normal circumstances, this might be sufficient time to complete the project. But if you start checking out Netflix in the middle of the work, and go checking one episode after another, then by 3 PM, you may not be able to finish the project – an extremely common scenario also known as procrastination. Your phone is one of the biggest distractions because it gives you many channels to procrastinate.

If you experience situations where you get so distracted by many things that you lose focus on the job at hand, then you must immediately start making efforts to train your mind to defeat distractions. Fix a time slot when you will only do the work, and commit yourself to it. But once the time is up, stop working and move on to other activities.

2. Prioritize Activities

“Things which matter most must never be at the mercy of things which matter least.”

-Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Another point to keep in mind when handling multiple activities is to prioritize them according to their importance. Many people just try to handle various activities as per their instinct and end up never doing the important things. Later, they might blame it on ‘not having enough time’, which obviously is untrue.  

You Have Enough Time You Just Need to Start Spending it Right

For example, imagine that you are required to submit a report tomorrow evening. But you have a few activities of your own that are pending, including watching a movie, a party, and visiting your friend who is in the hospital. Now, if you give importance to these activities, then your report might not be ready by evening the next day. And this can lead to various complications.

To avoid this, try to arrange activities as per their importance to you. Activities like watching movies can be done any other day. So, they should have the least importance. Next, visiting a friend at a hospital may be necessary. But again, since you can visit them on any of the upcoming days, you can postpone it. Next, a party that is scheduled today can be one of your priorities since you won’t be able to attend it on any other day. And lastly, the report will come at the top of the priority list since it is related to your work.

Now that you have identified the priority of the activities, the only thing left to do is to follow them. So, start doing your project today and check-in at the party later in the night. Tomorrow, you can continue with the project and finish it off. 

Then if you have time, you can visit your friend at the hospital. You can then finish the day by watching a movie late at night. And by following this tactic, you will never make an excuse for ‘not having enough time’ when required to do something within a time limit.

3. Don’t Take Up Unnecessary Work

You Have Enough Time You Just Need to Start Spending it Right

We usually have the habit of overfilling our plates – taking on more work than we can manage to do. This keeps us from doing the work that we are actually supposed to do. It also stems from our inability to say ‘No.’ Just like this beer bottle, if we don’t realize and stop when we are full, things are going to overflow and get out of hand.

Remember to never take up unnecessary work. This is specifically applicable to professionals. Your co-workers might request you to chip in with some help and finish a few tasks from time to time. And if you think that the co-worker’s request is unreasonable and that they are just trying to pass over their responsibilities, then have the courage to politely say ‘No.’

Some people have a hard time saying ‘no’ to such requests. And if you are one of them, then you better start asserting yourself and turning down such requests. If you start doing extra work, you will never be able to get the free time you need to enjoy your life or take care of your priorities.

4. Be Wary of Procrastination

“Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.”

-Parkinson’s Law

You should also be wary of procrastination. Many people have the tendency to keep postponing an activity for trivial reasons, only to end up never being able to do it. And when this becomes a habit, your life can go off-track in the sense that you find yourself never able to achieve your goals.

For example, suppose that you aim to join the local quiz club. But for that, you will have to pass a test being conducted next month. Now, you might think that since there is a month left for the test, you only need to start preparing for it in the last two weeks. But when you are in the last two weeks, you might think that only a week is required to prepare correctly.

You Have Enough Time You Just Need to Start Spending it Right

And then when there is just a week left, you’ll again procrastinate and think that you will start preparing three days before the test. But then you will later find that three days are not sufficient to prepare well and you will end up failing the test and as a result not being able to enter the quiz club. This did not happen because you were short on time, but because you never utilized the time when it was available.

If you have such a habit of procrastination, then it’s high time you start changing it. A good way to do this is to train yourself to finish the required task first. So, instead of waiting for the last two weeks to start preparing for the test, do it right now. It may be hard to adhere to such a habit initially. But if you put in the effort, then you will surely be able to manage time much better.  

Follow the time-tested Ivy Lee Method to increase productivity in your daily life and work. It goes like this. At the end of the day, each day, note down the six most important things to be accomplished the following day. Remember, not more than six. Next, prioritize them in the order of their importance. Start the following day with the most important task. Focus on this one thing until it is done. Then, move on to the next. If any tasks remain unfinished, move it on to the next day. Repeat this process, and you will be amazed at the time you save each day.

Final Thoughts

Like I said earlier, everyone has the same hours given to them in a day and how we spend it defines what we are going to achieve. To achieve what you want, it is really important to learn how to prioritize – there will always be a number of things you want to do but they will never all be at the same level in the priority chart. You need to learn to teach yourself to decide on what is important and stick to doing that.

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Motivation

Why People Who Succeed at School Don’t Always Succeed in Life

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Why People Who Succeed at School Don’t Always Succeed in Life

Everyone is ushered into school by their parents with a strict warning that if they don’t perform well, they might end up being a failure all through their lives. While this is true to a certain extent, we must understand that performing well in school is never a guarantee for success.

In fact, if one looks carefully at all the people in life, one might notice that those who were academically successful in school didn’t necessarily succeed in life. And surprisingly, people who were considered below-par turned out to be incredibly successful. So, why does this happen? Below, we look to answer this simple question by exploring how the school education system might actually not be designed for creating successful people.

A System to Create Conformists, Not Radical Thinkers

Schools are usually focused on creating conformists averse to taking risks. The entire education system depends on children conforming continuously to a higher authority, taking in knowledge from the authority, meeting their expectations, and repeating the process all over again, grade after grade. And this is one major problem of the education system. Being a conformist is a great quality of an employee, not of a radical thinker. And success in life is largely dependent on out of the box thinking, which requires a more daring mind.

For example, consider two people who both graduated from the same college with one scoring high grades while the other ending up with average grades. The studious one might consider using his good grades to enter into employment at a top company. They might also end up earning a very high salary. But the other person, being a radical thinker, might decide to ditch employment and, instead, start a local business on his own. This could also be the case if the latter couldn’t get in any good companies.

Now, if both continue on the same path, it is highly likely that the studious person will remain in employment even after ten years because of their aversion to risk and preference to conform to societal expectations. In contrast, the other person might have built a multi-state business that pulls in thousands of dollars in revenues each day thanks to his ability to take on risks and try out new things.

The System of Tests – Memory vs. Intelligence

Why People Who Succeed at School Don’t Always Succeed in Life

One big feature of all school systems is the concept of tests. A person will undergo numerous tests right from childhood all the way into adulthood. While there is nothing wrong with tests, the problem arises when such tests alone are taken as a sign of intelligence and people start believing that the one getting the highest marks will be the most successful.

This is false. These tests, at most times, only measure memory. And there is a big difference between memory and intelligence. Memory is the ability to record, recollect, and reuse information. Intelligence is the ability to use memory to resolve a problem.

For example, two people might learn the exact same thing about website coding and SEO. One person might memorize everything and do very well in tests. The other person might perform just average in tests but know very well how to apply the knowledge in the real world.

And if both of them come to know about how the elderly in their region are finding it difficult to get hold of medicines from the local medical shop, then it is more likely that the latter will use his coding and SEO skills to start an online shop that ships medicines to people of a specific region. The person who just focused on clearing tests by memorizing the information is very unlikely to ever think like this since his mind is more focused on memorizing knowledge rather than applying gathered knowledge.

Focus on Learning, Not Questioning

Why People Who Succeed at School Don’t Always Succeed in Life

Educating oneself is the primary aim of joining a school. But one has to understand what education actually means. Education does not mean that you just learn what is provided in the textbooks. No, that is only a small part of it. In addition to learning from any textbook, you must also develop the habit of questioning what you learn.

For example, if you are studying Jung’s psychological theories in college, you should have the mind to question them from all aspects. Blindly learning them will only make you a follower of Jung. But questioning what you learn, and then researching more to find answers to those questions will further elevate your knowledge. And, it is these type of people who generally come up with breakthrough ideas and philosophies that not only make them successful but also end up changing the world.  

Knowledge Alone Does Not Determine Success in Life

Why People Who Succeed at School Don’t Always Succeed in Life

While knowledge is important, that alone will not help one succeed. Most students who get top grades in school and college are largely focused on the study material. That is definitely not a good way to develop because the world does not work based on just book knowledge. In order to achieve success, one requires excellent social skills.

Social skill is a talent that you will generally find lacking among school and college toppers. They might perform very well in exams, but when it comes to developing friendships or close contacts, they are seen to fail terribly. In most professions of the world, a person with excellent social skills will easily be able to climb the corporate ladder faster than someone who is only blessed with intelligence.

For example, a person who is well versed in PHP is very useful for a business to develop dynamic websites. But, if the organization is looking for a manager, then knowledge of PHP alone won’t be sufficient. And this is where people who solely focused on academic achievements in school lose out to those who not only have enough knowledge but also the knack for developing relationships with people.

Final Thoughts

Dismissing someone as not being intelligent based just on test scores isn’t fair and that has been proven time and again. There are a lot of things that come into play when judging someone’s intelligence based on what all we discussed. Situations often bring out the positives in people and that shows what someone is good at, not just some scores.

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Motivation

How to Stop Thinking and Start Doing – The Right Time to Take Action is Now

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How to Stop Thinking and Start Doing - The Right Time to Take Action is Now

Preparing and planning are severely overrated. Things would never get underway if we spent an inordinate amount of time preparing for them. One last edit round and then I’ll submit my article, let me research some more options before I commit to anyone, one last talk with the investors and I’ll make a great proposal for my start-up…do these situations sound familiar?

“An idea not coupled with action will never get any bigger than the brain cell it occupied.”

-Arnold Glasow

If you’ve always believed that elaborate preparation guarantees success, it’s time to understand that this formula for success is seriously flawed. Nothing guarantees success. It’s the outcome of many moving parts, many of which are not in our control. I don’t mean to preach that preparing is not essential. 

I have been an advocate for proper planning since forever. Many times things fall apart because proper planning and preliminary preparation were skipped or weren’t carried out properly. But, the other side of the coin is that some people get stuck in the planning and preparation stage, trying to perfect everything. It’s prudent to analyze situations, anticipate outcomes, and do the required preparations. 

The problem comes when you over-prepare. You may be more than ready to take action, but you perceive the opposite. And the longer you prepare, the more you want to delay taking action unnecessarily. There are a lot of reasons why this happens. One of the major ones is analysis paralysis.

“Action is a great restorer and builder of confidence. Inaction is not only the result, but the cause, of fear.”

-Norman Vincent Peale

The main problem with over-planning is the longer you plan, the longer you’re not in the marketplace. By the time you’re ready to present your ideas or start working, the window of opportunity may have been claimed by someone more proactive. If you find yourself constantly putting off action and fretting too much about preparation, the strategies below can really help you get moving:

1. Face Your Fear of Failure

How to Stop Thinking and Start Doing - The Right Time to Take Action is Now

Let experiences guide you. You don’t have to be perfect all the time. Failure is just success turned inside out. These words may sound cliché but can considerably ease your analysis paralysis tendencies. If you find yourself always ending up in the same rut, then you need to learn to overcome your analysis paralysis prone thinking and apply it so that you can finally take some action.

“Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit at home and think about it. Go out and get busy.”

-Dale Carnegie

To quote an analogy, have you ever noticed how birds teach their young ones to fly? They simply push them out of the nest, not once fearing what will happen if the baby injures itself. They rely on experience and instinct, not preparation. Many a times, they fail but that doesn’t stop them from trying again.

Experiential learning strengthens your instincts and over time, you start understanding what will work and what won’t. But this will happen only if you expose yourself to failure. You need to be open to learning maybe even from those you consider under qualified to teach. 

2. Follow the 80/20 Rule

How to Stop Thinking and Start Doing - The Right Time to Take Action is Now

Focus on your best assets and use them to create maximum value – this is the core principle behind the 80/20 rule. And it has helped businesses grow their revenues and individuals make the most out of their productive hours.

Identify those 20% requirements that can give 80% of the final output. Work backwards from the product you’ve envisioned and list out all the components that you plan to put into it. Then, drill down upon the essentialities (“must-haves”, must not be more than 20% of total required input) and keep the “good to have” for a later time. If you put together the must-haves you’ll have a fully-functional Minimum Viable Product (MVP). Minimum investment for maximum output- now, that’s productivity. Improvisation can happen later. Don’t let the details bog you down. 

3. Get Moving

How to Stop Thinking and Start Doing - The Right Time to Take Action is Now

Have you been putting off something for the longest time, citing under-preparedness as the reason? A task that you don’t particularly enjoy? A meeting you’ve been worried about? Preparation here may be your excuse for escapism.

“There is only one proof of ability – action.”

-Marie Ebner-Eschenbach

Take a small step towards your goal. If you fail, try plan B. The best thing about experimenting on a small scale is that you won’t suffer huge losses as you could if your elaborate planning met an adverse end. Adversities also teach us something valuable. Take those teachings and incorporate them in your next steps.

And if your micro step fares well, you’ll feel bolstered to go ahead. Since you’ve already committed to the task, there are lesser chances of a rollback and going forward is the only way out. 

Setting internal deadlines can work wonders for people who find themselves spending way too much time preparing than doing. Build urgency into your system, perhaps write down goals or mark on a calendar. And be relentless about these deadlines. 

Final Thoughts

Commitment to action is not something you’ll achieve overnight. You will have to push yourself and fight tendencies to fall back into old patterns. Instead of accepting your inaction, always try to find the cause for it, and learn ways to overcome it. 

You need to keep moving forward in order to achieve your dreams and stay true to your visions and that includes finding your shortcomings and tackling them head on so that you don’t blame yourself for not going after what you want. 

After all, by taking no action all we do is make sure that we don’t succeed. So, why not use all the planning and preparing and take on the world while you still can?

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