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?”
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
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.”
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
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.”
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
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.”
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.”
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
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.”
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.”
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 –
- Developing good habits
- Getting rid of bad habits
- Cutting off negative people from your life
- Getting rid of pessimistic thoughts
- Starting your day on a positive note
- Keeping a tab on what is important
- Finding work-life balance
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.
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.
Why it is Hard to Stay Motivated
Change is the only constant.
How many times have we heard this in our lives?
Do you realize this is not merely a saying but an experience every individual goes through multiple times during his entire life?
None of us know what the next second has in store for us. Right now you may be elated and you might find yourself in complete folds the next hour.
Well, these are the times when you need to chomp in a well-prepared meal.
No no, not your regular food, this meal has special ingredients which when cooked together, give you the dish called ‘motivation’.
It is extremely important to sense when our morale starts losing for if not paid attention to, it can turn into a habit and you might find yourself quite comfortable.
To be able to pull yourself out of lethargy, an understanding of what motivation actually is should be taken into consideration.
When defined, motivation is the power that activates the engine of success and moves you to act. It is not some external drive but comes from within and is very much related to your ambitions and desires in life.
Keep reminding yourself that this is a recurring process, you’ll have to be your own source of encouragement every day, sometimes even more than once a day.
Easier said than done right?
I am aware.
However, a strong and logical mind is sure to overrule your emotions. After all, you are not your mind but much beyond that.
To be content and motive-driven, you need to have clarity. Like I mentioned above, a strong mind has control over your emotions and will help you keep track of your visions and goals. It is usually easy to get distracted by external factors but if you are sure enough of what you want ahead, nothing can come in your way.
Let’s see some things that you could do when you feel like there’s not much productivity flowing out :
- The foremost thing is to stop and take deep breaths. A calm and relaxed mind is capable of viewing different point of views of the same situation. A moment of panic is sure to push you away and impact your ability to work.
- After you find yourself quiet, drink two sips of water to give fuel to the brain.
- Now, look closely at what you have in hand. An assignment to finish before the deadline? An examination to prepare for, due the day after? A project you just stepped into? Well, the list obviously is endless.
- Having the work outline made, sit and divide it into smaller tasks, hence now you have shorter goals which are comparatively easier to achieve.
- When a 4-5 hour project is broken down into sets of half an hour each, after the completion of every 0.5 hours there will be a sense of contentment and pride. The satisfaction thus attained will be far greater than anything else.
Now, this was just a little glimpse of what can be done or something that I usually adhere to. However, is this the only standard procedure?
Every individual is different and has his own psychological being. For some, a pep-talk would do wonders while for others just a 10-15 minute alone time is enough to get back to normal.
Therefore, don’t try to follow any steps mechanically. See various things, read about various things, and in the end, come up with different permutations and combinations that suit the best for you.
Enough of how to get motivated and why to get motivated. Let’s step into the deeper issue – ‘Not being able to work and to not be productive does not mean I am any less serious about my career. I am not making excuses just so that I can get off of responsibilities easily. Why does no one believe when I say this?’
The thoughts that we ponder over every time we are hit by a wave of disinterest. The problem is not anybody not believing you, the setback is of how society isn’t accepting of low workload times.
The pressure of watching every other person excel and hear stories of how people work 36 hours a day, has made this the notion of how one should approach his professional background.
The fear of not being able to report in time and the stress of being a few steps behind others always is daunting our subconsciousness. It’s high time we as individuals accept that this is what it is and it’s completely okay to be not okay somedays.
Embracing your own shortcomings will give you the courage to stand by yourself and fall back into action with double the motivation and power.
You know that these aren’t mere excuses, you know your mindset at that point in time and you know that you will give anything and everything to not be in this position and this is all that matters.
A sense of belief and confidence will automatically provide a boost and you’ll see yourself springing into ideas and creative techniques to give shape to the same project.
Hence, two things are the highlight of your gloomy days – One, that targets smaller goals to reach the bigger goal in less time and with less stress. Two, to accept and face the fact that you will have no willpower one day and it’s okay but at the same time knowing that you have to get back on your feet the next day.
How Reading can impact your Day to Day Life?
Reading is a healthy habit, which, if practiced daily, can change your entire life around. Do you want to know why? Through Reading, one can not only gain knowledge but also stay acquainted with the outside as well as the inside world. The best thing about reading daily is to have an isolated place for yourself in your mind, where you can run off to. Most people don’t have the patience or intention to read, and that too, daily. Though this is a habit that takes time to settle in but trust me, once it does, you would never regret it. So, here is a list of reasons why you should read daily?
Why should you read daily?
- To gain knowledge
Once you start reading daily, and by Reading, it can be anything – you can read few pages of a novel, or a magazine, or newspaper, or even poetry – you would notice within weeks how much your knowledge regarding the outer world has improved. Through Reading, one can have clear information regarding the current affairs, and hence, stay updated.
- To improve your vocabulary
Through Reading, you can definitely learn new words and hence, improve your vocabulary. Most people make it a habit to learn a new word from the dictionary every day, but if you read daily, you are bound to get new words and make a list of them on a notebook with their meanings, which is definitely going to be helpful for you.
- To have a make-believe world
The most beautiful consequence of Reading is having one’s own imaginary world, where one can live a life full of magic. This is the extraordinary superpower one acquires while reading. In this busy daily life of ours, we all look for a secluded place where we can feel the essence of peace. Reading can fly you off to the imaginary land of sunflowers, daisies, and cats who can indeed talk.
- To become more attentive
Most people lack patience nowadays. Being impatient and restless has become a severe problem in today’s world. Here, Reading can help you calm your mind and improve your observation skills. It works like meditation. In no time, you would find your mind focusing on details and becoming more attentive to events, which used to go unnoticed.
- To reduce stress
Reading is similar to meditation, and hence, it definitely helps to reduce your stress. Books always have a calming effect on one’s mind. It takes you away from daily problems and stressful situations and helps your mind to gain stability. Not only it helps in reducing stress, but it also helps to decrease the anxiety levels of a person.
Everyone should make reading a daily habit. One should switch off the mobile phones, turn off the television and take some time out to read. It works wonders on one’s day-to-day life and changes one person’s entire personality. Though it can be hard at first, with time, you would cherish the moments alone, reading in a corner while your mind is flying off to Narnia.
Is this Shoe the Right Fit: Gender Stereotyping in Fairytale through Cinderella
Growing up the first source of literature, children are exposed to are fairytales. These stories are read to them by parents as bedtime stories or watched by them on television. These stories are great influencers on a child’s’ mind, and therefore start conforming to its stereotyping, especially gender. Fairytales truly do educate and instill in children’s morality, but children get accustomed to the fairytales and thus begin to identify with the character in the story. The stereotypes in fairytales concern both genders and lay their roles out for them, but at large, the stereotypes are targeted at women.
One of the biggest and widely spread fairytales is “Cinderella” and as a child one watches her beautiful transformation, her damsel in distress moment, her prince charming who saves her and with everything going on in her life still being the ‘kindest soul’. There are about a thousand various versions of Cinderella, and also different movie adaptation, one of the famous one is by Disney. This fairytale has portrayed so many genders stereotyping that as a child one doesn’t realise but going back to the text, the stereotyping seems a little too evident.
These stories nearly always start with the phrase “once upon a time”. Cinderella was no exception, her story was once upon a time. It revolved around the tragedies in her life with her mother passing away to, father remarrying, treatment by her step-family, and finally meeting the prince who rescues her. These stereotyping are witnessed in stories depicting the higher class and hence talks about the consumption market of the same. The story is said to inspire girls to behave ladylike even if you are not born into nobility. Someday such beauty and grace, not just physical, will get them their prince. Which, will further give them approval from society on their shift from a girl to a lady. Taking the abuse pushed on her by her family instilling the idea of female leads being submissive in nature and continuously requiring help and support from various characters in the story. To have something good, one needs to face hardships in life; this concept is portrayed in the idea by depicting Cinderella as a servant, who is abused and works hard to please people. The prince saves Cinderella, and intern becomes the writer of her destiny. Cinderella further depicted as a perfect template on how to be a proper lady 101. As she doesn’t argue nor talkback makes her the ideal woman.
As far as beauty is concerned, Cinderella is described as a beautiful woman with her feminine features and wearing a stunning gown to the ball makes her even more attractive. This has been propaganda sold to girls at a very young age that she doesn’t need to sound intelligent as the prince in Cinderella did not care about her intelligence instead only cared for her beauty. This ideology is even seen today where people tell girls they need to ‘dress to impress’, that the only way to grab a man’s attention is by looking ‘beautiful’ adhering to society’s definition of beautiful. The society’s interpretation is influenced by Cinderella and various other fairytales. Who has sold the idea of a small waist, fair and clear-skinned, having her hair always almost perfect – has made girls feel insecure about their body and physical appearance. Due to the obsession of having a smaller waist leads to a lot of girls developing bad eating habits and trying to obtain fair and glowing skin.
The prince in the story is a strong character who is portrayed as a rescuer and knight in shining armour who comes in and rescues Cinderella from her miserable life and showcases that the whole story revolves to lead to this moment. Cinderella also had to prove her identity to the prince who did not recognise her.
The love story between the two main characters – Cinderella and Prince Charming seems utterly unreal and cringe-worthy. Love termed here is physical attraction and no interaction to know each other’s personality. Adding to the standard of beauty is applied to boy’s as well. They have to look a sure way to meet the standard of being ‘handsome’. Further, the knight in shining armour syndrome makes boys believe that they are entitled to rescue girls and marry girls based on their look. They think that they need to look for a girl who will take care of the house and not talk back, which leads to a biased society where females and males are conformed to stereotypes. This further makes children believe that marriage is the end goal.
Cinderella is just one classic fairytale that is discussed and portrays gender stereotypes, but other stories like Sleeping Beauty, snow-white, Rapunzel to formulate stereotypes. As Cinderella is famous and is one of the widely read novels, it made sense to use that as a platform to prove that fairytales are a source of gender stereotypes. There has been a surge in positive and unbiased fairytales and children’s movies such as Shrek, Mulan, Frozen, Brave to name a few but none the less the other stories still exist and propagated to children widely.
The end of the story is, do we really want children to have unrealistic standards on gender and beauty, and do we want them to believe that vulnerable and weak women are the only ones who grab men’s attention. If we need to formulate change, we need to start with fairytales. Being a fairytale fan myself I don’t mean to say scrap out fairytales all together, fairytales are an essential source of literature that shouldn’t be taken away from children. What we might think about doing is change the stories, portray roles of men and women as strong characters, who value equality and that stereotyping has to take leave from Fairytales.
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