When trying to reach a point in your career where you feel proud of yourself, it can be a long hard struggle uphill. One of the main reasons why people struggle to excel in what they want to is the pressure we feel from taking on too much in the hope that one of the activities we do will pay off and take us to the level that we want to reach.
Where the problem can often lie is that we force ourselves to do things that we don’t want to. In fact a lot of the work that we do is superfluous to requirements. Here are some of the ways that we can improve our productivity and motivation by doing only what matters most.
“Do I actually have to do this?” If you know that you don’t and you won’t enjoy it then don’t do it. Save your energy for something that is meaningful to you, but go that extra mile with it. There are obviously some things that you can’t neglect; aspects of your day job or anything regarding important legal documents, but in other areas of life you should seek to regain control.
It is a symptom of modern life that we force ourselves to be busy most of the time. In fact, for some of us we are conditioned to feel guilty for having downtime. We constantly want to be disciplined because we feel this is the only way that we will work hard enough to gain recognition. The answer can be found in channeling energy and discipline into what is both aligned with your priorities and can bring you some kind of satisfaction.
It can be easy to accumulate obligations. Some of these may be things that you started to do for pleasure, such as meeting with others working in field once a month. Just because you have spent ever second Tuesday evening of each month for the past year talking careers doesn’t mean that’s how you need to spend every second Tuesday evening of each month this coming year if your heart isn’t in it anymore. The same applies with habits. Let go of the ones that aren’t helping you to be productive. Multitasking is one that is common and can in fact be counterproductive.
Maybe you had an idea once. An idea that you deemed had a lot of potential. You revisit this idea often but never really do much about it, or anything that pays off at least. But still, you hold on to your idea because it’s yours and you hope it will work. You don’t have to put this idea away forever but just because you could choose to do it, doesn’t mean that you have to. It’s just another option whether it’s an idea conceived by you, or not.
A type of fake simplicity known as ‘Narrative Fallacy’ exists when it comes to productivity, especially in the Internet age. Although it has endless good qualities, the Internet is also a place filled with meaningless click bait and listicles, many about entrepreneurship and the habits and lifestyles of the world’s most inspiring business people. Yes, it’s cool that Steve Jobs had a minimalistic approach to living, and that Phil Dumonet of Dashed starts his day with a hot/cold contrasting shower but this doesn’t necessarily mean that YOU should adopt their habits.
When we encounter enough of these ‘successful people and their habits’ articles our brain can form a narrative that this is what we should do if we want to become successful. We encounter so many details in our lives each day so the fact that we try to thread details of others lives into our own to increase our success is natural in order to protect ourselves from the random chaos of human life. Instead of deciding to implement someone else’s habit into our lives, we should just pick up on why we have found one piece of information more significant than another, is there any patterns in what you as an individual find significant? Can you fit these into your own temperament to find new perspectives that will lead to your own kind of success?
In short, nobody’s success can be boiled down to a few habits or characteristics. We all have to make our own way.
Having a partner in crime or a team of partners can make the hardest of challenges approachable. You may be an excellent business person with great ideas, but you may not be able to pull off these ideas yourself. Just how far would Steve Jobs have gotten without Steve Wozniak? You might have created the best product in your field but have no idea how to market it. Allow talented others in. Take a well thought out risk on someone.
Luck does play a certain part in personal success, although it can be a demoralising concept when you are waiting for something to come your way. One of the most key parts of trying to gain success in your life and career is giving the concept of luck a chance. By all means work hard. There is relationship between practice and outcome but you cannot always rely on certain actions to pay off.
Risk aversion and over planning can also hold you back. It is very rare that anything good happens independently, everything is part of a chain of events. Therefore, you can benefit from leaving yourself open to some chance encounters. Accept invitations, experiment with different fields and allow room for improvisation and spontaneity as to not let positive unpredictable factors pass you by.