Tag Archives: motivation

What’s Your Excuse?

Excuses are the worst enemy of productivity, and they are best friends with procrastination. When procrastination and excuses buddy up, productivity doesn’t even stand a chance. I probably wouldn’t be too far off to estimate that 90% of all excuses aren’t even legitimate. They are just what we use to justify our procrastination, and we even convince ourselves that it is a totally valid reason for not doing what we know we should be doing.

Do you ever find yourself thinking about something you don’t want to do, and then suddenly all these reasons pop into your head for why you can’t do it right now? Excuses are your mind’s natural defense mechanism for protecting you from undesirable things on your to-do list, like getting started on that overwhelming project or writing that dreadful term paper due next week. There is always some excuse you can use to get you off the hook, but for how long? Eventually, you have to beat the procrastination, stop making excuses, and get shit done!

The best way to do this is to take a look at why you procrastinate. There are 2 main reasons for putting things off:

  1. It’s something you don’t enjoy doing
  2. It’s something you don’t really know how to do

In both cases, it’s likely that your mind is making it seem worse than it really is. There are some tips for kicking procrastination and excuses to the curb:

Just get started

It usually just takes making the first move to get a task going, but it’s this first step that’s the hardest. Once you start, you will find that it’s nowhere near as bad as you thought. Make a commitment to yourself not to accept anymore excuses, and you will find that procrastination will back off and let you get to it.

Break things up

We tend to put off things that are intimidating or overwhelming. In this case, break the tasks into pieces or set small goals that will make you feel more at ease. Beware that doing tasks in a start-and-stop manner opens up more opportunities for pesky procrastination to swoop in. To help with this, try setting firm deadlines for yourself.

Dangle a carrot

Rewards motivate, and when paired with productivity, they are a tough team to beat. Reward yourself for getting stuff done. Sometimes, for me, just knowing that I will no longer have to dread the task itself is enough motivation for me to stop putting it off.

I hope these tips make you more aware of the sneaky antics of the devious duo, Excuses and Procrastination.

To a happy, healthy, and productive life!

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Going the Extra Mile

It was a beautiful spring day in Reno today, and on top of it, I kicked off the running season with my first 10k race! I have done a handful of 5k’s, and I moved up to an 8k last fall, but today I accomplished one of my goals by adding an extra mile and going for the 10k. I really enjoy participating in local fun runs, and we do have quite a few to choose from here in Reno. I love the energy and comradery that radiates from these runs; it’s pretty inspiring being in the midst of so many active, motivated people.

Not only is it the thrill of the race that makes these runs exciting, it’s knowing that the whole crowd has come together to support a cause. Most fun runs are organized to raise money for research, charities, and other non-profits. What better way to give back to the community, while simultaneously doing something good for your health? Not to mention the awesome T-shirt and goodie bag full of loot.

If you haven’t done one of these events, I highly suggest you give it a try. Even if you don’t consider yourself a runner, these races are usually walker friendly. The best way to set a goal for a race is to choose one you would like to do in the future, whether it’s in a month or 6 months, and register. Now you are committed. Put it on your calendar and start telling everyone about it. Once it’s out in the open that you have set this goal, you have even more motivation to follow through with it. If you don’t run much, start small. A 5k is 3.3 miles, so start jogging 1 or 2 miles without stopping and add on from there. You can count on some adrenaline and crowd energy to give you an extra push on race day.

If you do race regularly, I challenge you to set a new goal. I plan on tackling a few more 10k’s before the season is over. In the next year or two, I will work up to a half marathon. Do you have any fitness goals you are working toward?

To a happy, healthy, and productive life!

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Get Off Your Butt and Do Something

I don’t know about you, but these drizzly Spring days take their toll my motivation. Despite the fact that I’ve got tons to do, I want nothing more than to remain in my pj’s and watch movies. It’s perfectly acceptable to have one of those lazy days every once in awhile, but when you have weeks or months of gloomy weather ahead, you cannot afford to let it get to you.

When you are feeling exceptionally sluggish, may need a little extra push to get yourself going. Sometimes all it takes is just forcing yourself to get off your butt and do something. Here are some suggestions to get you moving:

Turn off the TV

A coworker of mine recently told me if he could give one word of advice to anyone, it would be, “Turn off your TV because you never did anything to make your life better while watching it.”

Change your clothes

Getting out of your pj’s is the first step. Either put on some workout clothes or some street clothes. Once you are dressed, you have no more excuses for not leaving the house.

Put on some music

I like to put on some up-tempo music to get me going. It boosts my energy for cleaning, cooking, and exercising.

Make a commitment

Call up a friend and make a date for coffee or shopping. When someone is counting on you, there is more pressure to be productive.

What do you do to get yourself going on a lazy day?

To a happy, healthy, and productive life!

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Boosting Productivity with Warm Fuzzies

Do you feel like you get more done when you are in a good mood? It’s probably because you have a more positive attitude, higher energy, and greater optimism when your mood is elevated. In his Positive Organizational Behavior blog, Dr. Bret Simmons recently wrote on the topic of feeling good by doing good. He suggests that engaging in helping behaviors at work creates a more positive mood, and in turn, increases the productivity of employees.

This is based on the idea that doing good for others makes you feel warm and fuzzy inside, and who doesn’t like feeling warm and fuzzy? People like to do things that make them feel good, and if you can incorporate this into your company culture, you may end up with happier, more motivated employees. Here are some ideas for encouraging helping behaviors in the workplace:

  • Create a mentorship program
  • Promote courtesy and gratitude
  • Start a charity drive (clothes, food, toys, etc.) competition between departments
  • Engage in volunteering
  • Collect donations for an employee/family in need
  • Encourage employees to help each other with projects

Not only can this positive mood be obtained through employees helping each other, but also through helping customers. I work for a company that is developing a technology with the capability to assist paralyzed individuals with communication. I find myself highly motivated to work for a company with such an altruistic purpose.

Foster an environment in your organization that encourages employees to engage in helpful behaviors. Not only will it boost their mood, it can also increase motivation and productivity as well.

Do you work for a company that emphasizes helping others? Please share your thoughts!

To a happy, healthy, and productive life!

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Are You in it for the Long Haul?

I just had the opportunity to be with my grandparents to celebrate their 50 years of marriage. Now, we all know that 50 years of anything, especially a marriage, is a long time and definitely an occasion that should be celebrated. There is something so special and significant about reaching a milestone like this because it doesn’t come easily. Short term goals are easier to commit to because they feel safer and the reward is much more tangible. Creating long term goals with delayed gratification, now, that’s challenge!

Long term goals are packed with uncertainty, doubt, and fear of failure (Will I be strong enough to make it to the finish line, despite all the hurdles and obstacles that may enter the path?). Nonetheless, without them, you have no sense of direction or mission to motivate you through life. It’s our long term goals or desires that give us something to strive for, whether it’s becoming what you want to be when you grow up, owning your own piece of land, or even upholding the vow “till death do us part.”

Establishing these goals can be as easy as asking yourself, “What do I want in life?” It’s sticking to them that is the hard part. That pesky self-doubt gets in the way sometimes, causing us to second guess our ability to achieve our dreams. And sure, sometimes our lives just take a different path and our dreams change, but those who set their sights on a goal and remain steadfast till the end, accomplish something truly remarkable.

My grandparents waited half a century to reach this milestone. It undoubtedly had its ups and downs, but their determination and love for each other helped them through. Their reward for all their effort was being surrounded by their 11 children and grandchildren to share the moment and the memories with them. Reaching a long term goal takes a lot of work and time, as well as strong commitment and the will to endure whatever stands in your way, but the reward is priceless.

To a happy, healthy, and productive life!

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Get Out of the Way!

Do you ever find yourself blaming your circumstances or making excuses for why you can’t get ahead or accomplish your goals? It’s hard to admit, but sometimes you are the biggest barrier to your own productivity and success. While it’s easy to point fingers and evade responsibility, the best thing you can do for yourself is get out of your own way. Whether it’s fear of failure, poor of self confidence, or even lack of motivation, you may be what is holding you back from reaching your full potential.

Don’t be afraid of what you think you can’t do.

If you open yourself up to risk of the unknown, you may surprise yourself with the results. Sometimes fear of failing to achieve something you really want will prevent you from even trying at all. What you need to realize is this “failure” you fear is really only a lesson that will empower you to succeed the next time you try.

Believe in yourself.

This one is cliche, I know, but it’s very true. You can have the whole world supporting you, but if you don’t believe in your own greatness, you will never push yourself to succeed. You need to stop telling yourself “I can’t” or “I’m not good enough,” because these negative thoughts will hold you back.

Take the first step.

When you are feeling particularly unmotivated, the first step is the hardest, but how can you win the race if you don’t even step out the door? Once the momentum starts, it’s so much easier to get things done. If you find you are putting things off because you aren’t in the mood, just get started. Put it in your mind that you are going to take at least one little step, and you will find that it really isn’t as awful as your mind made it out to be.

To a happy, healthy, productive life!

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