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6 Reasons You Keep Making Decisions That Work Against You

We seek immediate rewards

Unlike small, unimportant tasks, the challenge with our most important tasks is that our efforts aren’t immediately rewarded with visible progress.

The key to success here is to break down the big rocks into smaller milestones so that you can feel a sense of progress.

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IDEA EXTRACTED FROM:

6 Reasons You Keep Making Decisions That Work Against You

6 Reasons You Keep Making Decisions That Work Against You

https://www.themuse.com/advice/6-reasons-you-keep-making-decisions-that-work-against-you

themuse.com

6

Key Ideas

Not using our time well

Instead of immediately focusing on email, meetings, and other activities, we would be better off spending the morning doing productive work that requires a higher cognitive capacity (thinking, planning, calculating, for example), and delaying the tasks that don’t require as much mental energy to the hours when our capacity is diminished.

We seek immediate rewards

Unlike small, unimportant tasks, the challenge with our most important tasks is that our efforts aren’t immediately rewarded with visible progress.

The key to success here is to break down the big rocks into smaller milestones so that you can feel a sense of progress.

Waiting for inspiration

... is a common excuse we tell ourselves to avoid difficult tasks.

Set aside time, jump in and get done what you can. The best step we can take is to simply make a plan and start. 

Structured procrastination

We engage in tasks that give us the sense we’re achieving something when in fact we’re not.

If you feel the need to get those small things done, get to them only after you have made real progress on an important task first.

Choosing the wrong things

Our most important tasks often don’t find their ways to our calendar. 

Our calendars show us mostly meetings, and the time needed for important stuff is usually the empty space between meetings. But when we see the empty time, we think that we have extra time and we add more meetings.

Overwhelming to-do lists

With a long, overwhelming list of to-do items, it becomes more tempting to tackle the small, easy things in order to make visible progress.

There’s nothing wrong with keeping a to-do list, but we need to make sure that the joy of erasing things from our to-do list is not shifting the way we spend our time.

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A one size fits all solution

Instead of relying on a tool with all the bells and whistles, find out where you’re struggling and what’s essential for you. 

For example, if scheduling is taking you away from product development, then you could use a scheduling tool that uses machine learning to automate most of your scheduling needs. If you’re wasting too much time on email, then consider using a tool to help tame your inbox.

Less anxiety

Time management is only useful when you’re aware of your limitations and don't let the system dictate your entire life. 

In other words, when you don’t tread lightly (especially at first), time management can add more stress to your life.

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Journaling as self-improvement tool

The practical reason to keep a journal: To manage yourself. Most of us still see journaling as a hobby, something that we do for fun or to relax. Sure, those reasons might be true for some. Bu...

The quality of your thoughts
You truly get to know the quality of your thoughts when you write them down: how good of a thinker you are, how to make decisions and if they make sense, your goals, priorities, etc.
Things to write about in your journal
  • Write about your activities.
  • Write about what scares you.
  • Write about your decisions.

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The "frog"

It is your biggest, most important task, the one you are most likely to procrastinate on if you don't do something about it.

It is also the one task that can have the greatest positiv...

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"One of the very worst uses of time is to do something very well that need not be done at all".

The ABCDE prioritization approach
  • A items : Things you must do, which will have a serious positive or negative consequence.
  • B items : Things you should do, that have minor consequences.
  • C items : Things that are nice to do but don’t have any real consequences when they’re done.
  • D items : Things to delegate so you can free up more time to do A tasks.
  • E items : Things to eliminate. Generally stuff you do out of habit.
The weekly review

It’s dedicated time to think about the past week, reflect on what went well and what didn’t, and plan for the week ahead. 

It’s a chance to get aligned with your goals and ensure ...

The 3 parts of a weekly review
  • Get Clear: process all your loose-ends.
  • Get Current: make sure all your items are up to date.
  • Get Creative: come up with new ideas to improve how you live and work.
Benefits of weekly reviews
  • You gain an objective view of the week: a weekly review forces you to practice intention by taking time to pause and reflect as you consider what you did versus what you planned to do.
  • You become proactive in planning: a weekly review isn’t only a retrospective, but a prospective too. It lets you run through the upcoming Monday to Friday proactively.

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Personal Operations Category
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What's on your plate

Prioritizing tasks at work involves getting all your tasks and commitments in one place.  Take a piece of paper and make a list of everything you need to get done. Questions to help you:

  • Do you have commitments to others like your boss, partner, kids, or clients?
  • Do you have anything you need to submit? 
  • Do you have any financial tasks that need to get done? 
  • Do you have any planning that needs to get done? 
  • Do you have any administrative tasks? Legal, insurance, staffing, or training?
  • Do you have any professional development tasks that need to get done? Training, areas to research, skills to develop, books to read or study, or classes to take?
Brainstorm your goals

Find your goals. Without them, it is impossible to prioritize your tasks. Try to set 90-day goals, which is long enough to make meaningful progress. Questions to prompt goals:

  • What’s the one thing you could do that makes everything else easier or unnecessary?
  • If you were giving advice to someone else in your position, what 1-3 things would you tell them to focus on?
  • What do you want to have accomplished over the next five years?

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Think of Yourself Less

Humility is not thinking less of yourself, but thinking of yourself less.  - CS Lewis

Self-esteem that is bound to external success can lead to small spurts of happiness but is no...

Be Busy, but Not Rushed

Research shows that feeling “rushed” is a one-way street to stress and unhappiness. Too much boredom can be burdensome. 

To find a balance, learn to say "no" to opportunities that do not excite you.

Be Proactive About Your Relationships

Do:

  • Check-in regularly with good friends (around 2 weeks for very close friends).
  • Celebrate the good things in their life; let them know through active and constructive listening. 
  • Studies show people love hearing themselves talk and talking about themselves, so let them.

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Trim the fat

Multitasking and directing your energy to unimportant tasks and activities will overwhelm and prevent you from being productive.

Focus on your 3 to 5 ...

Measure your results

To assist you with measuring results instead of time, keep done lists to feel more motivated and focused.

Have an attitude adjustment

We are more effective at work when we have a positive attitude. 

good attitude at work will help you set standards for your work and ensure that you're taking responsibility for yourself.

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Treating cheating as a reward

If someone treats themselves to a dress after a week of saving, this undermines the achievement they have made. 

Try to view the act of you achieving your goals as...

Planning unnecessary meetings

Unnecessary meetings can severely deplete productivity out of someone’s working day. 

Instead of arranging a meeting, see if you can speak with the person in another way. Skype, texting, emailing and phone calls are all efficient ways to communicate on important matters, while still focusing on your own projects.

Multitasking

Research has discovered that most people become less efficient while attempting to multitask.

Try concentrating on one task at a time for great, productive results.

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Happiness

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Workplace Happiness defined

In a fundamental sense, workplace happiness comes when:

  • We enjoy doing the tasks assigned to us
  • We feel right about the people we are working with
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  • We feel respected and acknowledged at work
Importance Of Happiness At Work

Happy employees are compulsory for a growing business.

A study on organizational success revealed that employees who feel happy in the workplace are 65% more energetic than employees who don’t. They are two times more productive and are more likely to sustain their jobs over a long period of time.

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By the hour

This works well for the chronic procrastinator: those who say they will do it later and then wonder why it never gets done.

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The Pomodoro Method

Rather than trying to work flat-out, break down your day into a series of work-sprints with a short rest period after each session.

Set a timer for 25 min and focus exclusively on your work for that time, take a 5 min break, and repeat.

Some people find that taking a 5 min break destroys their flow. But it does help to break long complex tasks into a series on manageable sprints.

The 2-minute rule

The 2-minute rule is a strategy for quickly assessing and taking action on small tasks so they don’t take up too much mental energy.

Ask yourself if a task is going to take you 2 minutes or less. If so, just do it.

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