What’s Diverting You From Success?

Few of us are performing at 100%. There are many reasons for this, but among them is one simple fact: we allow emotional and psychological issues to divert us from a full-on, maximum, nose-to-the-grindstone effort.

If you search for intangible factors diverting people from success, you’ll find a great many of them, ranging from simple fear of failure to complex issues of psychological “alignment” with your innermost values.

Although I don’t know the details of what’s diverting you from putting in a maximum effort, I’m pretty sure you’ll benefit from some of these suggestions:

Consider What You’re Doing Now

Start by deciding whether you’re satisfied with the effort you’re putting into working on your tasks, completing your projects, and reaching your goals. If you are satisfied, feel free to stop reading this right now. If you’re not 100% satisfied with your effort, however, please read on.

Start keeping a log of how you spend your time and effort during the next week. Don’t rely on your memory to record all this at the end of the day; such memories are notoriously inaccurate and self-serving. Instead, keep the log as you go, making an entry at least every 15 minutes or so to describe or at least categorize what you have been doing. (There’s software for this task, available for most computers and smartphones.)

When you’ve accumulated enough data, analyze and calculate how much of your time and effort is aimed at:

  • Completing an important task, project, or goal,
  • Maintaining your lifestyle, performing the activities of daily living, and attending to other necessities, including relationships, or
  • Pleasurable, or optional activities, or just plain killing time.

In my experience, most people who track their activities for the first time feel surprised and dismayed they’re doing so little to advance what they consider important in their work and their life. Such feelings can provide solid motivation to rearrange your schedule for the better.

Consider What You’d Rather Do

Your next step is to discover the reasons you keep as busy as you do with activities so weakly related to your most important tasks, projects, and goals. You may come to these discoveries:

  • By talking about the issue with friends and loved ones,
  • Through private introspection,
  • With the aid of a coach or therapist,

or perhaps some other way.

Understanding why you spend your time and effort the way you do is critically important because no matter how hard you try to improve, if you don’t fully grasp these reasons you’ll keep returning to your less-than-optimal pattern of behavior.

Once you understand what’s diverting you from putting in a full-on effort, you can begin to ramp up your efforts to succeed:

  • Start by prioritizing the tasks, projects, and goals you feel are most important to you, best reflect your values, and offer the most realistic current opportunities for progress in directions you desire.
  • Then make a plan for shifting some of the time you spend on less important activities toward some of these more important activities.  

Chief among the techniques for making this shift is this: putting the most important activities into your daily schedule – days, weeks, even months ahead of time. It’s much harder to achieve a big goal if you passively wait for a suitable block of time to open up in your schedule. But you can and probably will complete that same big goal once you divide it into relatively small, simple tasks and schedule each of them in advance.

After you have this kind of directed schedule implemented, you’ll find it helpful to record another week or two of your activities. You’ll see a major shift away from your previous pattern, which helps provide encouragement to keep this new, more consciously-controlled pattern going, and which also results in a greater level of productivity and success.

Important: If this material resonated with you, please take a moment to forward it to someone you care about who might also benefit. If this material was forwarded to you, please click here for your free subscription and have me send future posts to you directly. In either case, please “stay tuned” to read more great stuff. Thank you in advance for helping fulfill my dream – of making all of us more productive and successful – by spreading this information free, far, and wide!

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