Serial Procrastination – The Death of a Masterpiece

Serial Procrastination – The Death of a Masterpiece

There sits, on the desk of a friend of mine, a ‘procrastination calendar.’  Each and every day, the page is turned to a new quote engineered to fire up her productivity.  A daily call to action gets revealed to inspire and motivate and ward off any time-wasting.

The problem is that most of the quotes seem to speak to or make excuses for, not producing much of anything.  They even seem in favor of procrastinating.  I know it’s not the intent of the calendar, but look at some of the quotes I’ve read.

“Imagination only comes when you privilege the subconscious, when you make delay and procrastination work for you.” – Hilary Mantel

Some, are so ridiculous the author has chosen to remain anonymous, and with good reason:

“The sooner I fall behind, the more time I have to catch up.”

I can promise you folks, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about procrastination.  I can also promise you that the time I think about it the most is when there’s a deadline looming and I’ve let things go to the last minute.

Anyone who’s ever been guilty of procrastination (which is most of us) can relate to that.  We have all, at one time or another, let things go till we couldn’t ignore them anymore.

While some folks may let time get the better of them once in a while, there are those that are serial procrastinators.  These good people will try to convince you that their repeated bad use of time is all part of some master plan that always works out for them.

If that seems familiar to you on a regular basis, then it’s you I’m speaking to.  Please know, my advice comes from a place of heartfelt concern.  This is a tough to write as I’d much prefer to give you a reason to laugh, rather than talk about something that can be pretty uncomfortable.

If this isn’t you, read on anyway in the hope that serial procrastination will never get the better of you.

Dancing with Death

You see, there’s a huge problem with continually letting things go.  When you dance with procrastination you dance with death.

I’m not talking grim reaper death here, but death is imminent.  It’s coming for who you are and who you could become.  That person may never exist for a serial procrastinator.   Becoming a true master of whatever inspires you, what you love, takes real practice and it takes time.  There’s no way around it.

 

There’s no good reason to let your self-confidence, your creativity, your reputation and even your health if you’re not careful, die a slow and painful death killed by the excuses for not stepping up and putting in the time.  The minuscule rush you may feel by getting things in just before a deadline is nothing in comparison to the sacrifice you’re making to your credibility, reliability, and overall existence.

Let’s take a twelve-week project for example.  The first couple weeks you, as the serial procrastinator, may have done a few things for the project, maybe a bit of research on the internet (most of that time spent on Facebook). You may have even added it the deadline to your calendar.

The death of your project has begun via your serial procrastination (and Facebook).  But you know this, already.  Every time you procrastinate that little voice that wants to save you, the inner ‘you’ that wants you to produce the best result possible and master your craft, starts interrupting your thoughts.  At first it’s like a polite butler, it doesn’t speak loud or harshly.

“Forgive me if I’m overstepping my bounds, but you are running out of time for this project,” it seems to say.  “You may want to get started on it.”

You hear the voice.  You hear what it’s saying, but you don’t really listen.  There’s so much more to do besides whatever project you’re supposed to be working on.  (Let’s face it, fidget spinners were designed specifically for time-wasting and they’re selling like hotcakes).

As the deadline moves closer, however, the voice sounds a bit more panicky.  It’s beginning to take on the tone of that scientist in an action movie who’s trying to get folks in charge to listen about her discovery.  Her stats and charts are clearly showing there’s an asteroid on a collision course with earth.  No one listens to her, mainly because she appears in the first 15 minutes of a two-hour movie, but you get the point.  Knowing you probably should listen to it, you don’t want to.  You’ll get it done.  You tell the spazzy little voice to go away.

Finally, you’re at the point of no return.  The deadline is all but here, the butler and the scientist have packed up and headed for safer grounds and you’ve done all of nothing.  Now the dance of death begins in the form of cutting corners and sacrificing quality for a haphazard version of a finished result.

The Truth About Effort

Even if you’re happy with the result, you know the real truth.  Your confidence is merely due to the calculation of what you’ve produced divided by the actual amount of time you put into it.  You might even award yourself extra points for meeting the deadline (if you manage to).

You’re not thinking from the perception of everyone else.  They’re looking at the what you’ve produced divided by the time you were given to complete the project.  They expected something that takes twelve weeks to create.  You’re patting yourself on the back for two days-worth of work.

The death-knoll of serial procrastination is the attitude then of, if they don’t like it, it’s their problem.  You’ll convince yourself you did the best you could.

Imagine what you could have done, if when you got the project, you began to block out ten, twenty or even thirty minute tasks on different days, over the span of the project.  What could you have accomplished if you had just taken those little chunks of time to work on your goal?

What if some of the tasks included getting the opinion of a trusted co-worker or even, some revision time?  Think of it as this – when you’re a consumer that’s making a large purchase – do you want to spend your money on something of quality or are you okay with getting ripped off?

No one wants to get ripped off, of course.  No one ever wants to throw their money away!  We only have so much and we have other things we could spend it on.  We all want our money to go to good use.

What’s More Important?

Your money is limited but so is your time.  We all only have so much of both and just like you don’t want to be ripped off when you purchase something, you should be equally offended at the thought of constantly wasting your own time.

You deserve a life of quality so don’t settle for living a life of serial procrastination.  Be a result of good, even great effort at whatever you do, and steer clear of any horrid little desktop calendars full of bad quotes.  Life is too short.

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Is Motivation a Myth?

Is Motivation a Myth?

Can we talk for a moment?  A real heart-to-heart talk about the myth of motivation.  It’s a word so often over-used in self-help books, on posters with affirmations (you know the ones, with the sun coming up over the mountains) and spouted by get-rich gurus in seminars that are overpriced and leave you overwhelmed.

The Merriam-Webster’s definition of motivation is ‘the act or process of giving someone a reason for doing something.’  Let’s question that thought for a moment with regards to success and achievement.  Is there an act or process that gives a person a reason to achieve?

We think the answer to that question is a big ‘no.’  Shocked?  We were too, until we really started looking at the process of achievement, of reaching goals.  There is no one, no book, no poster, no guru that can motivate you to accomplish what you’ve set out to do.  So, should you throw your books away, tear down your posters and demand your money back from any seminar you’ve ever taken?

Not just yet and maybe not at all.  Those things can be used as tools to help you in your process of setting out to achieve your goals.  The secret lies in the reasoning behind the goals.  When you set goals that align with who you are and what’s important to you, you’re more likely to succeed.  You’re more likely to do the grunge work that it takes to push through from where you are, to where you want to be.

Simple, right?  Again, no.  If you really wish to light your life on fire, it’s even deeper than that.  Taking a good hard look at yourself and aligning where you wish to go, with what you believe in, is only part of the battle.  There is something in you, waiting to be uncovered.  We all have, within us, the possibility of greatness, to create something larger than ourselves.

Discovering it is akin to an epiphany and once you uncover it, you can’t go back.  You can’t un-see that part of you where this fierce desire lies.  It’s a Pandora’s Box and once you open it, you can’t control what comes out.

We call this your ‘Big Why’ and it’s a whopper of a discovery, of self-realization.  The truth is, few people dig deep enough to find this part of themselves and let it out.  Think about it, when is the last time you actually met someone what was truly passionate about what they do?  We aren’t speaking of someone who is happy with their job, we’re talking people who would cease to exist if they weren’t doing the thing they loved.

They discovered their ‘Big Why’ and their life is all that much richer for it.  Now, we’re not necessarily talking about famous people.  We hear every day about someone famous who lost their professional drive and started turning out mediocre work or harmed themselves in some way.  That’s the end result of being pressured to turn out a product on a mass scale that you’re no longer passionate about.  It’s painful and self-destructive.

Your ‘Big Why’ should fuel you.  It should enhance your life.  It won’t detract from your existence it will add to it.  The journey of discovering your ‘Big Why’ can be a fulfilling one and can take a few hours, a few years or a lifetime to figure out.  The point is, when you do realize what your ‘Big Why’ is, you will want to act on it, immediately if not sooner.  

This won’t be just a goal in your life, this will be your goal for life, at least your life right now and however long you choose to pursue your own truth.  Can your ‘Big Why’ change?  It’s possible, but let’s stick with finding what yours is, in the first place.

Listen to yourself, your inner voice.  Your ‘Big Why’ is there somewhere.  It may lurk in your imagination as something you think about constantly.  It could be something that’s already in your life, like a hobby that you could take to a grand scale if you could only dedicate yourself it.

It also doesn’t have to necessarily become your full-time profession but the reason you’ll excel at your profession in order to fund this passion.

When you put your ‘Big Why’ in front of you, living it becomes your motivation.  That’s where some of those books, posters and seminars can come in handy.  The right tools are integral to your process and you need a plan and guidance to help you along the way.

Coaches and mentors can work wonders for you as well.  After all, when is the last time you saw a winning football team, or any other athlete for that matter, without a good coach?  Coaches hold you accountable and aren’t afraid to call you out when you go off track of what your path.  Mentors offer guidance, experience and wisdom because they’ve already traveled the road to their ‘Big Why.’  They can help show you what to expect so you’re better prepared along the way.

It all comes together to make your very precious, very real, very now life a fantastic one, filled with passion and purpose.  No matter where you are in life now, discover your ‘Big Why’ and let it frame your future.  Allow it into your life when you discover it.

You and everyone around you will be richer for it.

 

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The Importance of Being Happy in Your Career

The Importance of Being Happy in Your Career

Have you ever had a day where you would just rather curl back up in bed than go to work?  Okay, yes, we’ve all those days.  They’re are perfectly normal, but only if they happen every now and then.

Let’s face it, not everyone wants to go to work every day.  There are so many other fun things to do like sleeping late, spending time with family, traveling or enjoying your favorite hobby.  I’m sure there are somed ays where cleaning behind the refrigerator sounds better than dragging yourself into work.

That’s normal for all of us.  There is a line though, between wanting some time for yourself and dreading your job.  A frequent desire to be anywhere or do anything else than go to your job, is a sign.  A sign that you aren’t happy with your choice of either workplace, or career.

Being unhappy on a daily basis with what you’re doing or where you’re doing it can have horrendous effects on you, your health, your relationships and your overall quality of life.  People under a lot of stress suffer from a multitude of side effects, ranging from body pain and difficulty sleeping, to more severe side effects such as social withdrawal and drug abuse. Furthermore, being in an unhappy work situation can even affect one’s appearance. Research shows that 50 percent of Americans have gained weight at their current job — in fact, a whopping 13 percent gained over 20 pounds.

On the flip side, a happy work scenario can help you skip out on the headaches, fatigue, binge eating, irritability and stomach ulcers. According to researchers at Aon Hewitt, “Employees who perceive their organizations as having a strong culture of health are happier, less stressed.  They’re also more likely to take control of their well-being than employees in other organizations.”

First, let’s tackle where you work.  Do you believe in your current company?  Are you proud to part of it, or are you ashamed of the brand you once believed in?  Now you may think that this really isn’t all that important because we have to work to survive.  But consider this, the average person dedicates approximately 85,000 hours of his or her life to work over a lifetime.

Wouldn’t you agree that such a large portion of your life, should be a happy one?  Add to that, lines between work and home have blurred as technology has advanced.  Very few of us have the opportunity now to leave work at work.  Through e-communications (emails, texts, shared folders, log in programs that keep our computers connected at home to our computers at work) we are one notification sound away from being at work even on our down time.

Now, being connected electronically can help you stay mobile and not require you to be physically present every moment at your office.  This can be handy when you want to be out of the office and still stay productive, but if the office environment is stressful, you’re bringing that stress with you, wherever you go.  The end result can be that you’re stuck looking at something electronic during time with family and friends, instead of being engaged in the moment.

We’re more connected now than we ever were, sometimes more than we should be and often we’re too connected to keep our life in a healthy balance.  Take our advice, if where you work does not make you happy, you need to change where you work.  There’s no other way around it.  Start sending out resumes and networking with others in your field.  Find a brand you can believe in, at a company with a great culture, that facilitates your productivity.  Staying where you are not happy ensures that you will never reach your professional best.

Let’s talk about your career choice.  Maybe what’s weighing you down isn’t the company you work for, maybe it’s the work itself.  When you were younger, what did you want to do when you grew up?  Was it what you’re doing now?  Could you see yourself doing something else with your life?  

You need passion, vision and purpose in your career or you might as well be a cog in a machine.  The 85,000 hours you may spend working will be wasted hours if they give nothing back to your life.  When you do what you love, when you do what inspires you, you can life a bold life full of meaning and happiness.

When you’re fired up because you love what you do and you’re happy, you are going to have such a positive effect on everyone around you.  Those 85,000 hours won’t be wasted ones, they’ll be filled with reward.

Try this exercise:  picture your perfect workplace.  Picture what it would look like and picture what job you would hold there.  Is it what you’re doing now?  If the answer to that question is no, you may need to change careers.

This one can be pretty scary if you have a degree for your current job, but no degree or training for the job you want.  There are ways around this, however.

You could volunteer in the profession you want to pursue.  Are you a lawyer who really wants to be a vet?  Volunteer to help animals in shelters, support pet foster-families or become a foster yourself for an animal waiting for a good home.  You may even be able to volunteer at your local zoo.

Maybe you’re an accountant who really wants to be a professional skydiver.  Next time you go skydiving, ask the people at the event how they got into skydiving as a profession.  You won’t lose anything from asking but you may gain some helpful knowledge as how to proceed in order to reach your goal.

Maybe, you’ll need to go back to school to earn a degree in your desired profession.  That’s not as daunting as it used to be.  Many great colleges, universities and even community colleges offer degrees that combine online classes with physical class time.  Who knows, maybe a part-time internship needed for your degree will turn into a full time position in your new field.

Happiness in your workplace and happiness in your career are both vital.  It controls our levels of stress, dictates our ability to engage in activities with folks we love.  It is a major factor in our health.  The myth that ‘it’s call work for a reason’ is just that, a myth.

You need and deserve to feel happiness and pride in whatever you do.  It’s imperative that if you don’t right now, you need to create a game plan to change those issues as soon as possible.

Life is short.  Don’t spend it wishing you were cleaning behind your refrigerator.  Spend it being happy with what you do and who you’re with.  You deserve it.

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Your First Step to Becoming a Successful Real Estate Agent

Your First Step to Becoming a Successful Real Estate Agent

Congratulations!  You’re officially a Real Estate Agent.   You’ve received your Real Estate License after making it through all of the classes, the studying and the tests.  You’ve partnered with a broker and paid your first year’s dues to your local Realtor board and to the National Association of Realtors.

You have big dreams and large goals and unless you’ve come from a long line of successful realtors in your family, you have no real idea how to achieve your target success.

Don’t worry, we’ve all been here at some point or another.  We’ve all looked out at the vast wilderness that is the real estate market and felt overwhelmed.

Let us reassure you that just like reading, writing and math, you just need to start at the very beginning by learning good practices and in time, you’ll achieve what you’ve set out to do.

We’ve compiled 10 steps to help you succeed as a new agent:

Define Your Goals

  • Think of your goals as a point on a map. To get where you’re going you need two things:  a destination and a route.  Define your destination and discover your route.  How do you do that?  Experience, personal development and training.

Follow the Path You’ve Set for Yourself

  • Want to earn a million dollars in a year? Seek out Realtors who have made a million dollars in a year (and there are plenty of them).  Read their stories, follow their blogs, study what they’ve done and then mirror that for yourself.  This is your path.

Associate Yourself with a Broker Who is Training-Based.

  • It’s not hard to get hired in the Real Estate Industry. It is hard to find a broker who will help you achieve your goals.  Find a broker/real estate company who listens to you and will help you find the education to follow your path to success.

Learn to Make a Business Plan.

  • You’ve defined your goals. You’ve found the Realtors you want to emulate.  You’ve aligned yourself with a great, training-based brokerage.  Now take all you want to achieve and put it into a business plan.  Never written a business plan before?  We suggest you take a class on one.  It’s worth its weight in gold and can be an integral part of achieving your desired level of success.

Remember, finances matter. 

  • The rule of thumb for new agents is to have a six-month cushion for living expenses while you build your business.

Don’t Try to Reinvent the Wheel.

  • Don’t.  It’s tempting, we know.  You gained a little bit of experience after you’ve closed some transactions and all of a sudden, you may feel you have the real estate industry figured out.  We love you enough to let you know…you don’t.  It’s a tough industry with a ton of quirks and just closing a few transactions will not help you master what takes years of experience and learning to even understand.

When you think you’ve learned everything, learn some more.

  • As you progress in your career, you’ll reach new milestones. Every new milestone needs new training.  Never. Stop. Learning. 

Treat failures as a learning experience and get right back at it.

  • Did that closing that you’ve been waiting for fall through, at the last minute? Maybe, it even fell through at the closing table.  That nightmare of a scenario is painful to even think about, but it happens.   When failures do happen, and they will, scream in a pillow, go for a run or do whatever it is you do to de-stress and get back in the game.

Above All Else – Be Your Own Brand.

  • Every step you take in your new career helps to either build or destroy your reputation. Networking is key to your survival.  People want to know who you are.  They need to believe in you.  Remember, they’re trusting you with what is probably their biggest financial asset.  Talk to everyone you can.  Get written reviews when you have a closing.  Get a great real estate-themed website.  Stay involved in social media.  Wear your name tag to the grocery store.  Give out your cards to everyone and anyone who’ll take them.  Let your social butterfly free.  Just remember, to be honest.  Don’t overpromise.  No one wants to believe their faith was misplaced.

Treat Yourself Well.

  • This career can be incredibly rewarding. It can also be overwhelming.  Real estate is a field where a lot of people burn out quickly.  It’s logical then that the rewards should be as big as the risks you’re taking to succeed.  When you reach one of your goals – give yourself a reward.  It can be anything from a massage to a trip to a new car.  You have to treat yourself well in order to want to stay in the game.

While agents may arrive and leave the real estate field at an astounding rate, lasting agents understand that every day in real estate is a new learning experience.  Not knowing what the day will bring is part of the thrill of your career choice.  We hope that these steps will help you set yourself up for a long, successful career in a field you’ll find both fulfilling and rewarding.

No go get ‘em champ!  We believe in you!

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