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5 Common Characteristics of Ineffective People

I don’t know about yourself, but I’ve lived most of my life being oblivious to the fact that if you want to get the same results as somebody else then all have to do is do the same things that they did. In other words, people who get similar results have similar habits. Therefore, if you want to start a successful business then all you need to do is copy what somebody else did to start their own successful business. If you want to become the number 1 Cup Stacker in the world then all you have to do is take the same steps as the current number 1 Cup Stacker did.

The rule really is that simple and yet I still feel like Einstein whenever I think about this.

The matter of the fact is this rule not only works in terms of success, but also in terms of failure. People who achieve nothing in life will have the same habits as the next person who has achieved nothing in life. Somebody who is in debt will typically have the same spending habits as somebody else who is in debt. This is also true of ineffective people. If you want to start reaching for the stars and realizing all your dreams you need to drop the habits that are leading to daily ineffectiveness.

You may not realize that you are suffering from ineffectiveness but either way you’ll soon find out as below are the 5 characteristics of ineffective people:

1. Ineffective People Don’t Plan
The first characteristic of an ineffective person is their inability to plan their daily lives. The simple truth is that they have no idea what they want to achieve or where they want to go in life. For this reason they make decisions and take actions which lack any real direction or purpose. Conversely, an effective person will know precisely which tasks need to be done and this will ultimately take them closer to where they want to go.

2. Ineffective People Don’t Make Lists
Much like the point above, Ineffective people do not make to-do lists of what they need to do for the day ahead. Rather than spending time on their most valuable tasks they spend the time procrastinating on what they should be doing instead of actually doing it. Ineffective people can spend as much as 2 hours a day procrastinating. This is wasted time that could have been put to more productive use. It only takes 10 minutes to plan a day yet ineffective people are unaware of how little time it takes.

3. Ineffective People Don’t Put Things Back
You will find that the residence of a highly ineffective person will be the same as the residence of another. Ineffective people just don’t put things back in the same place and they waste valuable time trying to look for things such as their keys, wallet or their mobile phone.

Rather than having a regular place for these items, they have to constantly search around. Sometimes their car keys are by their bed, or in their pocket or sometimes it’s on the kitchen table. Effective people do not only put things back, but they set out areas where certain things should go and they save time and reduce stress by knowing where things are.

4. Ineffective People Let Chaos Build
In today’s society it’s very easy to become overwhelmed with the amount of information coming in – e-mails, text messages, bills to pay, household chores and other work that needs to be done. An ineffective person will allow all this chaos to grow without putting regular intervals aside to control the extra work that gradually comes in. An effective person will just let the tasks grow and grow until everything is out of control and becomes one big explosion of disorganized chaos similar to the big bang theory (Am I being dramatic much?) – an overload of unanswered e-mails, bills and dishes begin to pile up.

In the end a disorganized person will become so overwhelmed that even the thought of tackling the chaos is too daunting.

However, an effective person has a far different approach. They will know that there will be some build up of unattended work once in a while, and that they must set aside time to bring everything under control before it gets out of control. This is something ineffective people must learn to do.

5. Ineffective People Lack Focus
What I’ve noticed with most ineffective people is that they cannot focus their attention on one task and stick with it all the way to the end. What you’ll find is that they focus on one task then begin to allow their mind to wander onto other tasks until they are doing so many tasks that none of them are being completed. For example, have you ever noticed how you may sit down to write an important e-mail, then the next thing you know you’re checking the news, on instant messenger or checking up on Facebook? If you want to become effective you must learn to focus on one task and resist the urge to get distracted by another task. Once you fully complete task then, and only then can you move onto the next.

So there you have it; the 5 characteristics of ineffective people. With enough time and awareness anybody who currently experiences these traits can turn it around and drop these habits. It may take time, but once you drop these 5 traits you’ll definitely stop getting the same results as other ineffective people i.e. achieving nothing!

Kian Tan is a freelance blogger for PickTheBrain and the founder of Awesome Life Coach.

Don’t Forget To Follow PickTheBrain on Twitter!

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  • http://www.discoverleecountyfl.com Marge Newton

    I like how you did this.  Instead of telling people what to do, you turned it around and told them the bad things other people are doing.  

    Based on the items here, organization, in regards to both objects and time,  is on the top of the list of things effective people do. 

    I’m so happy that checking my RSS was on the top of my to-do list on this Sunday morning.

    • http://awesomelifecoach.com Kian | Awesome Life Coach

      Hi Marge. Yes sometimes it’s far more effective to put a twist on the post and to point out mistakes that people are doing right now. When you want to make a change in your life the first step is to admit that you have a problem. Hopefully the way this post is written will achieve that. 

  • http://www.2knowmyself.com Farouk

    Hi Kian
    i really the like the idea of writing about ineffective people for it can teach us how to not be like them :)
    thanks for the post

    • http://awesomelifecoach.com Kian | Awesome Life Coach

      Hi Farouk. Glad you liked the post.

  • http://ikneereplacementsurgery.com/ BSES

    Well written. Post shared to our staff.

  • http://twitter.com/novaTess Elizabeth Andonova

    So ineffective people are people with ADHD? That’s cool, we love hearing about how ineffective we are. 

    • Mad William Flint

      Oh stop yourself. Kian didn’t say that. You did. Every one of these things is a decision you can make, not a disease.

      ADHD doesn’t stop you from working to adopt effective habits, though it may throw some stones on the path.

      - Someone with ADHD who took himself off ritalin a decade ago and hasn’t looked back.

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  • M-kitty

    Great article. However, you used effective when you meant to use
    ineffective.

  • http://thebooksthatchangedmylife.com Marc Van Der Linden

    Great article. It is a great reminder to do the effort to not be ineffective

  • http://thebooksthatchangedmylife.com Marc Van Der Linden

    Great article. It is a great reminder to do the effort to not be ineffective

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Ben-Hughes/672946141 Ben Hughes

    So true! As an additional facet of your first point, I find ineffective people tend not to plan their own use of resources.  They might have “super-productive days” every now and then, but to recuperate they need a ton of almost totally wasted days. Effective people plan to be reasonably productive when they work, but also make sure they have restful hours in the day and days in the week to maintain their energy-levels in the long-run. This also allows them to subconsciously process the work they are doing during a so-called incubation period and come up with more creative solutions.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Ben-Hughes/672946141 Ben Hughes

    So true! As an additional facet of your first point, I find ineffective people tend not to plan their own use of resources.  They might have “super-productive days” every now and then, but to recuperate they need a ton of almost totally wasted days. Effective people plan to be reasonably productive when they work, but also make sure they have restful hours in the day and days in the week to maintain their energy-levels in the long-run. This also allows them to subconsciously process the work they are doing during a so-called incubation period and come up with more creative solutions.

  • Positive thinker

    As an effective leader in a direct selling business WITH ADHD, I appreciate this article as it shows and reminds me what things I need to avoid!  To the lady who says that this article states that those with ADHD are ineffective – I don’t actually see that anywhere in the article.  You must have a view of the world as a “cup half empty”.  Sad. I have learned to live with my ADHD and have used articles like this to go on and thrive in my own direct selling business for over 3 years now.  These 5 attributes are very accurate, and I appreciate the “checklist”!  Keep up the great work. “If you belive you can, or you think you can’t, either way you’ll be right”!

    • http://twitter.com/novaTess Elizabeth Andonova

      That’s quite presumptive of you. 

  • http://www.youturnlifecoaching.net Coach Nea

    I don’t necessarily agree with this. I will say that everything you’ve listed makes some people highly ineffective.  In fact, it may apply to most people.  Most of us simply can’t function at our best without planning, organization, lists and order.  However, many of the world’s greatest visionaries and leaders are those who work well in chaos.  They are the people who can take something that is a complete mess and come up with a solution.  They have the ability to shine where most people fall apart.  Within their tendency toward these characteristics that you describe as ineffective lies their strengths; but they are often told to “fix” themselves and do what works for everyone else.  Unfortunately, this leads many of these people to one failure after another. Instead of trying to become like everyone else, they can become highly effective by understanding their uniqueness and learning how to use it to their advantage.  

    • http://customresearchpaper.net/ research papers

      interesting thoughts

    • ELboy

      i understand your point, however i see chaos as the same as working under pressure weather your a young single mother bringing up child on benefits or a business man fighting to save his business its all the same chaos and pressure that i would say most can deal and work with and the few that cant are the very ones that lack focus and drive and give up easily and tend to fail at most things they attempt

      what im trying to say basically is everyone has a form of chaos in there life and it does not only apply to world greats or visionaries, which for me still makes the above 5 points on effectiveness spot on without trying to split hairs but i respect your opinion

    • Stevie Boy

      For example?

  • http://pristineperception.com Suzanne

    Couldn’t agree more. I would not have considered myself ineffective, now or in the past, but I did fit into a few categories now and again. Even doing these things ‘now and again’ can create havoc in the mind. Writing things down is something I rebelled against for years but you know what? It is in fact an absolute life and time saver!

    • ELboy

      i agree writing things down is like shifting files from a computer eg your brain and shifting it to a hard drive eg paper freeing up space in the brain to be more effective

      however it may not apply to all, take for instance i have a good memory and can remember most things without having to write them down but even when i do choose to list things it still makes me more productive so its really about knowing yourself and your own limit and having an effective plan to continue progression of your task when you reach those limits to keep the ball rolling 

  • Ronaldcholmes24

    i believe when a person coomit them self to discovering and focus on avhiving their real potential in life then nothing can stop them from fulfilling their dreams.its all about determination.

  • http://www.clintcora.com Clint Cora

    I like the tip about keys.  My father always use to misplace keys and when he had to rush out somewhere, of course he could never remember where he put his keys.  He was always so fired up about this.  But of course the easy solution, was to simply install a key rack.  This is what I use and it’s in a very easy and logical location out of sight, inside the closet near my front door. 

    As soon as I come home, house and car keys are placed back on the rack right away without delay.  Whenever I leave the house, I know that whatever keys I need are right there in the rack.

  • http://brescia.bbakeca.com/bakeca-donna-cerca-uomo/brescia-1 Donne Brescia

    Great article…and also very true!

  • http://www.facebook.com/naam.smile Naam Smile

    Very True!

  • Bob

    There is an error in number 4 that detracts from an otherwise good article. You said, “An effective person will just let the tasks grow and grow until everything is out of control and becomes one big explosion…”. You meant to say “ineffective”, right? Fix that and the article will be much better.

    • Guesty

      The prose is basically poor, passim.

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  • Bonny Roman

    I got the the first 2 down! Need to work on the next 3……..

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  • http://sdavismedia.com/ Sean Davis

    I definitely agree with number 3. I have always wondered how a person can go through life with absolutely no order and organization.

    To me, putting things back is not about having OCD. It’s about taking control of your own life. 

    From what I’ve seen, people who have the hardest time creating places for things and putting them back where they go also have  a hard time controlling the various aspects of their lives.

  • Svyatoslav Pashchenko

    Sounds very similar to this self-help article: http://www.fakeproject.com/you_are_not_dead

    However, that was meant to be satire on how to lose creativity and become a cog in the machine. Hope you’re happy planning out the rest of your life without enjoying anything spontaneous or feeling love…

    • http://sdavismedia.com/ Sean Davis

      That’s a hasty generalization. 
      To be the type of person described in this article does not, in any way, shape or form, imply that a person can’t enjoy anything spontaneous or feel love. When things like the aforementioned are done enough, they become second nature.

      You can still enjoy random things in life just like everyone else. But there are things that don’t fall under the category of things that bring joy and love. For things like that, it’s advised that you get some kind of order involved.

      In fact, I would argue that the lack of organization in other areas of life would negatively interfere with the joy and love in other areas. 

  • Will

    Love the post.
    You need to edit this sentence:
    “An effective person will just let the tasks grow and grow until
    everything is out of control and becomes one big explosion of
    disorganized chaos similar to the big bang theory (Am I being dramatic
    much?) – an overload of unanswered e-mails, bills and dishes begin to
    pile up.”

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  • Vidjea Barathy

    Well written. I liked this post. Hits the nail on the head…

  • Effective

    Whoever wrote this post is a mindless zombie, succumbing to the system.

    In every instance that “ineffective” is used, it should be replaced with “effective”.
    Anyone who disagrees with me is, in fact, an “ineffective” person.

  • JoeA

    Very useful post. Concise, to the point, etc. I
    have always been a  very structured person and am very goal oriented (some
    may call me anal). The area that I have a problem with is keeping my focus on
    one set of tasks when I have several others waiting to be done kicking around
    in the back of my mind or in front of my eyes. What are some good techniques or
    approaches that I could take to help improve my focus and minimize distraction?
    - Thx

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  • guest

    It’s literally like you’ve being following me around and
    you’re writing it about me and my life. You’ve described my life to a tee!

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  • Jennifer Koen

    This is not a very helpful post at all. Most people who exhibit these characteristics are desperate to change but feel so overwhelmed that they don’t know where to begin. Posts such as these will simply make people struggling with the chaos feel worse about themselves and so less able to take action and change.