You make hundreds of pitiful excuses every day without even realizing it.
You pluck things from your external environment and use them to reinforce certain behaviors.
“I can’t go jogging; it’s raining.”
“I would finish writing that book but there’s construction work going on next door”.
“I was struck in traffic for hours, I deserve doughnuts for dinner”.
If you only did it now and again it wouldn’t be a big deal. But you don’t.
These little excuses are the foundation of damaging behavioral patterns and long-lasting habits that disrupt your long-term personal development and growth.
What’s worse, such excuses are ever-present in the workplace. And so, you go through your life working at a severely limited level of your productivity.
But the good news is once you identify what these excuses are and make and effort to control them, you can easily banish them for good.
Look out for these productivity-killing excuses in your life and be sure to add any of your own in the comments below.
“I don’t have a workspace”
Without a proper space dedicated to working, it’s pretty much impossible to have any kind of work/life balance as there are no clear boundaries.
But not having a physical space like an office is no excuse for not having a workspace. If you’re moving around from cafe to library to home to bed, your workspace can be defined by the objects you carry with you, for instance, a sticky notepad, coffee mug (with a USB mug warmer), notebook, stationary holder, and even an aquarium.
“I don’t have a good internet connection”
You know how it is, you get all prepared to blast out some work and suddenly the Internet goes down and your plan and enthusiasm are thrown out the window.
Today, not having a stable internet connection isn’t a valid excuse for not getting stuff done. If your Internet isn’t great or you travel around a lot, buy a mobile dongle or broadband plan which includes one for free. If that’s not an option, seek out a few nice cafes and make a note of what times their wifi is strongest.
“I don’t have the right tools”
Not having the right tools is something many of us just put up with—without even realizing we can change it.
Aching wrists, lagging computers, a stiff neck and back, unresponsive cursors; these are all common problems that can be solved simply by investing in the right tools. For starters, grab yourself an ergonomic mouse and an indestructible external hard drive to make life that little bit easier.
“I can’t control unexpected distractions”
No matter where you are you’ll no doubt run into the same few distraction triggers.
It could be people passing by or shouting, dogs barking, cats prowling, traffic honking or friends messaging. Whatever it is, have a system in place that helps you deal with it. I always sit in a place which little activity in my field of view, use noise-cancelling earphones, and have a special bass-heavy Spotify playlist to drown out any background noise.
“I don’t have the right lighting”
Sub-par lighting can cause dull headaches, eye strain, and a chronic lack of productivity.
Although it depends on the task at hand, it’s usually best to find an area with adequate natural light and less direct light. This means your eyes won’t have to work so hard, and the light from the sun will keep reminding you it’s time to be fully awake and alert. If you’re working at a computer, adjust the brightness settings to suit the environment. But if you’re doing highly detailed tasks, additional direct lighting is the way to go.
“I don’t know where to start”
Having an effective organization system may make you think of an efficient office with every tool you need at hand. And it’s true, but as the majority of us spend our working hours at a computer or laptop, here I’m referring to your machine’s desktop, folders, and workflow.
So many hours are lost thinking where to start, looking for documents, navigating through folders, and searching Google for ‘how to’ guides or troubleshooting. Start by creating a system of properly titled folders and subfolders and mastering the repetitive tasks you complete every day. I recommend you check out this great resource for organizing your data.
We love excuses. A good excuse is a reason to be lazy and decadent and postpone the difficult or unappealing work-related stuff. But when it comes to getting down to it and churning out what needs to be done, eliminate these six excuses from your work life and you’ll soon see your productivity skyrocket into the levels of the ultra-productive.
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Joseph is a freelance writer, and the co-creator of Project Monkey Mind—a new blog for the 21st century solopreneur and young professional who wants to lead a more free and fulfilling life.