Tuesday, August 20, 2013

4 "Action Traps" that Diminish Your Productivity



Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow is yet come. We have only today. Let us begin.
~Mother Teresa~



In a year from now, will you be happier if you began today to take action towards creating positive change in an area of your life which you believe better is possible? I'm sure you will. So, why haven't you?

In Find Your Courage, which by the way is now in my top ten of must read books, Margie Warrell writes,"If it were easy to get into, and stay in, purposeful action toward one's goals, everyone would be doing it. It's not easy by a long shot." Warrell acknowledges the challenges that we face when it comes to staying on track to create positive change in our life. She also brings to light the four "action traps" that we can fall into and as a result "fall out of action".

I was intrigued by this section of the book, so after reading about the four "action traps", I assessed the quality of my actions and found that of the four traps I've been guilty of procrastinating more than I care to admit. As a result, I've decided to put myself on a Procrastination Diet for 31 days effective today. I will post weekly the results of my personal challenge on Tuesdays for the next four weeks.  Fortunately for us, Warrell helps us to identify the four action traps that diminish our productivity and provides practical solutions to each of them. They are as follows:


Procrastination - You've heard the saying "putting off for tomorrow what you can do today". In a nutshell that is the definition of procrastination. The habitual procrastinator is always thinking, "someday...maybe tomorrow, or next week, or next year". Warrell points out, "The catch-22 for the habitual procrastinator is that tomorrow never comes and the time is never "quite right". The problem with falling into this trap is that while we gain some comfort from the temporary respite of taking no action, we end up paying a lofty price for living forever in the tomorrow."

Solution: Identify what aspects of your life you are "putting off until tomorrow". Then write down how you will feel in twelve months if you were to take action on these items.

Catastrophizing - When we allow our imaginations to get the best of us and begin to imagine the worst possible outcomes from any new action we might take toward our dreams and goals, according to Warrell "we are catastrophizing." By the way, is a word she made up. Our fears, fed by all of the fear-based messages that permeate our world cause us to retreat and settle for the status-quo. 

Solution: Write down your goal. Identify what you fear might happen if you chose to take action. Write down what would you do if all hell did break lose and the worse you imagined happened. Write down the likelihood that your worst possible scenario will happen by applying the law of averages, on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being extremely likely and 1 being extremely unlikely.

"If it's Meant to Be..." Cop Out - Opportunity does not come to those who are lucky. It comes to those who seek it out, says Warrell. She points out, "some things need a chance "to be", and only by springing into action can you create the opportunity you need to create the reality that you want."

Solution: Sitting home watching television, surfing the web or just hiding out because you are self-conscious hoping that your life will improve is not going to make it happen. You have to get out of your comfort zone to broaden your horizons which I wrote about here.

Fear of "Stuffing Up" - When you make the decision to take action, you will risk making a mistake! Stuffing up is a term coined in Australia for "making mistakes". You can reduce your mistakes by doing your "homework" but at the end of the day, nothing that we strive to achieve in life is guaranteed to be successful. We have to take action, evaluate and make adjustments as needed to our plans and keep moving forward. Mistakes, like success serve us with feedback that enables us to  monitor the effectiveness of our actions. Mistakes are not to be taken so personally that we give up in the face of the first major challenges we have to manifesting our desired aim.

Solution: Embrace any feedback from mistakes as learning opportunities to grow yourself. Your personal growth and development is a process that will occur over time.

It has long since come to my attention that people of accomplishment rarely set back and let things happen to them. They went out and happened to things.
~Leonardo Da Vinci~

All of us can find reasons why we haven't made more of an effort to create what we really want in life. Unless we choose to be diligent toward taking action to manifest what we want, we will never experience it. It is possible for us to live our dreams. It requires that we find the courage and grit to take action over an undetermined period of time.

Assessing your behavior and determining which of the four "action traps" is diminishing your productivity on a daily basis toward your dreams/goals increases your self-awareness and self-knowledge, both of which are crucial to implementing workable solutions to the dilemma.

I would love to hear your thoughts and insights on this post. Share them below. 

Thank you for engaging the GFF community with your insights so that we can grow together.

Thank you for sharing this post with your friends. 

More on my 31- Day Procrastination Diet next week. Until then...

B Fearless

Jackie B