We all have obstacles to overcome, it’s one of the ways that we grow. Some of them just filter into our lives from external sources, and it’s our job to deal with them as they come along. That’s just a normal part of this experience we call life.
Today, I want to discuss a different kind of obstacles. I want to talk about the obstacles that we put in our own way, and then avoid dealing with for various reasons.
Avoiding these obstacles has a cost
If we don’t deal with a self imposed obstacles, our life gets congested. Everything begins to take longer as we search for ways to maneuver around the mess. And eventually, we start to get frustrated as we see our progress grinding to a halt.
I just figured out that I am in this very situation!
As embarrassing as it is to admit, I must confess to being so busy that I wasn’t really aware of the extent of my own self-imposed obstacles. So now that I have decided to face it head on, I thought that sharing my experience might help you identify a similar hidden obstacles in your own life.
You see, it’s quite easy for any of us to run avoidance tactics underneath the surface, while continuing (or attempting) to function normally. By the time we become aware of this subtle maneuvering, chances are good that we have been costing ourselves valuable time and energy. This is the situation I currently find myself in.
What are my personal obstacles?
In a nut shell, I am so extremely resistant to organizing my time and work space that it’s at the point of ridiculousness. It almost feels like a reverse psychology thing that I pull on myself. Whenever I decide to make a schedule, I immediately find some distraction so I can avoid sticking to it. I vow to clean up my desk, and what do I do? I shuffle things around just enough so I can keep working.
What is the effect of these obstacles on my productivity?
At first, it was manageable, but now it’s really beginning to cost me. Not only in terms of productivity, but it is also cutting into my free time and my ability to focus. The more scattered we become, the less efficient we are. When it takes longer to accomplish necessary tasks, the time has to come out of other activities.
The closer I looked, the more I felt the negative implications of not facing these obstacles. A careful examination of the situation and asking myself: “What is the cost?” has accomplished several things that avoidance never would.
5 ways to overcome self imposed obstacles
1) Motivation to move away from pain. We are all motivated by a desire to avoid pain and move toward pleasure. Now that I am fully aware of the personal cost of this problem, it has come to represent pain that I want to move away from. I want this pain out of my life ASAP and that is highly motivating.
2) Reversed emotional anchors. Where getting organized once represented an uncomfortable restriction, it now represents pleasure. Having a schedule, and a well organized work space is the antidote for my pain in this area. As I move away from the pain, I am motivated to move toward a pleasurable solution.
3) Increased sense of accomplishment. Having a schedule allows for greater focus and concentration. When I set aside a certain allotment of time for each task, it creates a deadline. Knowing that allows me to really focus on the task at hand without letting myself get sidetracked. Deadlines might feel restrictive, but the resulting sense of accomplishment is well worth it.
4) More free time. I can’t count the number of times I have stayed up late or foregone some other activity with the excuse “I need to work.” Had I been better organized, the work would have been done. So these personal obstacles were affecting more than my work schedule, they were having an impact on my entire life. Truth be told, as much as I enjoy my work, I enjoy spending time with my wife even more.
5) Balance. A happy and satisfying life is all about balance. For busy people who wear many hats and have lots of interests, achieving balance has become an advanced life skill. The more enthusiastic we are about life, the greater the need for this skill. If you want to live life to the full and really enjoy the journey, balance is required.
Like everyone else, I am a student of life. I love to teach, but I also love to learn. Evidently, my next life lesson is appreciating the value of simplifying and becoming more organized. Now that I recognize this, I am excited to make it happen. How about you? What personal obstacles are you dealing with? Are you ready to meet them face to face and get past them? Are you ready to ask yourself: What is this costing me?
Do you have self imposed obstacles to overcome? If so, please share your insights and tips.
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