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How to Break the Feel-Good Addiction to Enhance Your Career
How does a busy professional like yourself cope with the mounting demands and pressures of career and everyday life and still achieve success?
Whether you are a beginner just starting your career or a tenured executive with many years of success, the key to achieving BIG is breaking the "feel-good" addiction.
The feel-good addiction is an addiction to the small, easy "feel-good" tasks that bombard us every day – sorting the mail, answering email, checking voicemail and straightening, organizing and reorganizing. If you've got a big comprehensive report due tomorrow, even cleaning toilets can feel good. You know exactly what I'm talking about – we all have our favorite feel-good tasks. Mine is cleaning out the refrigerator (I leave the toilets to my husband).
Let yourself get caught in the feel-good addiction, and before you know it, you're majoring in minor things. You accomplish lots of little tasks, but achieve very little of significance for your career.
The feel-good addiction is insidious for those of us who get a charge out of checking things off our to-do lists. Sure you knock out some minor chores, but that check-mark high comes at a price. In the long term this cheap high is guaranteed to frustrate, overwhelm and stress you out. You'll start questioning how you can be so busy all day yet accomplish so little of importance. Soon, your enthusiasm and energy will wane along with your productivity.
Start Your Day Big
The feel-good addiction begins with the way you start your day. Most of us (yes, even morning people) like to ease into our workday. Ask yourself this: Is this feel-good start to my day really the best use of my professional time?
You start with a few small and easy feel-goods. "I'll just check my email." Then you're off and running on all those other messages you "need" to answer, forward or research. After all, you tell yourself, firing off an email only takes two minutes. Since you're not yet feeling the day's time constraints, these tasks steal more attention than they deserve. Two minutes turns into 20 as one item leads to another. Soon the morning's gone faster than those first two cups of coffee. In a flash, the day is over, and you haven't written one page of that comprehensive report.
Even if you set these small to-do's aside, they can buzz around in your head like mosquitoes. For the rest of the day, they nag at you until you divert your attention from something important and swat them. You give in and start opening that stack of bills. This distraction now diffuses your focus on the complex report you're supposed to be concentrating on.
Knowing my inability to look at a stack of anything, trivia included, without diving into it, I start each day with a clean desk free of clutter and a clear mind free of trivia. I put small tasks out of sight and out of mind until the designated time to deal with them. Sometimes you can't avoid a really big mosquito that needs to be swatted NOW, but I've trained myself to forget about the small ones.
Engage Big Things for Big Results
What you engage and focus on is where you will yield results. Doing little things gives you little results, drains your creativity and saps your brain power. When you cease to accomplish really Big Things, you lose desire and motivation. The less important your accomplishments, the less important you feel. You start to believe you're not cut out to achieve the business success you imagined.
Engaging Big Things guarantees worthwhile achievements, and you'll become addicted to the momentum of accomplishment. That momentum is a far more lasting high than the transitory feel-good of checking off trivial tasks.
Once you're focused on accomplishing Big Things for your career, you'll approach even routine matters with laser-sharp focus, quickly delegating or deleting. More important, with fewer distractions to sidetrack you, your creativity and productivity will catch fire and the resulting momentum will keep you pumped. You'll glide through your day full of confidence and satisfaction from achieving significant milestones.
Engage momentum today. There's more to feeling good than feeling the feel-good addiction. You can have time in your life and still have the time of your life. Make that your Big Thing for today.
About the Author: Inc. Top 10 Entrepreneur Vickie L. Milazzo, RN, MSN, JD is the founder and president of Vickie Milazzo Institute, the oldest and largest legal nurse consultant certification company. Pioneered the legal nurse consulting profession in 1982. She is the author of the self help book for women, Inside Every Woman.