How to Quiet Your Needy Inner Voice

“Success is focusing the full power of all you are on what you have a burning desire to achieve.”

Wilfred Peterson

I need to e-mail my sister this video of dogs and cats playing. It is so cute, she will love it.

I need to check my favorite sports team website to see who has been traded and all the recent rumors surrounding our star pitcher.

I need to call Bill to set up our golf game for next week.

I need to add to my blog so my readers will be updated on my latest insights into Obama’s campaign.

I need to go online and pick out a gift for Aunt Sarah’s birthday.

I really need to think about where I’m going for lunch and what I’m going to eat.

Do any of the above sound familiar? Of course they do!

I call this “ID Syndrome” – the disease of Internal Distraction. And unless you learn how to defeat this affliction, you won’t get anywhere at work or in life.

We all have personal thoughts like these while we are working. But there’s a big difference between how high achievers deal with them and how people who never do better than the status quo deal with them. You see, high achievers recognize that these thoughts are WANTS – not NEEDS – that should be dealt with outside of the working day.

Here’s a little example of just how problematic internal distractions can become

Let’s say you are working on a research project for your boss. While searching for the latest sales statistics, you come across an interesting quote that you “need” to send to your brother. And when e-mailing him the quote, you feel the “need” to tell him all about your barbecue last weekend. Once you send the e-mail, you get back to the research project. But, suddenly, the task that you’ve scheduled an hour for has turned into an hour and 15 minutes.

When this happens, it leaves you with one of two options for the rest of the tasks you’ve scheduled for the day.

Option A: You could reduce the time you’ve allocated for the next thing on your to-do list. (Which is all too easy to do if that task is not one of your favorites.)

Option B: You could stay an extra 15 minutes at the end of the day to complete your scheduled tasks.

These options might not sound too bad, but neither is desirable. Option A steals time from a task you have committed to and set aside time for. Option B reduces time with your family and friends – time that is important to maintain balance in your life. Plus, allowing 15 minutes to disrupt your day is one thing, but imagine what would happen if you went 15 minutes over on every task.

Internal distractions may seem innocuous. But they can completely derail your schedule and put you off track.

Fortunately, it’s pretty simple to eliminate them and be more productive during every working hour.

What you have to do is regulate your internal distractions by training your subconscious mind to honor your commitments and stay on schedule.

Here’s how:

1. Set aside time in your schedule that DOES NOT intrude upon the time you’ve allocated for specific work and goal-oriented tasks.

Use that time to do such things as searching for a new book to read, catching up on sports scores, or setting up a coffee date with your best friend. Consider using part of your lunch hour or a few minutes in the evening to take care of these personal tasks.

2. Train your subconscious mind that you have set aside specific times for your personal tasks – time that’s separate from work.

This is key! Don’t allow your personal activities to distract you from your other responsibilities.

3. When working on your personal tasks, do not let other work or goal-oriented tasks intrude.

Make sure you spend the time you’ve set aside for personal tasks ONLY on those tasks. In other words, compartmentalize your time. Set aside a specific time for each task and honor the time assigned.

When you’re tackling a personal task that you’ve scheduled, don’t let your mind wander. And when you’re doing a work task or working toward one of your long-term goals, direct your subconscious mind to stay in the moment. Say to yourself, “Stop. I am not dealing with that now. I have scheduled X time to take care of it. Right now, I need to concentrate on the task at hand.”

External distractions – a broken water pipe, a sick child, a construction site setting up outside your office – are often outside of your control. Internal distractions are of your own making and, therefore, within your control. Begin to use the techniques outlined above and you will see the difference.

Staying on schedule can feel restrictive, especially if you’re not used to doing it. But it is the best way to stay productive and complete all the tasks on your to-do list.

You will find that when you use your time more productively, you’ll have more focus, and you’ll limit your level of anxiety.

[Ed. Note: It’s entirely possible to accomplish every goal you set for yourself. But you don’t have to do it alone. With your own “Personal Life Coach,” you can get expert guidance every step of the way. And you can “hire” your own for a full year – for less than most life coaches charge per hour. Learn more here.]

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  • Harold Mc Swain

    Dear Early to Rise,

    Your columns are very interesting and educational. I am sure those two things are your goals. It is for certain we need someone to help educate the public today. Our school system is not doing it. Parents seem to be “missing in action.” Christain ideals are “down and out.” Keep it up. HCM

  • Not only is it PFAO that is severely molesting our health, there is more.

    There is the deceptively named “silver fillings” in our teeth poisoning us in slow motion. Very strangely enough, even a CDC study in 2001, pointed out that one out of ten American women, will give birth to a baby with neurological disorders, because the mercury toxicity in the woman is above (lousy) EPA guidelines.

    Then there is “bisphenol A”(BPA), a toxic component of plastic containers and also used in can coatings. The Canadian government has over 147 independent research studies that demonstrate that BPA in baby bottles causes neurological disorders, later in life. You can bet that even early in life there is suffering from that toxicity.

    It is tearsome to think that that toxicity is coming on top of the forced and repeated toxic vaccinations babies and children are pushed into.

    Then there is toxic “bisphenol A”(BPA), a component of plastic containers and also used in can coatings. The Canadian government has over 147 independent research studies that demonstrate use of plastic baby bottles causes neurological disorders.

    Research from Case Western University and Spain confirmed that BPA in plastic water containers leaches inro the liquid even at room temperature.

    And there is the organophosphate containing products, e.g. pesticides, herbicides used in your backyard, front-yard, house, garden, on the farm and in the allegedely mass spraying against moaquitos.

    These products work by attacking the nervous system of insects. They are neuro toxins and essentailly prevent production of a critical neuro transmitter acetycholine. Research has documented that Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease patients have a remarkable deficiency of acetycholine.

    Acetycholine is absolutely needed for proper nerve function in humans, animals and insects.

    If you want to see what Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s is in fast motion, watch a bug/insect after spraying it with a pesticide. Once again, pesticides work by destroying the bug’s production of acetycholine.

    And then when it come to humans, that is you reading this, we are told those diseases and many others seemingly unexplainable, are due to old age and or family genetics.

    Where is that true staesman, Cicero, to wake us up by the timeless question, Cui Bono?, Who benefits?