If you observe what happens in your head every time you get stuck in a certain situation, you might see that when there is a problem and you need to work it out, you think of several solutions, all of them are quite time-consuming and there’s no guarantee that any of them will work.

Let’s say you need to bathe your cat Peggy. Peggy has a highly developed sixth sense thus she’s on the roof now. You have several options: you could get a ladder and get onto the roof, but it’s dangerous and Peggy will probably escape right away, you could try bribing her with milk or with her favorite treats, you could wait until she comes down, you could get very creative, you could rely on luck or you could just get on with your life, go to work or do whatever other thing you wanted to do and postpone the grooming session. But you’ve set a goal and our mind doesn’t necessarily categorize and prioritize goals when emotions like anger, irritation, challenge and a sense of incumbent failure kick in.

Same thing at work, when you need to get something done and you expect that it will take you five minutes and then it takes hours and you’re still not even half way through, that’s very irritating and you might keep working on it out of stubbornness, even if it’s not that important.

We set a goal and our mind is determined to get it done and out attention get stuck on it until it gets done. Unless you take a break and consciously focus and refocus and refocus on your priorities every single time your stubbornness kicks in. Stubbornness is nothing else but your mind’s decision to achieve any goal you set, no matter how important it is and no matter how long it will take. The problem with that is that your emotional state will get more and more negative if you get stuck on things that are not aligned with your major goals. It happens a the time.

To be more efficient, though, you would need to know what are your major goals in the first place. Otherwise, you will get lost in the daily routine, fixated and obsessed with things that might get you nowhere in terms of where you really need to get in order to be happy.

Yes, you might even experience some sort of happiness for a couple of seconds, minutes or even days when you finally accomplish something that was difficult. But it’s an unstable kind of happiness because, as soon as it fades away and you get a look at the bigger picture and consider (consciously or unconsciously) how much closer it got you to a happier, healthier life with all the things that you would really love to have, it will be replaced by frustration.

So we could deduct a simple formula to leverage this mechanism and get where we really want to get in order to make the most out of our lives:

  • Set your goals

    Determine what makes you feel happy? What do you really want? Imagine the future of your dreams for yourself: who are you there? What do you do? What kind of people surround you? What kind of impact do you have on society and on lives of others? What kind of things that you’d like to achieve and that might seem impossible that you usually keep inhibiting?

    The only mistake that you can do is imagining something that is acceptable and not really desired. Because it won’t make you happy and won’t give you the strength to go on when things get tough.

  • Prioritize

    When you notice that you get stuck on something, ask yourself how important it is in terms of getting you closer to the future of your dreams. Does it really worth your time? Will there be negative butterfly effects (repercussions) if you don’t get something done that will not fulfill your dreams (say quitting your job)? Focus on those things that are more important without disrupting the equilibrium that you have now that might make the situation worse instead of improving it. Find other solutions.

  • Constantly analyze your situation and adjust it according to your priorities. For example, if you feel that you’ve got your priorities wrong and you’ve wasted time, do not let the desire to prove that you haven’t wasted time to mislead you by stubbornly moving in the same direction. Just focus on your priorities and your future, concentrate on your present from the perspective of your future, NOT your past.

  • Invest in yourself, expand your horizons, learn, practice, experiment, dedicate time to your own personal growth, it will save you time in the long run and it is a fascinating adventure.

Originally published at www.efficientmindset.com