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Tip for Working at Home: The One-Cup-Only Life Principle

You know how you start off with one cup of coffee in the morning. But then something happens mid-way, you’re distracted, and the cup of formerly-hot cup of coffee gets left on the table only to be discovered hours later colder than Canada.

The hours that follow, you’ve also made yourself a hot cup of chocolate when a guest whisks you away and the cup joins the formerly-hot cup of coffee on the table.

Image Source: Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

At the end of the day, you might end up with five cups of half-full, empty, stained, or full cups left unceremoniously on the table. What’s this got to with working from home, writing or doing anything official?

What if we all stuck to the one-cup rule for one day? Don’t make another cup of anything until you’re done with what you’ve made before? What if when you feel like drinking something warm, you down the earlier cup-of-something and THEN fix the new cup-of-something-new?

What I am trying to suggest is for us stick to our guns...even when we feel like we're losing ourselves in the shuffle.

Discard Dastardly Distractions

Many of us are easily distracted by surrounding things, and we end up not putting a bow on whatever we’ve started. The ability to see a project to its end or close a chapter of an aspect of our lives are enviable traits belonging to people who are often labeled buttoned-up, straight-laced, focused and disciplined. They don’t leave jam jars opened after using it.

Being distracted impairs our ability to complete tasks (that goes without saying but how easily we forget when we’re in the fray) and I am using the concept of One-Cup-Only because it makes sense. I am also looking at my younger son who holds the record of having the whole inventory of mugs in this house on his table. I have the same problem but to a lesser degree.

I think if we change this simple behavior, it will seep into other parts of our lives too, whether on a personal or professional level.

Habits Of Successful Humans

“This neural fast lane is meant to save the brain energy: When a habit is formed and stored in this region, the parts of the brain involved in deeper decision-making cease to fully participate in the activity"-

In a way, this habit forces people to stave off procrastination. If the urge for a hot cup of cocoa arises at 11.30am and you still have a ¼ cup of morning coffee left on your table, the habit forces you to finish off what’s left in the cup (or toss it away) first before making a fresh cup of cocoa. By then, you’d have figured out if:

(a) you wanted the new cup of cocoa in the first place

(b) you will walk back to the table, grab the dirty cup, wash it and make a new cup-of-something
Say a “do it now” affirmation. This is a self-nagging technique. Repeat the words “do it now” over and over again until you begin a task or project. TomCorley

This makes me think about how people function in a high octane world. There are things to get done, people talking, emails being sent, appointments being made and deadlines to meet. We need to take a page out of successful people's playbooks.

I’ve read how successful people shy away from multitasking because they don't believe a conducive environment has distractions in it. So, they remain steadfast to the rule of picking one thing, and one thing only, to work on at any given time.

It’s easy to hasten the process, though. To perform tasks with half a heart, coming up with sub-par results because we want to get them over with. The trick is to engage in the task you’ve trained your mind on and not let go until you can say for sure you’re at least satisfied with it or you can deal with the result.

Saying “Do it Now” is really powerful for people like my son who likes to put things off because he (and I) sees things in large chunks. If we break things down into tinier pieces, it won’t seem as daunting not intimidating, and far more achievable. Chances of us “doing it now” arises significantly then.

Image source: Samuel Zeller on Unsplash

Triggering the Mentor Mentality

Some people find using apps as reminders useful and if it floats your boat, GO FOR IT! The most important thing is for it to help you move beyond both your own excuses and limiting self-beliefs. If there’s no one to push you to do things, kick your own ass. Better yet, set someone successful as an example.

Even if you don’t think you’re anywhere near as capable as the mentor in question, fake it with such aplomb that you subconsciously live in it. There’s a science behind it although I’ve never thrown my weight behind faking anything.

And it’s really not that difficult if you think about it. A vivid imagination is, however, required.

Use a trigger–a picture, a destination, a goal, a number in your bank account..whatever jolts you into action, use that. 

No Perfection Exists in this World

One of the biggest hurdles in this world is the concept of “perfection”. To me, it’s an illusion because perfection does not exist. While I can’t speak for everything else (balancing the bank account or designing a building DOES require perfection – you'll have to speak with an accountant, investor, a fund manager or an architect about how they deal with that).

As a writer, your own premature internal report and auditing will try to stop you from putting the first word onto paper. Writers don’t start with the perfect piece in their minds. They start off with just a basic idea. They then come up with a skeleton, build the foundation, do their research, write, rewrite, edit, rewrite, rewrite, rewrite, edit, rewrite, proofread, write, rewrite....before it is final.

And even then, there ARE imperfections! It frustrates the hell out of me but I am only human. Even automated apps like Grammarly and Prowritingaid have errors in them and it made me question whether an investment in their apps a wise at all. If an app can't perfect the polish, IS there perfection?

No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” - Eleanor Roosevelt

So, don't allow yourself to do it either.

Start with Using One Cup at a Time

I am a work-at-home mother. You can call me Marsha Multitasking Maung. πŸ˜‚ It isn’t because I think it is the best way to get things done, it’s because I am sometimes left with very few choices.

I’ve learned over the years that a checklist works wonders. Putting things down, either on paper or electronically, helped me zoom in on ONE THING (fine, sometimes two) and focus on getting it done. I clear my head of any other things that come my way, including my kids. I have on a face that my boys call the dangerous face. #lol I don't neglect them but they know when NOT to push my buttons.

When I am punching away at the keyboard with that face on and I hear them arguing in the background or complaining about a trivial problem, something HIGHLY unpleasant will happen when I get off that chair. #badmother 

Look, we're all trying to get things done, right? πŸ˜–

So, if you think this makes sense, you can start with One Cup Only if you don't already. 

Happy Saturday, everyone!

Further reading:

Note: If you find errors in this article, please email me and I will make the changes ASAP. I truly appreciate the look-out. Thank you!


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