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Growing up, my mother had a saying whenever one of our household appliances became glitchy, “It must be the gremlins.” For the uninitiated, a gremlin is a mythical creature that finds enjoyment from tinkering with or outright destroying technology.

What does this have to do with productivity? For the purposes of our discussion, let’s think of a gremlin as a belief that sabotages your ability to think productively. Sound good?

Being able to spot your productivity gremlins is the first step in kicking their butts out of your mind. There are five particularly mischievous gremlins that really throw a monkey wrench into your ability to be productive. Ready?

1. I don’t have the time is one of the top productivity gremlins. Have you ever been presented with a suggestion for how to do something more efficiently and respond with phrases such as, “I don’t have time to think about that right now.”Sound familiar? When you think in this way you’re actually saying, “I’m more invested in doing what I know (even if it wastes time) than in trying something new.” Remember, time is your most precious resource, any time wasted is time you will never get back.

2. I can’t afford it is another biggie. How many times have you been presented with exactly what you said you wanted and needed, perhaps in terms of a book, a course, a seminar etc and declared . . . I can’t afford it?

Let me add a little disclaimer here, for some there are legitimate financial constraints, for most however, the claim is a dodge. Let me explain.

Money is similar to time in that you usually have enough, the issue lies in how you’re currently spending it. The time and the money is actually there but you don’t take the time to examine how you’re currently spending it.

In our consumer culture we spend a lot of time and money on things that distract us from our life instead of on things that enhance it. I for one, experienced an exponential upswing in my happiness when I chose to read books instead of watching hours of television. Usually, when you look deeply, it has nothing to do with money, because money is something you can make more of if you choose to learn how.

Getting rid of this gremlin is simply a matter of taking the time to look at exactly where your money is going. Many things you could likely live without for a month or two while you reallocate those funds to learning how to be more productive. I invest in apps and other technology to more efficiently run my business and it’s amazing how much time I save as a result.

Interesting huh, spending money on the right things actually gives me more of my time back. Time, your scarcest resource, actually becomes more abundant when you increase your productivity.

3. “What if it doesn’t work” is one of the worst questions we can ask ourselves. One of our greatest examples of the irrelevance of this question is the toddler. When a toddler is learning to walk, s/he stumbles, s/he falls, but s/he keeps getting back up until s/he figures out how to walk.

There is a determination within the toddler that wants to experiment until s/he finds what does work. S/he also understands that s/he will have to stumble her way to the answer. We can learn a lot from this child.

4. Change is hard is one of the biggest lies we tell ourselves. The truth is, our resistance to change is the struggle we actually experience, not the change itself. Change is natural, change is a constant, resistance is self-induced. Are you with me?

Why do you resist change in the first place?

Perhaps you don’t want to experience another disappointment. You make a promise to yourself and don’t follow through. As someone with ADHD, I know what it feels like to procrastinate, or act on an impulse instead of thinking it through. Both of which can lead to disappointment.

I also know what it feels like to realize that my tendency to be scattered and impulsive is not my destiny. Once I find the right strategies to manage them, my strategies create my destiny.

On some level, many simply don’t want to do the work to change their circumstances, even though they realize it won’t get better any other way. It’s toooooo haaaaaaard isn’t a fact, it’s a rationalization used to justify staying stuck.

Ultimately, resistance to change is rooted in the fear of the uncertainty that comes with change, even positive change. Will you like the changes as much as you thought you would? Will it be worth the effort in the end?

5. What if I can’t do it is the gremlin of low self-confidence talking. Not believing enough in yourself to make the effort, or not feeling that you deserve what you need or deserve to be happy is a problem with a solution that goes beyond the scope of this blog post.

The message I hope you take away from this, is that many of your productivity gremlins are your own creation. When you believe you can’t gain access to a solution or utilize it even when you do. The world doesn’t conspire to derail you as much as you choose to believe it does. You and I can choose to live in a world of scarcity or in one of opportunity.

Here’s to your productivity.

If this has been helpful for you, let me know. Make sure to share it as well.

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