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11 Actions That Tax Your Willpower

Sunset PalmPeople know you need willpower to finish a college degree, keep up a diet and fitness plan, or parent children, and more. Do you know the actions that cut your willpower?

The One Thing by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan states it is important to engage one’s hardest and most important tasks when willpower (see below for 11 actions that sap your willpower) is strongest. For example, imagine one has a strength and wish for learning and continuous improvement. For decades they set an alarm and started his or her daily routine at 3, 4, or 5am in the morning. If working on an exciting project they are up at 2am. Learning new things keeps one ready to tackle what comes next in life. Then, when taking on a new accomplishment, the person is ready to focus willpower on what needs to get done.

When I used to own laundromats in Madison, Wisconsin, I would arrive at the laundry at 4am to complete repairs and start the days delivery and drop-off laundry. This way, by the time the doors opened to the self-service customers at 7am, I would have the majority of the wash-dry-fluff-fold items finished. This allowed me to focus on the clients and cleaning through the day. People and cleaning were much more natural for me and required less willpower that hammering out 30 loads of college students laundry or repairing machines.

For some, learning new skills and then putting into practice the new skills gives a rhythm of learning and doing. The One Thing talks of setting up a four-hour block of near daily time to work in the most important task block. In my case, sometimes I need the four-hour priority one thing block of time focused on learning something new. At other times, the four-hour block of priority time will revolve around putting into action the new skill or knowledge. One has to think some people are born not to learn something new, but to put into practice a special skill or practice. Would you think Aaron Rogers needs to learn pass protection blocking? No, Mr. Rogers priority block most certainly revolves around honing his main skill of passing the football and running plays for the Green Bay Packers.

Whether you have super human NFL quarterback skills or are trying to earn enough money to offer for your family of 8, the message is clear. Know those actions that tax your willpower. Define your critical priority tasks. Complete those tasks within the four-hour priority block of time.

11 Actions That Tax Your Willpower

1. Implementing new behaviors.

2. Filtering distractions.

3. Resisting Temptation.

4. Suppressing emotion.

5. Restraining aggression.

6. Taking tests.

7. Trying to impress others.

8. Coping with fear.

9. Doing something you don’t enjoy.

10. Selecting long-term over short-term rewards.

11. Suppressing impulses.


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