The choices you make on how to live today will determine how your tomorrow will unfold. John Maxwell once said, “Hoping for a good future without investing in today is like a farmer waiting for a crop without ever planting any seed.” With that in mind, let’s stop hoping and start planning how to live TODAY so that we can reap a harvest of success tomorrow.
1. Start the night before – You should never go to bed without first looking at the following day and developing a plan. You should determine what your “big rocks” are for the next day and deciding when you are going to work on them. Bonus Tip: decide what the first three things are that you will do the next morning…you’ll sleep better.
2. Get out of bed at the same time every day – By doing this you train your body and your mind when it is time to start. Many people struggle with getting started, this is an easy way to set the tone. You must do it EVERY DAY. If you do it for 4-5 days and then “sleep in”, you start all over the next week.
3. Rise early (or at least earlier) and invest wisely – Many people start their day out of control jumping out of bed at the last possible minute and then spend the rest of the day trying to catch up. If you get out of bed at least one hour before anyone else in your home you will have the opportunity to invest that time in a meaningful way. Suggestions: Read for 30 minutes; exercise for 30 minutes. Bonus Tip: use your smartphone to download audio books and you can “read” while you workout.
4. Work your plan for the day – Attack the biggest challenges (most important activities) first while you are fresh and full of energy. Avoid the temptation to rush into non-important tasks just because they make you feel like I you are accomplishing something. You might be checking things off a list, but they mean very little. Focus on the important tasks first.
5. Prioritize – Reject the temptation to rush into low priority tasks. Choose the single most important task of the day and work it until it is complete. Then go to the second most important task, and so on. Never do a “B” rated task before all the “A” rated tasks are completed. Schedule when you will do email and return phone calls. Focus on your pre-determined priorities.
6. Don’t multitask – Most of us are doctorate level performers in multitasking. Unfortunately, research shows that all we end up doing is multiple things poorly. Develop your ability to focus and do one thing before starting another.
7. Rejuvenate – To remain focused you need regular breaks to step away for a few minutes and rejuvenate your mind and body. Take a walk. Get away from your work area. Research shows that allowing yourself a few minutes to re-energize is a great way to keep focus and energy on the tasks you are trying to accomplish.
8. Be Here Now – No matter what the task, come prepared and stay engaged. Whether on a conference call, weblecture or face-to-face meeting, do your homework, come prepared and be provocative. Come with a point of view and help others to move toward success.
9. Minimize distraction – Distractions are the #1 killer of a daily agenda. You need to manage your workspace and your technology. Set up your workspace to reduce the distraction caused by other people and movements. Set your phone, PC, tablet, etc. on “no alert”.
10. Evaluate your day – No one gets it right every day so take every opportunity to evaluate your progress and make adjustments as necessary. Determine what worked and what didn’t and make changes accordingly.
How you invest your time will determine the return you receive. Deciding early that each day is your masterpiece is only part of the solution. You actually have to execute on that decision to make it become an actual masterpiece for others to see.
Photo Credit – www.freedigitalphotos.net – Photo by Stuart Miles