Results don’t happen randomly. They have specific causes. When you’re not getting the desired results, pay close attention to the causes you’re bringing about.
No-one has more time than you do in the next 24 hours. Plant the seeds now for magnificent accomplishments. Let’s get started right now!
When you expect the day to be productive, you’ll finding yourself acting to satisfy that expectation. Expect the best, and then commit to following those expectations.
Procrastination becomes reinforcing. Every time you delay, it reinforces your negative attitude towards that task. Every time you put off something you dislike, you:
- strengthen the habit of not doing;
- practice avoidance instead of participation;
- avoid acquiring training and skills; and
- indoctrinate yourself with fears.
Active participation in anything tends to give you a positive attitude towards that activity; inactivity helps acquire an unfavourable attitude. For example, you dislike calculus because it’s hanging over your head and worrying you. You haven’t acquired the skills you need, and you can’t do the assignments, so why try? There’s a test coming up and you must do well on it, but you know you can’t. Suddenly everything seems unfair (‘the class is too hard’) and you are angry at the teacher (‘he goes too fast and he doesn’t care about my struggles’). The truth is, the sooner you get involved in your studies, the better you will feel.
Here are some tips to cultivate a positive attitude.
- How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time! Break larger projects into manageable ‘bites’ and create a timeline for yourself to accomplish these smaller tasks.
- Each project expands to the time allotted to it. Set a limit for yourself. ‘I am going to return all my phone calls in one hour.’ ‘I will file papers for 30 minutes.’ ‘I will spend 15 minutes picking up around the house.’ Set a timer. You will be amazed at how much you can get done when you focus your time.
- Check your self-talk. Do you frequently say ‘I gotta’, ‘I should’ or ‘I have to’? Replace this self-talk with ‘I choose to’ and recognise that you have a choice about what you will do. If you don’t choose to do it, don’t do it!
- Eat a live toad first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you for the rest of the day. Tackle that ‘toad’ – the task that’s hanging over your head because you’ve been putting it off – because it will lift an immense load off you and you will feel much more productive.
- Train yourself to trim the F.A.T. When papers come into your office or home, give yourself three choices: File, Act or Toss. Note that ‘I’ll just put it here for now’ is not one of the choices!
- Make a weekly appointment with yourself to plan your coming week. Schedule important activities and tasks so you have a concrete plan for following through with your intentions.
- When planning your time, include both urgent (time-sensitive) and non-urgent (but important) activities in your plan. An example of an urgent activity might be a meeting or a project with an upcoming deadline A non-urgent activity might be exercise or relationship-building: it’s important but not time-sensitive or deadline-driven.
- Make appointments with yourself to get admin work done, such as paying bills or catching up with your reading. Treat this time as you would an appointment with someone else.
- Take 15 minutes at the end of each day to put things away and look at the calendar for tomorrow. Gather what you need so you will be prepared.
- Keep your expectations in line with reality. Are your expectations reasonable or unreasonable? For example, have you bitten off more than you can chew? Prioritise what is most important and urgent first. Beware of the Disappointment Gap.