11 November 2009, by A. Cedilla
1. Know Your Motivation
Many people let time slip away from them and flounder in indecision because they have no clear idea of what they really want.
If you do the work to find out what it is that truly keeps you committed to giving your best, you can tailor the important aspects of your life to support you in achieving your goals and bringing you one step closer to realizing your biggest dreams.
Having a clear vision helps you to distinguish the toxic, non-supportive elements and dead weight from your life so you can address them.
For example, say you want a better work-life balance; knowing your priorities determines the steps you need to take next.
You learn to procrastinate less and focus more on productive activities that come from concrete actions, thereby freeing up more time to focus on your personal life and your family. See?
Far too often, conflicting and competing activities stretch us beyond our tolerance, and eventually something snaps, leaving us depleted, listless and unable to move on.
Counter this by determining what motivates you, and you can take the right steps to get you going with the most important tasks at hand.
2. Write Out Your Daily Priorities
The simple step of making a To-Do list and prioritizing the items make a significant difference.
If you picture a major goal as being on the top of a level of stairs, think of each day as a step. Each completed task on your To-Do list takes you closer to the top of the flight.
In your daily planning, preferably done the day before, don’t overwhelm yourself by jamming in more activities than you can reasonably finish.
Delegate or offload those that don’t need your personal attention. If there are simply that many things you need to accomplish, spread them out by priority and timeliness over the week — there is literally only so much a person can do in a day. When the next day comes, you get to deal with them when you’re fresh and rested.
3. Take Action
Once the planning, itemizing and prioritizing is over, you have to take productive action.
Focus on completing the required steps for the day, and train yourself against distractions.
If you work in an office, common distractions include phone calls, emails, instant messaging, mail drops or deliveries, and your co-workers.
At home, these can include your family (kids, in particular), pets, sudden household emergencies, chores, telemarketers, and of course, the TV.
If you continue to find yourself besieged by unavoidable distractions, take note which ones happens the most, and at what times. This knowledge can help you head problems off at the pass.
Preparation, whether in the form of laying out a week’s worth of work-clothes, or your exercise gear the night before, or menu-planning (and freezing individual portions of lunch and dinner) works wonders in alleviating stress and the ‘Catch-up’ syndrome.
Set aside a certain time to respond to office emails. For people who drop by, try to see if it’s just a casual discussion, or if it’s an important issue (and be careful: your definition of “important” or “urgent” will differ from theirs.)
A lot of times urgent issue turn out to be not-so-urgent, so investigate and then re-prioritize if you have to.
4. Take joy in your accomplishments, big and small.
It’s not just science that proves small things make up bigger things.
Any grand goals you attain are made up of hundreds of small, seemingly inconsequential decisions you made on the way: clearing your in-box of the important emails instead of playing solitaire, getting up early to exercise instead of sleeping in, making more follow-up client calls to ensure that they have everything they need to succeed…over time, these small things add up.
One truth we don’t usually focus on is that long-term goals are just that: long-term.
As we’re often forgetful (that’s what To-Do list are for, to keep us focused and on-track) the Big Picture tends to disappear from our mental landscape, leaving us adrift, unless we remind ourselves by celebrating the small things — little tasks, well done, that will lead in time to the big things.
Remember, we can get a lot of small successes every day, and when we take note of them, they can inspire us to keep going and instill a powerful sense of self-credibility and accomplishment, both of which are energizing emotions.
5. Mental preparation is a vital key to success.
It’s important to see yourself succeeding in your mind before you succeed in the real world.
Everything that we as a race accomplished started out as the seed of an idea in someone’s head. You plant the seeds of success in your mental garden, you can reap the benefits in the real world.
A word of caution though: GIGO. You put garbage in, you get garbage out. Weed your mental garden of self-defeating fears and outdated self-concepts.
If you’re not prepared for success, you can sabotage yourself unknowingly because somewhere inside, you haven’t prepared for it– you don’t see yourself as capable of handling it.
If you want great results, visualize them. Don’t let your fears loom large in your mental theater. You’re the director of your life, you can change the script. If your fearful imagination comes up with things that can go wrong, that’s good.
Pull those issues out in the open so you can address them logically and rationally. Make contingency and back-up plans to deal with the ones that are most likely to actually happen. This reduces the hyped-up fear and frees you to focus on more vital matters.
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