We all began this year with good intentions. Vowing to drink less, exercise more and develop that one skill we’ve been putting off for ages. Well, it’s October and I’m not even close to accomplishing my 2017 New Years’ “wishes.” How could that be?
I woke up most mornings with the best intentions of tackling my to-do list while cramming in as many podcasts, articles and inspirational videos as I could. Why was I not inching forward on the goals that mean most to me?
Priorities. I was so deep in the weeds that I lost sight of my long-term goals. I think that happens a lot in this world. We get so bogged down by fires and fiascos that we fail to take time to work on ourselves.
I started to change how I viewed my time and how I structured my day, and that started with three questions the night before.
It sounds pretty hoaxy, but acknowledging your feelings on a daily basis helps you recognize certain patterns in your life. Did you accomplish a work goal? Did you make progress on your passion project? Did you have a blissful morning reading a book on your favorite topic? Noticing the parts of your day that wdere fun, exciting or fulfilling can help refocus your attention to the rewarding aspects of your life. On the other hand, noticing those small things that make you upset can help you remove or minimize the exposure to those negative factors. Are there tasks on your list that you absolutely dread? A work frenemy that always leaves you resenting the interaction? Embracing these moments can help hone in on what’s not working and how to make a change.
If you’ve read “7 Habits of Highly Effective People,” you’re familiar with Eisenhower’s Urgent/Important Matrix, where you divide all of your tasks based on its level of urgency and importance.
The idea is that you should always prioritize “urgent, but not important,” or Quad 2 tasks before anything else. In reality, Quad 2 tasks are always pushed aside to make room for “urgent and important,” or Quad 1 things, like an important project with a short deadline. When you stop and look at what’s on your task list for the day, you’ll notice that Quad 2 things almost never get done. When that happens, it’s time to rethink your day. There will never be a good time to develop a new skill or write a five-year plan, but that can’t be your excuse. Block out the first 60 to 90 minutes of your day for “Quad 2,” and spend that time working towards one of your goals.
Don’t think this is a shallow ending to an otherwise thoughtful post. Planning my outfit the night before means one less thing to remember in the morning. Most days, I hit the snooze button and immediately start to run through a laundry list of decisions and concerns for the day: what to eat for breakfast, what to pack for lunch, what emails from the previous night need to be answered immediately. I personally feel more relaxed when I have an idea of what to wear the next day, even if I don’t end up wearing that outfit. For you, this question could be whatever decision you need to make tonight to make your morning run more smoothly. For me, that’s running through what in my closet is clean and ready to wear.
So far, this routine has helped me begin my day with intent, focus and determination. I hope it helps you!
Until next time,