No day will ever count until you make it so.
Some days you wake up and you don’t want to get out of bed. Those are the loathsome days.
Some days you wake up and you can’t wait to engage with the world, but your mind is distracted and directionless. Those are the distracted days.
Some days you jump out of bed and you feel so good that your day ends up wasted in rumination and haphazard action. Those are the spoilt days.
Precious few days do you walk this Earth as a god.
Here are 3 techniques I use to make the day count.
I don’t use them every day. But still many more than I used to make count.
No method to get yourself to a godlike productivity level is perfect. I’ve picked these three methods because they address the mental dynamic of the three archetypal wasted days.
1. The loathsome day
I’m having one of the loathsome days as I write this. But I’m writing nonetheless, and already managed to pull off some work.
Nothing has worked as planned and prepared, and I’ve been meeting resistance and wasted time with just about everything I did today.
I had not particular desire to get out of bed either, although I’m usually full of energy and absolutely loathe sleeping.
I had all the energy in the world when I woke up in the morning. But the day felt crooked all the same.
So I had to apply a lesson I’ve learned the hard way. And paid the price for NOT learning it many times over.
Don’t fixate on the immediate results or even on your ability to take your immediate action to a conclusion. When your day isn’t going well, you’re not feeling in your element or you’re simply averse to doing anything.
Realize that fixating on the outcome or how you feel about it is just a symptom of addiction to instant gratification. There’s no point in beating yourself up emotionally. Nothing to gain from that. It’s weak too.
Be stubborn, be angry – or adopt any other mental frame you like, but get to moving. Do things anyway even if all of them fail.
That’s what gods do.
Realize that you emotional response is a function of your expectations and not of your results.
RUN TOWARDS THE RESISTANCE WITH A SMILE AND LAUGH.
This is what grit is about. And this is the trick I use in all the loathsome days. Even if I’m not all to my senses, unable to prioritize, communicate etc.
I simply pick tasks where I can’t do much damage, and I do them anyway.
And I laugh a lot too.
(Note that the solution is about HOW to approach things.)
2. The distracted day
Distraction and scatteredness is where my second technique comes into play.
KEEP A DUMP LIST OF CHORES.
I maintain several lists – on paper – that I will write about. The most important one is the “dump” list, where I put relatively unimportant stuff that I can either skip or delay.
That’s right. The list of the most unimportant items is the most important one.
Because it’s what enables me to avoid losing momentum.
Losing momentum is much more dangerous and costly than failing or delaying any one thing.
Because the tasks on dump list are easy, insignificant or take little time to complete, it’s much less onerous to pick them up and get them done. If they truly are unimportant, the outcome doesn’t matter that much even if it ends up not as originally desired.
I do one, then another one, and another one, until the bad day is over. Or suddenly turns into a massive groundswell of energy and inspiration.
In either case, you get to end up with a sense of accomplishment. You took care of a bunch of stuff that would have been a distraction otherwise.
The function of the dump list itself is to make thinking unnecessary. It’s effective because I already know things on the list are things that have to get done. I don’t need to consider anything or question anything. It’s been DECIDED already, just pick something and go.
(Note that the solution is about WHAT to do and what to leave alone.)
3. The spoilt day
It’s one thing to get up on the wrong side of the bed. It’s much worse to get up on the right side of the bed and waste the day in distractions and wishful thinking anyway.
On a spoilt day, every breath is infused with euphoria. I feel so good I don’t want to do any work at all because all sense of urgency is gone. Things just seem too easy, success too close within reach.
The reality is that this is exactly how we should feel every day. Godlike. But we must have the good discipline not just to get there but to MOVE from that divine position – in the direction of our desired destiny.
Nothing helps you focus on Right Action like getting “hungry”. How do you get hungry if you’re feeling on top of the world already?
This is where your Vision of Yourself comes in. Vision is the ultimate engine.
DO DAILY AFFIRMATIONS.
I’ve been using affirmations on and off for over 20 years, and they work. The best affirmations are taken directly from your Vision and serve as reminders of your grander mission and Power of self-control. They connect daily action with ultimate Vision.
People will often sell you on doing affirmations as a method to get yourself to do things when you feel unsure, depressed or unsettled.
In my experience, affirmations are most valuable when things are going well, not when progress has ground to a halt.
When we strike gold, it’s easy to get carried away.
Affirmations remind me that I have bigger fish to fry. That whatever I’ve done already isn’t what my infinite game is after.
Affirmations have a grounding effect without taking anything away from the experience of success. They actually make me more deliberate about celebrating success, and without losing momentum.
(Note that the solution is about WHY action is necessary.)
If you have questions or comments, send me an email right away. I read every message you send.
Always be closing on your Vision,
Keys to Power:
- On days when you don’t feel good about yourself, be reminded that the obstacle is the way and you are in charge of your feelings. You don’t have to feel like it to get things done and a shift in attitude is always just one moment of Awareness away.
- On days when you feel too distracted to do deep work, use a list of unimportant but necessary tasks to drive a sense of accomplishment and get back on track quickly.
- On days when you’re too self-assured and pleased with yourself, use affirmations to remind yourself of your ultimate mission and Vision, so you get hungry again.