Are you in control of your day, or is your day running you?
Who’s running who?
Does your job run you or do you run your job?
Does your day run you or do you control your day?
Does your mind control your thoughts or do you choose what to think about?
Who controls your emotions? You or your mind?
“Excellence is not an act it’s a habit” – Aristotle
Taking charge is a choice.
It’s a choice that most people can’t or won’t make and the result is that their lives eventually get to where they want to go, but they take the long, complicated and painful route.
It doesn’t have to be a big hard-to-make decision to take total control of your life, just a series of small definite choices, small efforts of discipline and a determination to follow a simple routine that all compound together.
There is no purpose in life that can’t be accomplished by being proactive and using our power to think.
Our creative power is unlimited, although we tend to push things away from us by allowing fear, anxiety, and laziness to creep into our thoughts. It’s often a case of two steps forward, one step back.
The only way to from going backwards is to keep going forwards in a series of definite, determined steps that often feel tedious or boring, but are essential to ensure that we keep momentum.
The compound effect of dozens of small, seemingly insignificant actions eventually create a force that becomes effortless and natural as our subconscious mind takes over and the proactive behaviours become habitual.
Success and happiness is rarely manifested through huge implementations, but through a multitude of small disciplines and actions that have all built up some inertia to eventually create a powerful force to be reckoned with.
Three essential components in this process are firstly having the awareness that this mindset works and is essential, secondly having the motivation and self-discipline to figure out what needs to be done, and finally, having the courage and faith to carry out your plan even when you feel it isn’t having an effect.
Does this sound boring? Would you rather be bored or stressed. Routine or Firefighting?
Understanding that consistency is your best friend will also put you back in the driving seat.
Having one idea today, another tomorrow, another the week after will dilute your creative power, leaving you with a trail of half-finished projects and tasks that will eventually result in a mess. No control, no discipline just untidiness.
If a sculptor started out with a piece of marble and changed his mind every day, what would his finished statue look like?
It’s easy to get carried away with what we perceive to be important instead of doing the tasks that are easily set aside.
An email comes in from a client with something they need resolving. How many times do we stop what we are doing and jump straight onto it without a second thought?
It’s been estimated that it takes around 18 minutes to get back to the level of focus we held after being distracted by another subject or task.
It’s easy to see how you can lose many hours of hard work by allowing this unstructured behaviour dominate our time.
“Most of us spend too much time on what is urgent and not enough time on what is important.”
― Stephen R. Covey
Covey’s quadrant above shows how most of the things we do in a typical day can be split into 4 categories.
He illustrates how although some tasks can seem important and urgent, but the most productive and rewarding work is carried out in box II. Important work that is not urgent.
Work that can be carried out without feelings of time pressure.
Making decisions under pressure regularly will lead to us operating in box I for most of our time.
By putting structure in place, you will avoid more crises and pressing problems. Deadline driven projects will be completed ahead of time because you set aside regular time slots to complete those projects.
This gives you time to review and improve your projects before the deadline which drives up the quality of whatever it is you have created.
Notifications, emails and phone calls can be the biggest distraction and cause of wasted time we experience.
Do you find yourself operating in boxes III and IV?
It’s essential to isolate yourself from these dangers as much as you can.
Have 2 regular slots a day for checking email, or get someone else to do it for you!
Are you the right person to be answering the phone in your business? Is that a valuable use of your time?
If you have no-one else to do it, there are inexpensive call centres that can take your calls and send you an email outlining what the call was – This puts you firmly back in control of a large part of your day.
Other simple systems can help bring some easy to follow structure to your life.
Using a journal or diary that has all of your daily tasks set out at the same time every day.
Could using a checklist help you, does the thought of ticking off each mundane part of the routine help with feelings of accomplishment? – Not initially, but understanding that our best results are achieved with small incremental steps, and not with acts that we think will give instant gratification.
Do you plan in time for yourself every day? Have you set aside time for your marketing? Your relationships? Your housekeeping, planning or finances?
Or do you tell yourself that you’ll get round to it at the weekend, and before you know it 3 months have passed and now you have a mountain of work to cram in?
Think back to the last bad decision you made. What caused you to make that decision? Was it because you didn’t have time to think about it properly because you had a million things going on?
Hourly slots, and a discipline to stick to a routine will keep you organised, keep the fires out and more importantly put you back in control.
There’s nothing better than the feeling that you are on top of your game, your desk is clear and tidied every evening, you know exactly what you are going to do as soon as you start again the following day.
Your results improve because you make decisions that are not hurried or made under pressure without correct thought.
You’re back in charge!