One quick way to focus your mind on what’s important is to give it perspective. We get distracted so easily by the randomness of life that if we’re not anchored firmly in place, we could easily go astray before we know it.
When you leave your house to begin your day, it should be with a sense of direction. Your thoughts and actions should be purposeful and directed towards your intended outcomes. One way to ensure this will be the case is to review your goals daily, preferably as part of your morning routine. It’s a way of clearing out the distractions of the previous day. A way of remembering and reaffirming what’s important in your life. And it’s also a measurement stick. As each new day brings the promise of progress and forward movement, we remain aware of the distance between the here and now and where our distant goal sits. This contrast can be a great motivating factor, especially as we watch ourselves close that gap over time.
Another habit that works great on its own, or paired with a daily review of your goals is making a to-do list. Each morning, while inside of your morning routine and before you start the day, create a list of things you intend to accomplish for the day. For a compounding effect, do this after reviewing your goals. Combining these two habits will add greater clarity to your to-do list as they will be directly influenced by your overall objectives and goals. Creating a to-do list every morning also prevents you from being unproductively busy. Instead, it promotes targeted focus that allows you to get much more done faster. It’s efficiency in action.
When it comes to the details of a to-do list, there are many options on how to structure it. Here are a few options to consider:
Simple task list – It’s like it sounds. Just write down what you plan to get done for the day, and that’s it. It’s simple, easy, short and sweet. This list gives you the flexibility to decide when things should get done but still holds you accountable for completing your tasks by the end of the day.
Time blocking – This is when you specify a range of time in your calendar to complete each task – almost like an appointment. The power of time blocking is to ensure you give yourself time to get things done. It runs your tasks the way you would a business.
Deadlines – unlike time blocking there are no blocks of time designated to work on each task, just a specified time by which the task must be completed. This allows some flexibility but ensures that you don’t let the day get away from you before your tasks are completed.
In addition to time options there a few other options to consider.
Schedule tasks based on level of difficulty – Take care of the most difficult tasks first. This forces you to take care of the heavier lifting when you have the most energy.
Schedule tasks based on priority – What’s the most important task on your plate for the day? Take care of that first, then the next, then the next. This lets you get a lot of important work done quickly. By the end of the day when your body is getting tired, most – if not all – of your tasks for the day are complete.
Set a limit for the number of tasks per day – The idea here is to ensure you don’t burn yourself out and that you only stay focused on the things that matter and are essential to moving your agenda forward.
Whether you choose to go simple or be more detailed, there’s a way to adapt these habits to your lifestyle and personality. Whichever way you choose, you’ll be setting yourself up for productivity and success so long as you stay consistent.