Most of us get trapped throughout the day-we have great plans just the evening before and are determined to get work done, do some work out, eat healthy, be in a good and positive mood and on top of it all-look stunning while doing so. Even if we created a “to-do” list of all the things we want to get done this day, many times we get lazy throughout the day and it gets worse the later it gets and the discouraging thought: “now it’s too late anyway”…jumps right into our minds. Needless to say: this is exactly the thought that promotes procrastination and leaves us unsatisfied.
Fortunately, it’s very easy to end this vicious circle. I used to procrastinate a lot and still do from time to time because I’m human, but it happens very very seldom and when it does, I know exactly how to dig me out of this hole again and get myself back on the track of “getting shit done”!
Here is a daily roadmap which I developed over a couple of months. It consists of small changes-no big efforts required. But it’s those small changes that help me to be satisfied with my daily achievements and the way I spend my day in general.
1. Start right
One of the things I’ve learned while searching for an efficient way to get more out of my day is that the start in the day is crucial! When I start the day in a bad mood, allow myself to get annoyed over small things like an e-mail or a stain on a shirt I wanted to wear that day, it’s very likely that I will continue the day in that unrelaxed and self-sabotaging way. Therefore I make sure to start every day with a good mood. Yoga and meditation for 10 minutes is something that helps me a lot to set myself in a good and postive mindset. Sometimes I would run in the morning instead of doing that in the evening if I feel like it. I avoid reading news, especially in the morning since this is #1 source for bad tidings and unnecessary stories which are not related to you but can load your brain with negativity and even fear. In the end it doesn’t really matter what you do, but make sure that the first thing you do in the morning is something that sets you in a good and positive mood, whether its a healthy and slowly enjoyed breakfast on a sunny spot, a long relaxing shower, listening to music or writing a journal.
2. Be Aware
Life can be stressful. While heading from one deadline to the next and thinking of all the things that have to be done by the end of the week, we tend to forget the precious moments in between. Although it’s important to have these things in mind and think of the future, fact is- we LIVE in the present and therefore should enjoy the little moments, too. I caught myself many times in beautiful moments without really enjoying them when I started to be aware of that fact. I would sit during a short lunch break in a beautiful park, having a delicious snack from a french bakery near the office and holding my face in the sun without really appreciating this moment. Why? Because I would think of the next 4 hours at work and because the precious moment in the sun was “too short” to enjoy it anyway…Today I know exactly that this mind set is the reason for so much discontent. Realizing this, I started to be more aware of the small enjoyable moments in life and actually really enjoying them…even if they last only for one minute. Another habit I developed is smiling at random people more often and offering strangers a helping hand. These small acts of kindness are a huge lift for your own mood..also it gives me a great feeling to know that the strangers I gave a small may pass this smile on to other people and therefore create a better atmosphere wherever they go.
3. See the opportunities
Sometimes we are trapped in an unfortunate, annoying or just plain boring situations like a traffic jam, a boring meeting or a letter from the tax company. Not very enjoyable moments, but instead of getting annoyed and frustrated by them I learned to see the opportunities behind those events. While working as an intern at a Finance Services Company, I had to attend meeting almost daily-very boring and definitely not the field I wanted to work in later. Although time would pass by very slowly and almost kill me, I learned to get the benefits out of it. I would observe my boss and co-workers while they were negotiating with investors and clients. This taught me a lot about negotiating skills and kept me calm and relaxed even during long overtime hours. Now, when I’m stuck in traffic I use the time to call up friends, think of cool ideas to do on weekend or just try to rest my mind.
4. Daily Goal
I discovered for myself that in addition to writing to do lists, It’s very helpful to make notes on how you actually want to achieve that goals. Of course some tasks are so simple you don’t need to write down how you want to accomplish them (clean the kitchen). But some tasks like “start to develop a new skill” may be more complex and require some additional planning. If you describe your task more clearly and also think of a way to accomplish it before you start, chances are good that you are more successful in actually starting and accomplishing them. The more accurate and detailed your roadmap is, the better.
5. Visualize your accomplishments
Writing down your success at the end of the day can be both a good motivation for the next day and a valuable insight into your daily routine. This technique allowed me to track down my potential daily workload, see patterns and make adjustments. Furthermore, I would have a clear picture by the end of the month on what I have achieved and what the next steps would need to be.