See what I did with the title there – Pretty smooth huh?
Don’t worry. I’m not gonna start rapping or anything. I discovered a long time ago I have no rhythm.
But what I would like to do is shed a bit of light on an all too common problem with a lot of budding successful individuals.
The Lost Day
Did you ever have one of those days when you looked back on it and couldn’t remember a damn thing you got done that was the least bit significant? Usually it happens when someone asks – “So what’d you do yesterday”, or “So what’ve you been up to?”
If you don’t own your days (I’ll explain how to do this in just a bit) you have a tendency to totally blank out in these situations. Even if you were actually doing something the entire day, odds are were you probably in a mildly hypnotic state and you may not remember right away without thinking really hard.
This happens when we’re encountered with too many routine and reactive situations. You just coast along, get your work done, and continue spinning the hamster wheel of life.
This is a problem. What ends up happening when you continually operate in this kind of state is this.
You’re continually reacting to what happens throughout your day. It could be someone asking you to do something for them, it could be an email coming in, it could be your phone ringing. Whatever the case may be, odds are that whatever is on the other end of that line isn’t going to be a breakthrough groundbreaking project for you to work on, or something that is going to affect your life in any kind of super massive way.
When you simply react to what happens in your day, you’re completely at the mercy of external stimuli. You have no say in the matter, which means the only control you have over your impact is how efficiently you get things done, which will only get you so far in life.
How to Own Your Day
This is a key principle of the productivity training I teach. What I want you to do is learn to be proactive each and every day of your life. Don’t just let your life happen. Don’t just live and react to what is going on around you.
Take your day by the balls and get some things done that really matter. When you’re proactive, you’re much more in control of what you do each day. It doesn’t always mean you have full say over what you work on, but it’s definitely a step in the right direction towards making a larger impact. And when you make a larger impact, people notice, and good things tend happen – all because you learned to be proactive.
Here are a few methods that can help you start being more proactive.
- Use a Daily To Do List – Fill this out with what you will get done each day. Make sure before you go to work on it, that at least one thing on the list is going to make a significant difference
- Block Your Time – Block intervals of time off your calendar that you dedicate to working on specific tasks. Don’t let yourself be interrupted during those times, and don’t let yourself stray to anything else. This will ensure you give yourself time to work on those things you really want to work on.
- Think Like a Leader – A truly proactive person is going to need to think strategically and long-term, like a leader. Just because you’re not in a leadership position doesn’t mean you can’t think like one. Sit down and think about creative and significant ways you or your team can contribute that others may not have thought of. You’ll often get a chance to take the lead with projects by doing this, and this can lead to much larger things for you.
- Minimize Reactions – There are a certain number of things you have to react to at some point, but it doesn’t mean you have to react to them right now. That email can wait. Let that phone call go to voicemail. Don’t let external stimuli rain on your productivity parade.
Your Call to Action – How Will You Change?
Operating with a proactive mindset is one of the basic building blocks of a productive and successful life. Ingrain this habit into your life.
What I’d like you to do now is tell me in the comments, (or on Facebook or Twitter) about how you’re going to change your daily habits to be more proactive. Be specific. This will help commit you to the improvement.
For each worthy comment posted I’ll respond personally with my advice to help you implement your change.