The worst days are when you were busy but feel like you got nothing done. It’s usually because you may have done a lot, but it was off track from what you planned to do.
The human mind is designed to achieve. It rewards you with a good feeling when you complete what you set out to do. This is why goal setting is such an important activity. Assuming you have goals, you will need to stay on track to achieve them.
I want to share six steps to keep your day on track:
- Organize your goals. Review your goals every day. Even if you’re not actively working on something, it is important to keep the things that are important to you fresh in your mind.
- Make a daily action list. Start from a blank page and write down what you want to get done. Do this before reviewing your running list so you can capture what is most important now before remembering what you wanted yesterday—you’ll be surprised how different this can be.
- Be realistic about what you can get done. It’s good to set the bar high, but if it’s too high it can be distracting rather than motivating. Only put what you optimistically believe you can accomplish for the day on your list. Put the rest aside or schedule it for later.
- Do what’s important first. If you try to knock the easy things off so you can focus on the hard things, you’ll keep finding more easy things until the cows come home and never get the hard things done. Don’t fall into this trap. Put the most important things on the top of your list and get them done first.
- Stick to your plan. When other things come up save them for later unless they are absolutely urgent. Write it down so you can clear it from your mind and quickly get back to your list.
- Review your accomplishments. At the end of the day, take a few minutes to review what you got done and put the remaining items back on your running list. This is valuable time to reflect on your goals and to plant the seeds for tomorrow’s actions.
The biggest hurdle in following these simple steps is an accurate plan (your goals and your action list). It is easy to convince yourself to focus when you have a good plan. But in the beginning especially, a lot will come up that you didn’t plan for. Spend extra time thinking about where you go wrong and you’ll get better. Eventually, you will be able to plan your day in your sleep.
How do you keep your day on track?