It’s no coincidence that when we remove distractions and set aside dedicated time to work on a single project that we make significant progress.
The importance of discipline and FOCUS for accomplishing your goals
You and I both know what it feels like to have a super productive day – one where things are flowing and our focus is spot on.
We choose one single project to work on for a specific amount of time – time that we’ve scheduled on our calendar – and we FOCUS, knowing that “work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion” from Parkinson’s law.
We also both know what it feels like to have a super UNproductive day, and unfortunately, these kind probably come more often than the former.
Why do we settle for unproductive?
We know the formula for a productive day, so why don’t we use it – not just some days, but every day?
It’s because it takes discipline and FOCUS to create a productive day, and in today’s noisy world, that’s hard to come by.
It’s really easy to have an unproductive day and chalk it up as a loss; “no worries, we’ll crush it tomorrow!”
And of course, no one is perfect – we’re ALL going to have those days.
But when you’re working towards accomplishing your goals, these days have to become the exception, NOT the rule. Because every time you chalk up an unproductive day as a minor loss, you’ve just told yourself it’s okay that you’re not making progress towards accomplishing your goals.
It’s not okay with me, and I know it’s not okay with you, either.
So how do we set ourselves up for a productive day EVERY day so it’s not a constant struggle to make progress towards what we say we want to see most in our lives?
One simple step: planning
What if I told you that planning a productive day, everyday, was your key to accomplishing your biggest goals?… and that in order to plan for a productive day, everyday, all you have to do is set aside 15 minutes the night before?
One of the best habits I’ve picked up over the past year is spending the last 15 minutes of my “work day” putting a plan in place for the next day.
Side note: I’ve also tried doing this for the entire week (on Sunday spending 30 minutes to plan for the week ahead), but I’ve found that theming my days works better for me when looking ahead.
With theming, I have a bigger-picture idea of the types of things I’ll be working on each day of the week, but I’m not nailing down specific projects until the night before. This leaves more room to pivot when necessary.
Here’s an example of how I spend the last 15 minutes of my “work day” in order to plan for the next day:
- Write down what I worked on that day;
- Write down what I wanted to accomplish that day, but didn’t;
- Write down what my next “micro-goal” is (even if it’s the same one I wrote down yesterday);
- Write down what tasks I can work on the next day that will help get me closer to my micro-goal;
- Given the tasks I’ve written down, schedule time slots on my calendar for each specific task.
Sounds pretty simple, right?
Simple, but not easy.
Sticking to your habits
Again, making this planning period a daily habit takes discipline, and to actually follow through with the things you’ve written down – your plan – takes FOCUS.
Distractions will pop up throughout the day; “emergencies” and “this has to be done now” will always be knocking at our door. Discipline and FOCUS are what will help you determine whether or not you’re going to get distracted, or you’re going to stay on your productive path.
Are there emergencies in our day? Of course. And we handle them when they truly are emergencies. But I’m willing to bet that you’ve treated non-emergencies as emergencies, and in doing so have thrown your productivity into a tailspin.
Commit to discipline and FOCUS
Knowing how great it feels to have a productive day, commit to discipline and FOCUS.
Let your 15 minutes of planning for the next day be time that you cherish, and that brings you one step closer to accomplishing your goals.
Because that’s exactly what those 15 minutes a day will do: bring you one step closer to accomplishing your goals.
Peter F. Drucker once said,
Unless commitment is made, there are only promises and hopes; but no plans.
Accomplish your goals
Don’t wait until next week – once this or that is complete. Start your 15 minute planning sessions TODAY.
I’ve just broken down the steps and exactly how I use my own 15 minute planning sessions to help me have a productive day most of my days.
So now, you have 2 choices:
1. Rock this plan as your own – start spending 15 minutes each day to write out what you’ll conquer tomorrow.
2. Grab The Freedom Journal, where your planning session is a daily to-do!
With The Freedom Journal, it’s easy – these planning sessions are built in. With daily and nightly accountability, your discipline and FOCUS just got a whole lot easier to commit to!
Lou Holtz said:
Winners embrace hard work. They love the discipline of it, the trade-off they’re making to win. Losers, on the other hand, see it as punishment. And that’s the difference.
Head over to TheFreedomJournal.com to grab your own copy of The Freedom Journal today, because freedom is just on the other side of us accomplishing our biggest goals. You’ve got this!