by David Bohl
We all know how it feels to lose control of our day. A customer is calling with an urgent problem, or your boss barraged you with another slew of emails, or little Timmy is pitting the cat against the hamster in a cage fight of epic proportions.
Whatever the distractions happen to be, there is little we can do to prevent them from occurring. What we can do is follow a few simple guidelines to help keep us on track. We can prevent life’s little diversions from completely derailing us day after day.
When we accomplish what we set out to do on a given day, we are rewarded with a sense of satisfaction and pride. We have emerged from the jungle, once again, victorious! Here are a few tips to help you claim victory over your own daily jungle.
Write down your key objectives before you start your day.
I know we’ve all heard this one before, but it truly is a great habit to get into. Invest thirty or forty dollars in a good daily planner, and use it. Keep it simple, and only write the two or three key objectives for each day. When you get in the habit of writing down your goals, you will be surprised at how much more likely you are to actually achieve them. Most people do not take the time to assess their priorities at the beginning of the day, and instead tend to get swept away in minor affairs. Sound familiar? Take charge. Know your mission, and you will accomplish it.
Take advantage of the calm before the storm.
Work on your priority items in the morning. This is often a quiet time at the beginning of our day – before the madness begins. This is your time. Use it wisely. This is the time before the rest of the world catches up to you. I often make my biggest “dent” in the day between 8:00 and 9:00 AM. You too will find yourself ahead of the game before most of your colleagues have finished their morning cup of coffee.
No system is perfect, and this one is no exception. We will not be 100% successful in all of our endeavors – nor should we be. Think about a great baseball player – for example, Derek Jeter. He will likely set a world record for the most career hits of all time. This is true despite the fact that he has thus far failed to hit the ball 68.4% of the time. It’s okay if we swing and miss often. The point is to always be improving, and always be trying for the next hit. Derek Jeter is measured by how often he has been successful, not how often he has failed. Is it any different for you?
This isn’t all about work.
There is so much more to life than just work. In fact, since many of us spend up to 70% of our waking hours in the office, it is vitally important that we arrange for some R&R time to satisfy our souls. Make it a priority to go fishing on Saturday morning – even if, like me, you rarely catch anything. Set aside an afternoon to spend with the kids. Plan a date with your significant other. Go have a beer! Write these kinds of activities into your daily planner, and you will find that you are actually doing them. Your couch and TV are going to miss you. Good!
In short, these few things are all very easy to do. You will literally invest 5 minutes a day and you’ll gain hours in return. You will find yourself doing the unimaginable – getting things done! You will have more time for the things that really matter – like family and friends. You will emerge from the jungle victorious!