3 Questions For A Productive Day

As I’ve contemplated what I want to write about in the new year, it has begun a process of considering what (or who) it is I want to become this year. I’ve lived my life mostly as a reactionary creature, letting circumstances dictate my actions and the direction of my life. But this isn’t what successful people do.

In the last year, I’ve had the pleasure of knowing and having countless conversations with people who are highly successful at what they do, and they all have one thing in common: They utilize 95% of their time for productivity and progress towards a specific and well-defined goal.

This got me thinking about my own life and, when I put myself through the same filter as successful people, It becomes immediately apparent what needs to change.

  • I procrastinate
  • I waste time on things that don’t matter
  • I don’t have goals
  • I don’t have a vision
  • I easily lose the drive to follow my passions
  • I easily spiral out of control into anxiety and depression

The list goes on…

Now, not all of those things can change so easily. It is likely that my anxiety is related to many things in my life, but could simply be because I constantly feel as though I am out of control in my life. But it could also be physiological as well. But the rest of those things made me really want to start taking steps in a different direction. So I decided to reflect each day on a few key questions to help me stay on track. I’ll share them with you so let me know what you think!

 

Who Will I Become?

This is where I started. I decided to take the time to really consider who I want to be. It’s actually much easier than you might think. I asked myself what the ideal version of myself looked like. What qualities would ideal me possess? What character traits? What would I look like?

Once I started with the basics, the natural progression took me to career paths, what geographic location I would call home, what types of people I would spend my time with. etc.

All of these questions all represented 45 year old me.

This is what I came up with:

  • I have longer hair pulled back and a well kept grey/brown beard.
  • I often dress in fitted slacks/khakis and button ups with sweaters and versatile boots.
  • I appreciate nice things, but am just as willing to give anything I have away to someone who needs it.
  • I spend a significant amount of my time helping people.
  • My career has a major teaching aspect to it.
  • My career involves a great deal of creativity and problem solving skills.
  • My career is centered around hard decisions with creative solutions with people/companies.
  • My hobbies include visual creativity such as photography, cinematography, graphic design, and branding.
  • I am a writer (articles, blogs, songs, etc.)
  • I am well organized
  • I communicate well
  • I have seen much of the world and love to travel
  • I read books every day that either ignite my imagination, or give me knowledge that helps me accomplish my goals, or helps me understand myself so as to improve my quality of life.
  • I am intentional in relationships with those I care about.

This list can also keep going.

When you start making this kind of list, it can very quickly bring to light what you should be doing in life. I’m not sure exactly what career I should have, but when I see that list, it’s hard to deny it looks much like a marketing related job of some sort. But time will tell.

What I do know is I was able to start taking steps today towards becoming the person I want to be. I probably won’t end up exactly like the ideal, but anything close would fine with me!

 

What Needs To Go?

The next thing I did was ask myself what (or who) I needed to cut out of my life to better accomplish my goals. This is the most difficult thing I’ve ever had to do. I didn’t want to write this list. But here it is:

  • TV shows
  • Movies
  • Social Media (that is not productive)
  • Dead-end Jobs
  • Dead-end relationships
  • Negative people
  • flakey people (not intentional, don’t follow through, their word is worthless, etc.)
  • Sleeping in.
  • Staying up all night
  • Drinking too much
  • Video Games

Most of these things aren’t bad in small portions. The things related to relationships are extremely important though. I made a hard decision to not let anyone into my “inner circle” who are negative, flakey, generally unmotivated, and discouraging. I want people who are positive, motivated, encouraging, honest, and willing to call me out and hold me accountable in life.

As for the other stuff, this is by far my biggest downfall. I bet it’s yours too. Entertainment. We can so easily adopt the mindset that we deserve it. We deserve to watch that movie. We’ve earned the right to play video games all night. We worked all day so we can sit on the couch and binge-watch Netflix shows all night. I’ve lived that life for too long now. I’m tired of “waiting till the weekend” to get things done, only to get to the weekend and procrastinate doing anything productive in exchange for fun things that come up last minute. Self-control is the real key here. Like I said, none of those things are bad in and of themselves. But without self-control it will quickly become a problem, just as too much of anything will have a negative impact on you. If you need to cut it out completely for a while, do it! But don’t jump to extremes to cut everything with negative impact out of your life just to avoid the fact that you lack self-control in your life. If the real issue is a lack of self-control, cutting out the “bad” things all together probably won’t accomplish what you’re hoping it will.

 

How Should I Prioritize My Life?

Finally I end with this question. This question can be referring to the immediate, or the next three months. Usually both!

If I’m doing it right, today’s priorities should already be organized. Sure plans get canceled, ruined, or changed last minute. But prioritizing helps me to stay focused on the big picture. That way if I need to alter daily plans, I won’t lose focus on the goal.

The way I chose to prioritize my life this week was I quit my day job that wasn’t making me any money to focus on the things in my life that are making me consistent money and that also gives me more free time to pursue my goals. Call it a New Years resolution if you want, but I like to think of it as a revolution of my life over the last 6 months. I’m attempting to make grand efforts at NOT procrastinating. Even small things like “I’ll clean the litter box later tonight”, or “I need to do those dishes but I’ll do them in the morning.”

I still fail at this daily, but admitting you have a problem is usually the first step, right? Now I’m trying to do something about it each day. I want my life a year from now to look vastly different than it does today in terms of organization, self-awareness, and goal setting practices.

 


 

This may not have been the blog post you thought it would be. But this is what came out when I didn’t know what to write. I don’t know what to write about a lot lately. I think it’s because I’m spending more time doing things rather than writing about it…Or at least I’d like to think so. But there’s value in doing both! A lot has changed for me in the last 6 months in pretty much every area of my life. I’ll be writing about those things in the weeks to come. But for now I thought I’d start my year of blogging on this note. I tried to be as open and honest as I can about the process because I want to be held accountable! But I also hope that the things I’ve learned so far can help others in their own journey.

So let’s take this journey together!

Questions? Comments? Share your thoughts below! I love insight and opinions. If you have something to add, I’d love to hear it!

Until next time!

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