I’ve noticed that when working with folks — from a variety of industries — many of them feel defeated and weary when talking about finishing projects. It’s not uncommon to hear them say:
- I can’t get X done.
- I haven’t been able to get X done.
- I can’t seem to get everything done.
- Why can’t I get everything done?
- Why can’t I keep up with everything?
As they express their concerns, you can literally hear the fatigue, frustration, and feelings of failure in their voices. How sad it is that by the end of a busy, hard-fought workday, these otherwise successful business people are continually left feeling defeated.
But what about the other side of the coin?
Instead of experiencing defeat, why can’t you just celebrate what you did accomplish that day, instead of focusing on what you didn’t?
Chances are that you actually had much more success throughout your day than you realize. You need to understand that it’s important to celebrate your victories, and control your day.
Try this. Grab a notebook — a spiral, composition, or even a three-ring binder with lined paper — and on the first page, write your name and today’s date. Now title it, “My Accomplishments”. For every day from now on, moving forward, use two pages (the type that is face-to-face) to journal your day.
Every time you begin a new day, date a new page, and on the left side of the page, write down everything that you did, all that you accomplished:
- How many emails did you deal with?
- How many new emails and email replies did you send?
- How much time did you spend in each meeting?
- What problems did you solve?
- Who did you work with to help them solve a problem?
- What progress did you make on a project?
Be sure to make note of what you accomplish each day, and celebrate your accomplishments!
It’s also important to ask yourself, “how did I complicate my life today?” I first heard this question asked a few weeks ago by certified financial planner, RC Peck. RC said he asks himself this very same question, every day. In retrospect, I believe it’s a brilliant strategy.
Let’s take that same philosophy and apply it to this process. Place that question on the right side of the page (in your daily journal), and ask yourself:
- How did I complicate my life today?
- Did I allow too many interruptions — in-person, on the phone, by text, or in an email?
- Did I get sidetracked by a ‘shiny object’ or two?
- Did I say ‘yes’ when a simple ‘no’ would have been appropriate?
Be sure to take time and jot down your thoughts and reflect on them.
Now look at the left side of your notebook and ask yourself if the things that you did today worked to un-complicate your life, or are things even more complicated today than they were yesterday. Or did all of your efforts keep you stuck in neutral?
If things are more complicated today, ask yourself what it is that you could have done differently in your day:
- Were all of the emails that you answered worthy of your attention?
- Were all of the meetings that you attended really necessary?
- Were all of the interruptions that you allowed during your day necessary?
Remind yourself to finish each and every day by celebrating what you’ve accomplished. Also, during your day, try to find ways to avoid needless complication.
Now go on, moving forward; CELEBRATE and UN-COMPLICATE!