Hello friends and welcome to another willful week of writing.
I’m thinking a lot this morning about why I succeed at nailing my goals on some days and why I crash and burn on others. What components make up a “good” day and what pitfalls appear on the “bad” ones? How can I build a solid foundation on which to stack more and more “good” days, one that won’t shake or crumble when I do have a “bad” one?
Here’s what I’ve come up with so far.
A Plan For Success
The biggest factor, I believe, of a successful day starts with filling out my day planner. I’ve talked at length in the past about my anxiety, and how one way I cope with it is by utilizing a planner. I have noticed that on the days when I take the extra time to completely fill out the day’s page in my planner (i.e.: writing down the necessary tasks and goals, and blocking out my schedule), I tend to actually get more of my to-do list done.
It’s not a perfect system, of course. Any interruptions to my morning routine that precludes me from filling out my planner means a less productive day. Also, any tasks I leave for later in the day, like after I get home from work, are more susceptible to going undone, because I often fail to check in with my planner in the evenings.
The solution then would be to carve out time at night to do a little pre-planning for the following day and to make sure that I haven’t forgotten any necessary tasks before I go to bed. Sounds easy enough, right?
Seek Out Inspiration
Another thing I have found to seriously contribute to the way I attack my day is when I make it a point to seek out other people’s success. Podcasts or Youtube channels that feature writers or content creators that have faced adversity in achieving their goals, especially consumed on my way to work or otherwise early in the day, always seem to give an extra little boost to my motivation.
Trouble is, for some reason I don’t do it too often. I don’t know why; maybe because it’s easier just to leave the sports talk radio on, or it’s just more entertaining to engage with non-writing stuff. Whatever the case may be, making the little switch to actively seeking out inspiration in others rather than waiting for it to come to me will likely motivate me to stay on top of my own goals.
If they can do it, why can’t I?
Take It to the Bank
The third thing I have found that really helps me out is when I am able to bank as many future tasks as I can. For example, if it’s a slow day and I have time to write tomorrow’s blog post, going ahead and knocking it out will not only help me feel good about the way I used my time, but also give me some peace of mind if something unexpected should arise that may affect my schedule.
This is true for all sorts of things, not just blogging. Writing extra pages today will give me breathing room later on down the deadline. Doing an additional load of laundry because I folded the first one right away. Eating breakfast before I leave the house so I don’t feel like I need to stop on the way to work.
Being proactive is a great way to ensure productivity throughout the day and in the days ahead. Breaking the bad habit of procrastination is the key to this one, something I myself have yet to accomplish. As with everything, it starts small. Just adding one additional task to my to-do list for the day, one thing I otherwise would have put off for tomorrow. That’s a good place to start.
Make Time to Waste Time
Lastly, and possibly the most critical component of a successful day, is allowing myself some time to do nothing. Often times, I come into a week fresh faced and energized after the weekend, but I expend all that energy over the course of a single day, maybe two. By mid-week, I’m sluggish. By Friday, I’m burnt out and crawling into the weekend with a blank planner and empty to-do list.
However, on the days which I have time blocked out specifically to relax – and I mean really relax, not multitask leisure activities and work activities (something I am guilty of almost daily) – I tend to get more done. Not just that day but in the days that follow.
This is a tough thing to reconcile for me. How can I possibly spare an hour before bed to chill with a book or something idle when I could be *gestures to all the above things* The call of instant-gratification is strong. Seeing a huge list of checked off boxes feels incredible, but all too often I achieve that high at the expense of doing absolutely nothing the next day, or for even for the rest of the week.
So, it’ll be a tough habit to get into, but the results are hard to deny. Wish me luck?
Three weeks to make it a habit, three months to make it a lifestyle. I keep repeating this advice to myself because I’m sooooo bad at making it three weeks, let alone three months. Hopefully, it’ll eventually stick.
That’s all from me today. Tomorrow I’ll be back with another fun edition of Trope-Day and, of course, our weekly Drabble Rock! Until then, may your writing be plenty and your struggles be few.
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