Have you ever had a tire quite out of alignment? Perhaps you had to swerve suddenly and hit a curb – that would do it. Regardless of how your crooked tire came to be, it can really affect your ability to keep the car on the road.
The car almost seems to have a mind of its own under these circumstances. You have to grip the wheel hard and forcible hold your car between the two lines on the road. The moment you loosen your grip, your car makes an abrupt pull to take you out of your lane. It’s a tedious drive until you make time to get it fixed.
It’s not unlike trying to be productive. There are four main categories, like your four tires, that can make or break productivity: Your goals and their management, your mindset, your health and your environment. If any one of those “hit a curb” and go awry, then you’ll be struggling and struggling to move forward.
While that might seem like a lot of things to focus on, in actuality the four categories make it easier to break things down and figure out where to make changes. Think of this review as an exercise to bring you into alignment for a smoother drive.
How’s Your Goal Setting?
“This one step – choosing a goal and sticking to it – changes everything.” Scott Reed
One of the hardest questions I’ve ever had to answer came from a stranger visiting a booth I’d set up at a convention.
“So, do you think you are a success,” the lady asked me.
Wow. That is a really hard question and answer to verbalize. It’s almost like a movie where they plop an angel on one shoulder and a devil on the other and they sit and argue about you. The angel says that of course you are a success and the devil begins to recite all the things you meant to do but didn’t or all the things you hope to do but haven’t yet.
Answering that question means defining success for you. Of course your thoughts on success may not match the questioner’s. We have all known someone who thought the very definition of success was found in how much money was in your bank account. We’ve also known the person who is so happy, barely has a those two pennies to rub together but changes the lives of the people around them with their work, compassion and generosity – also a success.
Honestly, I think the closest you can come to being a success is if you can say you have achieved what you wanted to achieve.
On the other hand, if you don’t have some goals, how will you ever know where you are going or how you will get there? You certainly will never have the satisfaction of knowing you have arrived – and succeeded!
Today is a good day to review your goals. What are you trying to accomplish? Ideally, you’ll find that you have multiple answers. One goal might be something very long range that you are just making baby steps toward. Another goal might be something you hope to do this year. Yet another goal is a project you are working on right now and hope to finish soon.
A great way to be productive is to write down those goals- big and little – near and far. Post it where you can see it. Use that list to help you decide how to spend your time or prioritize your to-do list. Is doing that item going to help you reach your goal?
Try to define success. Ask yourself to fill in this blank “I will know I am a success when I ______________________.” Fill that in and add also hang it where you will see it often.