Of all the advice relating to success I have ever heard, this is the most effective - "Be as productive as possible in every moment of your life!" You might think "Are you crazy? I don't want to become a success maniac. I want to have fun. I like to spend time with friends. I like to go shopping, to the theater and I like to watch TV too..."
Now, I wouldn't urge you to abandon all this. I believe that being successful means having *more* time to spend with friends and more money to spend for shopping. And being "productive" doesn't mean working.
Then what does being productive mean?
Well, it depends. What are your goals - and more important: what is your vision. the big scenario of your life? Lying in the sun can be very productive because it replenishes your energy. And spending time with friends or with a good book can be productive too. It fuels you with knowledge, relaxes, and inspires. Quite often the most productive thing you can do is to go to a movie holding hands with your loved one.
However, very often the most productive thing is something your really don't feel like doing. And here the difference between losers and winners in life becomes most apparent. Winners are able to concentrate and push themselves to do what needs to be done regardless of their moods. Losers, on the other hand very seldom even think in the category of what's productive and what's not.
Here is an easy way to concentrate on the productive things in your life. Every evening write down the six most important things to do the next day. Just take a piece of paper and write "Things to do tomorrow" - 1.., 2.., 3.., 4.., 5.., 6...
Don't panic if you feel that you absolutely have to write at least 25 things. If so much has piled up, list all the tasks first on a separate page and then pick only the six most important. (I used to be a terrible procrastinator and my first list of this sort measured three pages legal size!)
Choose the things you know you can accomplish tomorrow without causing yourself pain. But remember, missing your favorite TV program doesn't count as pain - a much greater pain is missing what you're missing in the long run! And don't try to be too ambitious. Don't write nine things, or twelve, or even seven. Only six. The rest will have to wait until the next day. It is called discipline.
Now you need to categorize the tasks. Number them. Start from the most difficult thing to accomplish (that will be the first thing you will do tomorrow) and finish with the easiest. It is unfortunate that our natural tendency is to start with the easiest ("to warm up" we say).
But when we start easy, the hardest thing looms ahead all day and overwhelms us constantly. Our fears and feelings of guilt mount....
It is a completely different story when you start with the most difficult thing to do. After you've finished with the first task, the sense of accomplishment almost carries you by itself toward the others. Even if you don't do every single task scheduled for that day, you will have done something that really counts, something that can build your self-esteem and your sense of self-expectancy.
Keep preparing this list of '6 Most Important Things To Do' every single evening. It is the fastest road to high self-esteem and better time management. Perhaps the first day you will be able to do only three things from your list. That's not bad. You will put the other three on the top with the three new things.
Your life will gradually become easier. You will experience less and less stress because fewer and fewer important things remain undone. You will realize your own abilities more often. And all of the sudden, you will find that you have much more free time than ever before. Time for things your never thought your could find time!
Imagine how much you will accomplish if you keep doing this every day. Six most important things to do every day means 180 most important things to do every month. Multiply that by twelve to see how much you can accomplish in one year!
Wanda Loskot is a professional business coach - are you ready to make more than "just a living" and get paid what you are really worth while doing what you LOVE? - Experience http://loska.com and read "Success Connection" - mailto:[email protected] ----------------------------------------------------------------