Optimize Your Mind - (Thing 5 - Thing 8)!!
A successful daily routine helps you achieve laser-like focus from the moment you wake up in the morning to the time you close your eyes and drift off to dreamland at night. Here are some ways to get it.
5. Make yourself accountable: Find a partner or mentor.
I have a mentor and I call him every day. Even if all I do is leave him a message, this one simple task holds me accountable. It also forces me to keep myself (and my mind) moving in a positive direction.
If you don't currently have a mentor, then think about how you could go about getting one. Or at least find someone you trust who can be your accountability partner, someone to hold you to your word. Eric "the Hip-Hop Preacher" Thomas believes that accountability partners are crucial for success,and that his accountability partners changed his life:
"The day you find someone just as passionate about your goal to hold you accountable will be the day you make your first permanent step towards success," he says.
"Making a commitment to your accountability partner about your goal will make the milestone realistically attainable."
Thomas recommends making a list of three people whom you trust and respect. Have a conversation with each of them and discuss exactly what it is that you want to accomplish. After the conversation, decide which of these individuals will serve best as an accountability partner for the specific milestone you are trying to reach.
One quick suggestion: Make sure it's a win-win situation for them as well. In the words of author Ryan Holiday:
"Bring something to the table. Anything. Quid pro quo. Even if it's just energy. Even if it's just thanks. You cannot ask and ask and not expect to give anything in return. The bigger the payoff you can offer, the longer they'll take you under their wing. Figure out what you can offer and actually give it. Here's a freebie: Find articles and books that relate to their field and pass on a recommendation and then they won't have to waste their time searching."
6. Write: Prime yourself for creativity.
Spending time writing every day helps you become a better communicator, improves your ability to recall important information, and enhances your creativity. Write in a diary format and you also have the added benefit of greater self-understanding.
One of the first things I do every morning is write Morning Pages, a practice devised by Julia Cameron that clears my mind and helps to clarify what I want out of life. To do your own Morning Pages, simply sit down and write three pages. They can be about anything you want them to be. Just write each and every day.
I also write down 10 ideas, a concept I learned from James Altucher, author of Choose Yourself. The point of this exercise is to work your brain and get your creative juices flowing. They can be big ideas (how to cure cancer) or small ones (ways get your cat to quit scratching the furniture).
They say that everyone has at least one million-dollar idea in his or her lifetime. You may just find yours on this list!
7. Make a daily to-do list.
One great way to be fully prepared for the day ahead is to make a to-do list, just like Barbara Corcoran from Shark Tank; Jim Koch, founder of Sam Adams; and Jim McCann, founder and CEO of 1-800-FLOWERS.
I plan up to six tasks that I want to complete during the day on mine, and the reason this works is twofold.
First, it helps me plan my day in a way that allows me to get the most out of it, versus just performing random tasks and hoping that they move you forward. Second, creating a to-do list keeps me on task. I know exactly what I want to get done and when, which makes it more likely that I'll do it.
Keep your daily to-do list small, so that it's manageable and not overwhelming. A great "hack" to make sure you keep your lists simple is using a Post-It Note. The dimensions of a Post-It Note are perfect (typically 3 x 3) because the size constraint will force you to only write down the most important things that you have to do each day.
You can't fit more than six items on a Post-It Note (unless you cheat and write really small -- but you won't do this, right?) and these should be your MITs (most important tasks).
Plus, when you're able to cross items off this list, it inspires you to keep going and accomplish even more.
8. Take regular breaks throughout the day.
While all of these tips are meant to help you forge ahead, sometimes you just need to step back and give your mind a break.
Taking regular breaks keeps you from getting bored and losing focus, increasing your brain's function at the same time. It also forces you to reevaluate what you're working on, ensuring that you're going in the right direction.
I've found the Pomodoro Technique to be invaluable at helping me keep my energy levels high and "forcing" me to take regular breaks. This revolutionary time management system is deceptively simple to learn, but life-changing when applied correctly. Here's a quick breakdown of how it works:
By utilizing this technique, I am now able to get 40 hours of work done in just 16.7 hours, all the while keeping my energy levels more stable and eliminating burnout (for the most part).
Speaking of breaks, while you're decompressing and giving your mind a chance to switch gears, why not close your eyes and catch some Z's?
According to the National Sleep Foundation a short nap of 20 to 30 minutes can help to improve your mood, alertness, and even performance. Winston Churchill, John F. Kennedy, Thomas Edison, and Salvador Dali were all regular nappers.
Final Day Tomorrow (Things 9 & 10) - ready for 2018