creating productive habits

Create Productive Habits Already

All of the time we hear about how top C-Level executives, billion-dollar founders, big time motivational people, and others are up and at it early in the morning. And then so many times we hear about how every other Average Joe gets up early too because “it’s what Zuck does.” However, there is a valuable point to be made about getting up early or even going to bed late, and that is the value of habit. Let’s face it, any John or Jane Smith can get up early and make a pot of coffee, think about what they will do for the day, or dream about what they hope to achieve. But very few actually make a morning, afternoon, and nighttime rituals creating a habit to lead themselves to greater success. It is somewhat complicated to explain, but getting up early or going to bed late is not about having more time available to your disposal but it is about allowing yourself to have more opportunity by making the most of your time.

Because We All Have the Same 24 Hours

Chances are, if you are reading this then you are looking for ways to make more of your time, and if you are looking to make more of your time then you have heard the line stated above. Frankly, if you are trying to make more of your time then you should probably get off of this page and go do something productive because we all do things differently. We all make the use of our time differently than others, but if it’s what Tim Cook does then it must work for me right? Wrong. Because again, habit is the root of time. So what exactly is my thought process here? It’s relatively simple. If you wake up early, then you need to make that bit of time so high level that you are guaranteed to get even more done through the day.

You see, getting up early or going to bed late really is not intended to do tasks. It is intended for you to make a power-list of things that you need to get done and that you want to get done. The things that you need to get done would be tasks that revolve around running your business or helping you move further along in your career. The things that you want to get done would be stuff like self-improvement, going to the gym, reading a book, meeting up with some people, taking care of chores around the house, etc. So many people think that they need to get up early and just jump straight into their email because that is what will make them productive. But it isn’t. When you are forcing work into your life you not only drain yourself but you will also eventually start to lose hope because you are looking for something that is not there. It’s like trying to start a car with no gas. Real simple analogy there, I won’t even bother to explain.

The Easiest Way to Make the Most of Your Day

Now, before I dive too deep into this please understand that this is not the answer that you need. It is an answer that you should consider, just as you should consider everything that you read or hear thoroughly before applying it to your own life. If you take anything and everything that you hear or read and then adapt it to your life then you will never find true comfort, habit, or personal success because you are too busy trying to force yourself to adapt to some other way. This is what works for me, and also works for many others. But again, mentally run this through your mind and see if you feel it. If you don’t, well then it’s not for you.

For me, the easiest way to make the most of my day actually starts at night with a paper notebook and a smooth writing pen. Actually, I currently use a fine point felt tip permanent marker, something about how it writes brings satisfaction to me. Yeah, I am weird like that…more so detailed I suppose. Anyways, I start at night by making a nice little open box with a line and then a closed box all as one. I put the date to one side and I leave a little square box opens to the right. The closed box is for me to note if I have “won” or “lost” the day. This is not a new concept, this is derived from Andy Frisella’s Power List which may or may not derived from someone else’s concept. I then list out the first 5 things that I know that I need to get done because it will equate to making the most of my day. I then list out another 5 things that I want to do because I know they will bring me peace or some type of gain. The notebook I use is actually shown in my featured image here, it goes with me everywhere. They are like $10 on Amazon for a pack of 10, can’t beat them.

I then check off everything that I need to get done as it is done, then do the same for the things that I want to get done. If I miss anything that I need to get done, even if it is just one task, my day is a loss. To some, that may seem aggressive, but I need aggressive because it is how I operate. I am all or nothing, which can be bad when it comes to having a good time. The next part, to me, is pretty neat. I then start to do the things that I want to do and check them off accordingly. If I happen to miss something that I wanted to do I then roll it over to the following day when I make my list that night. If I happen to miss any items that I want to do two days in a row, then I simply forget about it because for me that means I will never get around to it because I clearly do not have either the time or desire or sometimes both, to get around to it. Therefore, I need to not make more time to do it but replace it with something else. Again, this only applies to the things that I would like to do, not the things that I need to do.

All I Do Is Win, Win, Win No Matter What

DJ Khaled said it best “all I do is win, win, win no matter what” and honestly the following lyrics apply as well. With that being said, knowing how to make a list to make the most of your day, you then need to apply it to every single day. Not one day, not every other day, not just Monday through Friday, and sure as hell not just when you feel like you really need to do something the next day. It needs to be applied to every single day. Why? Because of habit. Habit helps you turn needed tasks into a part of life, which then opens up a spot for new tasks to be put into place. Not to mention, if you end up finding yourself not being able to list out 5 things that you want to do then try adding 1 or 2 more tasks that you need to do in replace thereof.

By committing yourself to make a list every day you will find yourself accomplishing needed tasks every day, and when you start to win every day you will become ecstatic to get to the next day to do it again. You may even find yourself going to bed at a normal hour to get a normal amount of good rest. Not only have you started to achieve greatness at this point, but you have started to form a habit that you will naturally start to live by. With that being said, when you do lose, and you will, you may find yourself getting a bit mad at yourself. You may even feel like a failure.

Keep Going Even When You Lose

Have you ever seen an Olympian not finish a race even when they can clearly see they have lost the race? Of course not, that is because they have made a habit to always pursue the finish line to attempt a chance at victory even when they know that victory won’t be theirs this time around. It is a bittersweet thought to process but you have to learn to use that thought, that moment, as a way to increase your desire to do better, to be better, and to achieve more. American writer Neal Shusterman once said “I’d rather be partly great than entirely useless.” and that is exactly how you should think. You still need to recognize and admit your failure, but don’t let the sight or thought of failure stop you.

Does this mean that you should aim for mediocre? Does this mean you should accept second place? Does this mean that you should “at least just show up” and participate? Hell no. Never settle, never accept a loss as okay, and never believe in earning a participation award. You don’t earn anything by just showing up, you should never reward yourself for just participating. You need to do it to win it. If you want it, you have to do the work, and if you do the work you have to aim for greatness and nothing less.

Finding Your Way

As mentioned above, everyone has their own way of going about doing stuff. However, you know you need to find a habit, a way, and a better process to get stuff done. So do it! Nobody has the answer to success. There is no secret answer that will help you become better, more committed, or more into what you do. Only you have control of that, only you have the power to make yourself do what you need to do and you have the control to do what you want to do. So get out and do it!

Photo by Erik Mclean from Pexels