Entrepreneurs have to wear many hats and our days are filled with endless to-dos. As we often work solo or with small teams, the number of items on that list can seem endless and unrelenting.
One of the greatest “mind enemies” we face is personal judgment around our productivity. For example, if at the end of the day, you focus more on the items you did NOT get done than what you DID get done, and feel bad about it, you have this enemy. I call the habit a “mind enemy” because, like other self-induced disempowering self-talk, it makes us feel bad about our abilities, breaks down our confidence in achieving our goals, and steals us of the empowering attitude we must heavily rely on to climb our mountains. Plus, when we’re in this enemy’s headlock, it’s easy for its BFFs (other enemies like comparison, self criticism, pressure to live up to images/expectations, etc) to creep in and give us another punch or two.
Any mind enemy can put us in a rut and, by the time we snap out of it a few days or weeks later, we’re just frustrated we gave this enemy any energy at all. Unless of course it has permeated so deep into our psychic that we’ve made it a truth — pulling us further away from our personal potential, dreams, and greater destiny.
Well that was depressing… see how the enemy takes us to a dark place?! The great thing is we can practice empowering habits that help us gain more time, master productivity, and therefore keep this enemy at bay. Here are five tricks I have learned and practice as much as possible:
1. Think of Your To-Do List as Your Greatest Gift
We hear all the time that acknowledging gratitude combats stress. Well, since our to-do lists are made up of realistic actions we have defined to obtain our personal and professional desires, isn’t it one the most significant things we should be most grateful for? Isn’t it a privilege to not only have the list, but have the physical and societal means to act on it? After all, many people in other countries or circumstances do not. Let's change our relationship with our to-do's from dread to blessed! It will always be a part of our lives and is our tool to getting what we want.
2. Celebrate What You ARE Getting Done
At the end of each day before bed or on Sundays, jot down all that you did get done. You can Evernote, journal or share it with a friend/partner with whom you can be transparent. Make it a regular practice so you start over-valuing yourself. Acknowledging that long list will have you feeling like a productivity-ninja in no time – keeping your energy and ambitions high.
3. Gain More Time by Relishing in the Present
According to The Art of Attention’s author, Elena Brower, yoga teaches us to live in the present moment. Certain schools of yoga posit that the “present is the only reality, and all else is illusion.” Too often we are focused on what’s ahead or behind us that we miss out on the roses right in front of us. And if we continue to miss out on the now, we miss out on life and never get to enjoy its richness in every moment. For one day, try being extremely present and grateful for whatever it is that you are doing. From the project you are working on, engaging with your family, conversations you have with others, cooking a meal, to walking in your neighborhood. By doing so and enjoying the richness of life that surrounds you, you’ll rid any sense of limited or lost time.
4. Less Is More
It’s too easy for projects and their tasks and sub-tasks to build up. Stay away from these weeds! Instead attack your work with a mentality of “less is more” and “quality over quantity.” It’s a matter of constant stepping back and asking yourself, what do I really want over X period and are my projects aligned with that? What can I subtract? Then you do the same thing with your projects – what’s the most important outcome here and what is the fastest, most effective way to get to the result? And then before approaching a task, how do you simplify it? Over-thinking rarely moves the needle.
5. Whatever Gets Done Is Meant to Be
Just as life is made up of things we can and cannot control, it goes the same way with the day. We must have faith that our destiny is guiding us by the pace and path that is meant to be which is why I constantly repeat the mantra “everything is in perfect order.” So let’s put in the exact effort we do each day, knowing it is what is meant to be and feel proud.