A few weeks ago I started to notice a pattern whilst writing my morning pages. One of many advantages of writing this way is that it allows you to organise your thoughts and spot patterns.
The pattern I noticed was centred around a desire to work in a certain way. Although these pricinples were all things I know and strive to do, I didn’t feel like they were front of consciousness thinking.
Accordingly I reviewed my notes and came up with 10 guidelines for approaching my day which I now read each morning.
- Prioritise Health.
- Eat Frogs first.
- Disconnect to think.
- Connect with people.
- Create more than consume.
- Only do great work.
- Be grateful.
- No excuses.
Let’s take a look at these in turn. You could describe these as guidelines to tackle anything.
1. Prioritise Health
I wrote recently about this. No matter what you are doing make sure you’ve prioritised health above it. By covering off your health needs you will perform better in the other areas.
2. Plan first.
This is something I forget – a lot – hence the reminder for myself. You don’t get in a car without knowing where you are going. You don’t start cooking a meal without knowing what you want to make. If spend just 5 mins planning something you will save yourself hours of going round in circles.
An important part of this worth adding to define what done looks like.
This can often conflict with only doing great work, but you have to decide what done will look like otherwise you will never get things out in the world. I could tweak my client sites forever but there comes a point where you have to ship it or you don’t get paid.
We make things more complex than they need to be. It’s human nature. Simplifying things doesn’t mean making it easier (it is often harder). It’s about boiling things down to their essentials. I constantly ask myself how things could be simpler.
4. Eat Frogs first.
“Eat a live frog first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.” ― Mark Twain
Get your most important (but feared or likely to ) task out of the way first so that you can get on and enjoy the rest of your day knowing that you’ve got the hard bit over with.
5. Disconnect to think.
You can’t think online. You can’t think at a messy desk. Allow your brain to do it’s work and think things through on paper. Actually do this and it makes a massive difference.
6. Connect with people.
Back and forth emails are inefficient. Direct concise phone calls are more effective. Social media is great. Social is better.
7. Create more than consume.
Tipping the scales in the favour of creation rather than consumption is the only way to make progress. I’ve written about this before. I have to take my own medicine on this every hour of every day. Time tracking helps.
8 . Only do great work.
This is a good way of eliminating things that you don’t need to do. If it’s not worth doing well is it worth doing at all?
9. Be Grateful.
No matter what is getting you down you are far more fortunate than most of the world’s population. You need to remember to be grateful. I recommend listing 3-5 things each morning you are grateful for, I use Benny Hsu’s Gratitude 365 app for that.
10. No excuses.
I trying to be concious of not making excuses. If I am making an excuse that something is taking up to much of my time I need to review it. Or a reason why I am not achieveing something, I need to go deeper. Is it an opportunity to overcome this obstacle or a sign that something needs tightening up to overcome this.
I have these guidelines written on a post-it that I read every morning as I begin my day.
Do you have any personal guidelines, or operating systems that helps you to keep moving forward?