Do You Know This Exercise Used by Very Successful People?

Highly effective, successful people day dream. Day dreaming is positively very good for you, whatever they told you at school. I use day dreaming when coaching (but I tend to call it ‘visualising’, same thing!)

Stephen Covey, in his highly successful, much read book, ‘The Habits of Highly Effective People’  said start with the end in mind. So, taking that principle, spend a few minutes now allowing your mind to take you ahead a few weeks or months. What are you hoping to have achieved? Work wise what do you need to have finished? At home are their things that you really need to have done? Just close your eyes for a minute and think about it.

If you feel panic rising tell yourself to stop. Literally say the word ‘Relax’ to yourself.

Allow your shoulders to relax. You may have started clamping your jaw, for example. Try and relax. Be aware of your breathing. If you are getting tense thinking about all you have to do, that’s a powerful message. All we’re doing is an imagination exercise yet it’s possible that just thinking about the things you need to do is having an actual physical effect on you. Imagine how will you feel in a few months if you don’t begin to relax a little now. See yourself in your mind’s eye having completed all your tasks, bask in that glow for a few moments.

Get Ready

Now you have spent a little time thinking ahead let’s get practical. The following is something I find useful to do for all sorts of things, work, projects, holidays, parties. You can refine it to suit you:

1. Take two different coloured packs of post it type notes

2. Choose one colour for things that give you pleasure and that you are happy to do, and then another colour for things that must be done (and don’t fill you with joy).

3. Start writing out your tasks and be specific with what you have to do, and the date it needs to be done by. Take a look at your notes. Do you have a good mix of colours or does one predominate? Are all your notes in the pleasure zone? Lucky you if they are. More likely you have a plethora of jobs that must be done. If you have all jobs that leave you cold try and add in something pleasurable.

4. I mix work and pleasure tasks as I run my own business and my time is mine to arrange (almost). You may prefer to do all your ‘not so wonderful things first’ and then treat yourself to the others. Giving yourself a reward is good.

5. Distinguish between what’s important and what is urgent and what are both. Important might be getting that report out in time to be read before your holiday but you still have three weeks so it’s not yet urgent. Urgent could be getting your request in for what you want to eat at the office party this Friday, but it’s not that important.

6. Now, with all your colourful notes, stick them where you can see them in date order, so that the earliest date is on top. Put them so they slightly overlap but are visible, maybe on a filing cabinet, maybe on the fridge, but where you can see them.

7. As you tackle or schedule each task take the note down. I put the sticky on my diary page for the day and gleefully throw it away when done.

If you do have a list of ‘not thrilling’ jobs ahead try and put in some things that will please you, will give you energy, as these will help you manage your stress levels and enable you to do the tedious, difficult tasks more efficiently. Can you make a less attractive task more so by doing it with a friend or colleague? Can you turn it into an opportunity to showcase your talents to someone who matters? Is it a personal development opportunity for you? And, as ever, if you can’t change the task, then try and change your attitude towards it.

This is a very short term exercise but can work equally well in planning for longer term career goals. Try my free visualisation (or day dream) here.

Photo Credit: Sheryl Sandberg

Posted on May 2nd, 2017 by

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