The achievements in our lives are defined by the action we take, the change we initiate, and the actual doing of ‘stuff’. We have to continuously improve ourselves and our surroundings. If we rest too long, someone else will come along and happily take your place.
I am constantly striving to be better than before. Looking for new ways to be a better father and husband, to drive better, or even brush my teeth better. It doesn’t really matter what it is, it must be better than before.
I’ll list a few of the ways in which I achieve being better.
No matter what you might think. Daydreaming is proven to initiate imagination and planning. I day dream often. But I use that time to envisage how a plan of mine might play out, or how I could implement a new piece of information I just read.
It’s also a time-out. A little piece of time to reflect and get away from the constant hustle of a work day (or two boys at home).
Daily 5-item to do list
This is probably my biggest win at achieving tasks while at the office. Using lists to remind yourself of tasks is good, but the important items may get lost when the list begins to get too long.
At the beginning of each day, I review my email (and anything lingering from the day before) and ask myself what are the 5 more important things that need to get done today? These can be small or large, there is no right or wrong thing to put on the list.
Some of the items I have had on my list include; Speak to John Doe about performance review, Write up Statement of Work for that project, or Put in expense claim.
I don’t achieve all 5 items every day, generally completing 3 out of 5 is a good day.
I know some of my weaknesses. I know where I want to improve. But there are times when I don’t know where I need to improve.
I am always asking for honest feedback. Asking from anybody who would care to answer. I ask my wife, my team, my peers, my manager. Any feedback they provide is taken on board and processed.
Only honest feedback counts. One of the things I tell people when asking them is I can’t fix it if I don’t know about it.
If you ask someone for feedback, do not react when they give you bad feedback. This is vital. If you do, you will never get honest feedback from that person again.
Every day is filled with decisions. From when you decide to get up all the way through to when you decide to go to sleep. Every little thing you do is a decision. Every. Thing.
Break that mould that you have made for yourself and make a decision to do something different. Try something new. Take a risk and see how it turns out.
Now, I’m not saying go sky-diving, or quit your job. It’s the small things that matter. Catch the train a bit earlier, go to a colleague instead of sending an email, say ‘no’ to someone making an unreasonable demand.
You simply won’t know what an outcome will be until you take the risk to change it.
And finally, I take the time to reflect on what I have, who I am with, and what I have achieved. I purposely take the time to acknowledge the important things I have in my life, and how lucky I am to have them. I become more resolved in my purpose to be better so that I don’t lose these things I am grateful for.
What about you? What do you do in order to improve and be better than yesterday?