Little Orphan Annie sang, "The sun will come out tomorrow, bet your bottom dollar that tomorrow- there'll be sun". Oh what a glorious thought that our tomorrows will be better and if we are lucky, that wonderful song may turn out to be true. The reality is that TOMORROW is never promised and if we are not careful, tomorrow can steal our today and our future!
Many business owners, including myself, fall into the trap of putting things off until tomorrow. Our plates are so full that we often borrow tomorrow with our long 'to do' lists of today. Here are a few ways that can help us avoid the tragedy of time mismanagement and counting on a day that may never come...tomorrow.
Know Your Purpose:
If there is a certain reason why you are here AND you know what it is, clearing your schedule of anything not related to that purpose will help you make the most of today for a better tomorrow. If you have not identified your purpose, then spending some time really searching your soul to find out why you are here will eventually help you to find it. When your purpose is clear and you know what you need to do each day to achieve it, you are less likely to waste your days.
Begin Your Day with a Plan of Action (then stick to it):
Each evening or bright and early each morning, take a few moments to plan out your day. What items MUST be done today? It may be helpful to write those items down and cross them off as you complete each one. When you have a plan of action or a list of things to do, it helps you stay focused and it helps you to accomplish all you can during your day. Without a plan, it will be much easier to be distracted!
Tame & Schedule Your Distractions:
Things like email, phone calls and interruptions from staff or coworkers can throw you off track in a heartbeat! List the main distractions you have in your daily life and create a plan for them! It sounds a little funny; taming your distractions but those who have become the most effective have found a way to do just that! For example, if you only open emails at a certain time of day, you are less likely to be taken 'off task' as compared to opening each message as you get that 'YOU'VE GOT MAIL' notification. If possible, schedule time for unanticipated calls and conversations with your team. If your team understands that you can spend time with them in scheduled intervals, they become stronger as they use their own knowledge to handle the issues that may arise. When your friends and family understand that you are available during certain times, they soon begin calling during those times. When you tame and schedule your distractions by asking for what you need, you make mastering your days much easier.
Delegate Items Outside of Your Strength Zone:
We are all great at some things and we all have weaknesses. When we choose to delegate the items that fall outside of our personal strengths, we become much more efficient with our time and we can fully use our day to its fullest. The delegation also helps us to lean on others so they understand their value; what an incredible compliment to have someone ask us to handle the items that we feel they are more capable of handling than we are. It is truly a win/win- when we recognize and employ the talents of those around us.
Live This Day as Your LAST:
Zig Ziglar said that most people get more done on the day before a vacation than almost any other day. Why is that? When we are preparing for our absence, we want to make sure everything is done and we want to be sure not to leave a mess to return home to. Imagine if we took that same approach every day- like we would not be returning tomorrow? We would not be procrastinating or holding things over until tomorrow- we would squeeze as much out of the day as we could. We would appreciate each person around us like never before and find a new appreciation in life.
When you know your purpose, plan your days, limit distractions, honor and use the strengths of those around you and live each day to the fullest, you are assuring yourself of the very BEST tomorrow you can- if you are lucky enough to have one! Here's hoping that the sun rises on all of your tomorrows and that you are able to get the most out of your todays!