Set yourself up for success

We all experience those phases in our lives where we can’t seem to get our business in order. Sometimes it lasts a week, other times a few months. Life is sort of just… happening, day after day, without any active role on our part. We go to work, we go to school, we do what we have to do, putting all our plans on the back burner.

In the beginning, we kind of enjoy this laid-back version of us. We like watching a little too much TV and eating out/ordering in most of the week. Hey, we are giving ourselves a well-deserved break. As the time goes by however, real life sets in and we start to feel a little empty, maybe even disappointed in ourselves. Once again, we’ve let our plans get lost in oblivion. Some of us might even be bored.

Not to worry. It happens to the best of us. If you are currently looking to take control of your life again and be a little more proactive, here are a few tips to help you set yourself up for success.

#1 Notice the mood you’re in when you wake up

  • Good mood: awesome, move on to #2
  • Bad mood: it is strongly suggested to FIRST, take 2, 5, or 10 minutes to go through your emotions. Why are you feeling like this — Was the day/night before tough? Did you sleep late? Are you hormonal? Personal reasons (relationships, etc.)?
  • SECOND, refocus that energy. Sometimes it’s good to wallow in self-pity. Yet for most of things in life, you shouldn’t use more than 1 hour a day to feel sorry for yourself. You don’t want to start your day off like this, nor do you want to carry it with you throughout the entire day. So remind yourself of what matters: think of things that you are grateful for; things that are out of your control; and finally, what IS in your control. Focus on that. Use it to give you the mental strength to shift your bad mood to a more peaceful one – we can’t always be happy-happy-lemony-squeezy, but as long as there is inner peace, you have the strength to handle anything.

#2 Get up and carry on with your morning routine

  • Make your bed
  • Tidy whatever needs tidying
  • Move on to washing face/splashing water, brushing teeth
  • Gym/workout, breakfast, etc.
  • Meditate

Every person’s morning is different. So just do what you need to do to start your day off on the right foot.

#3 What NOT to do in the morning when you plan on having a productive day

  • Watch Netflix/TV (unless it’s Sunday or the equivalent of a Sunday – not everyone has weekends off from work)
  • Go on social media (Instagram, Facebook, etc.) – unless you woke up that day with extra motivation and willpower – we all have those days sometimes – these tend to suck you in and you easily waste hours of your day that could’ve been used for productivity
  • Nurturing a mindset that is detrimental to your productivity: “I sooooo don’t want to study”, “I don’t feel like working”, “I just want to lay in bed and not do anything”. Although totally understandable, all you’re doing is digging yourself a deeper hole. It’s going to take you that much more mental effort to get out of it – and that is more time that went to waste.

#4 Help yourself succeed

  • If it’s one of those busy productive days, then I strongly suggest you plan your day the night before. Using time frames can come in handy and give you a visual break down of how your day will unfold. Setting up realistic time frames for each task can also help you manage stress by allowing you to visualize the amount of work that can be accomplished in a day.
  • Any material you need for the day, have it ready either in your bag or on your desk for easy access. Folders, documents, papers should already be handy and organized so you do not waste time looking for them.

#5 When NOT to plan

  • As mentioned in my earlier post, even cleaning the house is fun when we are procrastinating. Sometimes we fool ourselves into thinking that the reason why we are tidying our desk and our room is to help us better concentrate, when in reality we are procrastinating. So what do you do? Drop everything, sit your butt down and work! The house is a mess? Not your priority. Your desk is buried under a pile of mess? Push everything aside or transfer to the floor or the bed. Not your priority. You are still in your pjs? Who cares, you are staying home to WORK. So work!
  • Get to these when you take a break or when you are actually done your high-priority task(s) of the day. You’ll have time to get your life together once you’ve completed what needs to be done. Capisce? Good. 

#6 It’s all about perspective

  • Know your priorities: anything can seem more interesting if it prevents us from doing something that feels like work. Although completing several little tasks gives you the impression of being productive, the most important task(s) was left for last: therefore, not so productive. I know that homework usually can’t be seen as “fun”, so remind yourself why you are studying. Not every class in your program will be interesting, but in the long-run, when you are holding your diploma in your hands, it will all be worth it. Same applies for any dream or goal you have. Whether you are a student or not, working or not. Anything that is good is worth the hustle. 
  • Think of your future self: what will put you at ease at the end of the day? Knowing you did everything you planned on doing? Then get to work. 
  • Reading, watching TV/Netflix, and social media are a REWARD. So let them remain just that. Having dreams and goals and working towards them does not mean that it is all work and no play. It’s more about the sequence of events: you work, then you play. 
  • We all deserve a day or two off to reset. But you need to deserve these. So hustle, and by all means, relax. You EARNED it.
  • Remind yourself of why are you are doing what you are doing. When it comes down to it, whatever you choose to do is what you want to do. Sometimes dreams change. That’s okay. Change what you do. As long as you remember the importance of what you are doing. Does it benefit you? Then make it happen. 
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