Yesterday I was feeling grumpy. My energy had been scattered. My head was spinning from one task or activity to another one. I wasn’t feeling a sense of accomplishment. My mood was sour and feeling that my day wasn’t productive was adding to the negative mood. I had a lot to get done and was frustrated with myself.
My significant other asked about my day and I relayed my lack of progress and frustration over it. I had really wanted to spend time writing but I wasn’t able to tackle it. But I did share what I did do that day. The list was long and filled with important items. As I relayed my list, I realized how much I actually did do. My frustration wasn’t about “not getting anything done”. My frustration was that I didn’t do the one thing that I said I wanted to do – write.
When clients come to me frustrated by a lack of progress, or overwhelmed with too much on their list, I often give them a simple exercise similar to what I experienced yesterday. The issue is the same – you can’t see the woods for the trees. You’re in the weeds.
Here’s the simple exercise to alleviating this frustration:
Step 1 – Begin your day or week by listing the 3 things you want to accomplish by the end of the day or week. Think beyond simple tasks and ask yourself, “What will give me a sense of accomplishment or satisfaction if I complete it”. You could also ask yourself, “What’s hanging over my head that I keep putting off” or “When the week is over, I’ll feel good if I do X”.
Step 2 – At the end of each day, take a moment to note in a journal or business notebook, what did I do today? As you start to list all of the items you completed, you start to see that you are more productive than you know. If you see that you can only list one item, consider what that one item signifies. Was it a complex task? Was it a significant item? For example, you may say, “I organized my 2015 tax documents and got them ready for my accountant”. That’s a significant, time consuming task.
Step 3 – At the end of each day, note any feelings or inner dialogue that arises when you review your list. Are you satisfied? Are you pleased with your accomplishments? Or, are you feeling disappointed? If so, ask yourself why? What is the outcome you wanted? How can you approach the next day differently?
We all have days when our head is swirling. When you’re an entrepreneur it can be even harder to figure out what matters each day. Take time to get clear and write it down. What is your version of a daily or weekly success? Slow down and take time to review your accomplishments and productivity this week. It’s a great self-love tool and will only fuel you to go further.