I’ve been traveling weekly, so it’s a gift to spend a week at home catching up on administrative tasks and building upcoming keynote presentations filling my calendar for 2023.
Ironically, I get more done when I’m constantly on the go. Uncommitted time for me is dangerous because my attention span is fragile. I have been known to open my desk drawer and decide that it needs organizing, only to lose track of time and what I need to accomplish.
I’m using this downtime between now and the beginning of the year to laser-focus on my tasks. This is the system I’ve devised to do it, and it works:
1) Set your alarm 1 hour earlier than you have to leave your house to go wherever you need to go (or begin whatever obligations you have).
Do not touch the snooze button. Seriously, don’t. Instead, sit up in bed and gulp a glass of water (your body needs it after dehydration from sleeping, and it wakes you up).
Immediately stand up and walk to the bathroom and brush your teeth, and tend to nature. Do NOT lay in bed no matter how warm and cozy it is. Don’t touch your phone. (I’m being bossy, but you have to trust me).
2) Make your bed. It sounds ridiculous and simplistic but making your bed is a task completed, and it sets you on a trajectory of productivity. I stole this from here.
3) Find a quiet place and commit to 10 minutes of silence.
Call it mindfulness, meditation, or whatever feels good to you. Close your eyes and breathe in and out. Let your thoughts populate as they may. These 10 minutes highlight what is on the top of my mind and allow me to formulate a response to it. Disregard the notion that you can’t have thoughts during stillness. The thoughts that come and go are where your attention is being pulled. Listen to what your OWN voice is telling you.
4) Get a cup of coffee (unless you are a psychopath and don’t like coffee). Grab your breakfast. Or don’t if you aren’t hungry.
5) Write down a handful of things for which you are grateful. These can be obvious things like “waking up.” I like to get more specific. For example, my gratitude journal from today has this scribed:
- Last night, I went to Miami and met a group of women executives, entrepreneurs, and business owners at a mixer event for CHIEF (ironically unrelated to policing). I’m proud that I took the risk to go despite knowing no one, and I’m grateful for the connections I made and that they invited me into their South Florida text chat group. (And a few bought my book!)
- I’m grateful that I got back-to-back FaceTime calls from my kids, who just wanted to check in and say hi.
- Yesterday, I had two zoom calls that resulted in being booked for more keynotes in 2023. I’m grateful that I GET to do this work and that people find me worthy to speak to their teams/attendees.
- Chris made me chocolate chip cookies.
There is science behind this gratitude practice. When you focus on the things for which you are grateful, it rewires your brain from negative to positive. When you begin your day this way, it alters the lens through which you see the world. I promise there will never be a day where you can’t find a few things — no matter how small – for which you are grateful.
6) Move for 30 minutes. Walk, stretch, whatever. Just move your body. A body in motion stays in motion. A body at rest stays that way.
That practice takes about an hour, and it starts your day on an upward trajectory. You’ve already completed tasks, so momentum is churning, your mind is clear, and your mood is positive.
Now go slay whatever task lies before you. Do things that move you closer to what you want to achieve.
You’ve got this.