Work Smarter and Harder

My last article (Move Like You Have A Purpose) mentioned the natural tendency to feel that planning your day in order to be intentional about accomplishing specific goals would simple increase the daily workload. I’d like to take the opportunity in this article to explain that the opposite is actually likely to occur. So many feel like their day is completely slammed with activity; running here to do that, then going there to do this, take the kids to this & then that. Oh, not to mention the need to cram a career into this busy schedule. A major contributor to this feeling of being constantly overbooked is the lack of intentional planning of the day with the purpose of accomplishing specific goals. The chaotic behavior of responding to whatever happens throughout the day or every whim that comes to mind make for a very unorganized day. Proficiency is never characterized as unorganized. Let me use a very familiar scenario in order persuade you that intentionality makes for a much more productive day.

Imagine the scenario that you are driving to a location that is unfamiliar to you. Prior to departure, you have will make one of two choices. You will jump into the car, start driving, and make directional decisions along the way or you will look up the turn by turn directions online, send the planned route to your smartphone, and head out paying close attention to the navigational voice of your choice.

Maybe a sense of spontaneity overcomes your common sense that is telling you otherwise and you decide to depart for the unfamiliar location without looking up specific directions. You leave out in the general direction of your destination and you find yourself faced with an uncertain decision at every intersection encountered along the way. You enter an intersection with the choice of a left or right turn, so you decide to turn right. Maybe this choice is made based on your political leanings or simply because you’d rather be “right” than “wrong”. Either way, your decision to turn right is based solely upon reaction to the intersection that you’ve encountered. It isn’t long before you come to another intersection presenting the exact same dilemma. This time you decide you’d better turn left. You don’t travel far before you realize you are crossing the same road on which you were originally traveling. You realize you’ve just zigzagged across several unnecessary miles on your way to this unfamiliar destination. Having wasted valuable time on this journey, you decide it’s time to stop and ask for directions (see noted experience with asking for directions described in Move Like You Have A Purpose). If all goes well you finally reach your destination and you immediately realize that it took you much too long to get there. In fact, often times the euphoria of finding this unfamiliar destination is overshadowed by the stress of the chaotic struggle along the way.

Alternatively, for those that carefully plan out the route and ensure they understand the directions, the worst that can happen is a missed turned that is immediately followed by “Make a u-turn if possible” or “Recalculating”. Either way the proper progress along the way is constantly monitored, adjustments are made if necessary, and you arrive at your destination within the allotted time and with little stress (unless of course you had to fight rush hour traffic in Atlanta). Oh wait, most direction applications even have traffic indicators, another great reason to be intentional about your route.

Just like planning a route to an unfamiliar location makes for a more proficient trip, living each day intentionally will end your day with a great sense of accomplishment and satisfaction. It’s never a good feeling to get to the end of a very busy day and flop down on the sofa in exhaustion only to ask yourself, “What did I really accomplish today?” Living intentionally replaces that sense of bewilderment with a laundry list of accomplishments at the end of your day. In Dave Ramsey’s book EntreLeadership, Dave describes the act of daily intentionality very well with a chapter entitled “Flavor Your Day with Steak Sauce”. I highly recommend this book for the person that wants to lead (not just entrepreneurs, but anyone that wants to better lead themselves, their family, or business team).

Now, let’s start this day with proper directions and arrive at our destination on time with a greater sense of satisfaction and accomplishment. The first step; deciding what goals we will accomplish today.

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