As human beings, we have an amazing ability to overestimate what we can do in the next year and totally underestimate what we can do in the next 15 minutes. In these early days of 2013, it’s more important than ever to emphasize just how much of a difference the next 15 minutes can make in your day.
So, for now, forget the long-term and instead of focus only on what is right in front of you. The next year is not guaranteed: this moment right now is all you have.
10 hacks you can do right now that will radically change your day:
Make a list of five immediate actions that need to be done in order for progress to be made on the big project(s) on which you are currently working. They don’t have to be big: target what you know to be absolute “musts” and take massive action on them without hesitation or fear.
De-clutter your workspace. Be ruthless with your organization, and toss out what does not belong or what no longer has a practical use. Embrace a zen-like workspace.
Answer that e-mail you need to get to. You know which one I’m talking about: that e-mail that you know is crying out for a response. Maybe it’s work-related, maybe it’s personal; it doesn’t matter. Respond immediately and clear it from your mind—your focus is needed elsewhere. Oh, and before you hit send, be sure to make sure that the e-mail doesn’t suck.
Write a letter or e-mail of gratitude to your parents. At first, this might sound a little strange, particularly if you don’t have the best relationship with your parents, but write a letter or e-mail simply thanking your parents for having you. Even if you’ve lost them, even if you don’t know them, even if they weren’t great parents, you can still write this letter. None of us would be here if our parents had not given birth to us, and that’s a unique bond that should not be ignored. Here’s the best part: you don’t even have to send it if you don’t want to, and the process will be an empowering, healing experience for you.
Schedule a meeting that will move you forward. I’m not talking about having a meeting for the sake of having a meeting (ugh…those are truly awful). I’m talking about getting together with someone who has information that will be beneficial to you. This doesn’t have to be formal; in fact, it doesn’t even have to be related to your professional life at all. It can be dinner with a friend from whom you want marriage advice, for example. Just get that person on the phone, and then get that meeting on the calendar.
Answer two very important questions that will keep you productive all day long: What’s important now? What’s next?
Do absolutely nothing for 15 minutes straight. Yes, choosing to do nothing is, in fact, doing something. Spend 15 minutes in silence, with no agenda, giving your mind and spirit and chance to refresh and regroup. I promise that when the 15 minutes are up you will be able to return to whatever you’re working on with a new perspective.
Celebrate the fact that you are still breathing at this very moment. A huge thing you have going for you is in the “plus” column right now. Turn on some music and dance, get out of your chair! Be grateful that you’ve made it this far.
Change your setting. Get out of the office and go for a walk outside to breathe in the air. If it’s raining, go outside anyway! Admire the life-giving miracle taking place before your eyes.
Simply start whatever big project you’ve been putting off or thinking about, no matter how big it seems. In high school, I had a teacher who told me that when you start something you are already half-finished. That has worked for me to this day, and it can work for you, too. Get started right now!