“The quality of your life is determined by the quality of your questions” – Dr. John Demartini
The questions we ask ourselves determines what we focus on. If you want to produce better results in your life and business, it starts with asking yourself better questions.
High performers and elite entrepreneurs make it a daily habit of asking empowering questions that allow them to be fully present in the moment, do their best work, and focus on what matters most.
In this article, you’ll learn 3 questions to ask yourself daily to become more productive, feel fulfilled, and make a greater impact.
Before we dive in, it’s important to state what may be obvious to some. These questions aren’t a magic pill that will transform your life just by asking them. They must be followed up with consistent, purposeful action.
Each one of them has been a game-changer for me, and I’m confident they will be extremely valuable and helpful for you as well. Let’s dive in…
1. How can I serve today?
Research has shown the key to increasing productivity, work satisfaction and fulfillment is doing meaningful work.Advertising
When we attach what we do to a greater why – by finding meaning in what we do and doing work that matters – we show up consistently and require less external motivation and willpower to perform at our best.
Making it a daily habit of asking yourself the question “How can I serve today?” will help you focus on what matters most.
You’ll develop the mindset of a servant leader and be open to new opportunities to add value to the people around you, and solve bigger and better problems in the marketplace. This not only increases your impact but also your income. This is crucial for entrepreneurs to understand because as Jim Rohn said
“You don’t get paid by the hour, you get paid for the value you bring to the hour”
Another benefit is the fulfilling feeling you get knowing you’re contributing to something greater than yourself. This is one of the biggest motivators of successful entrepreneurs.
Doing meaningful work isn’t about ‘gaming the system’ or seeing how you can make the most money while providing the least amount of value. It’s about viewing the people you serve as real people – who have real dreams, desires, fears and frustrations. And then falling in love with the process of creating value, and doing work that makes a meaningful difference in their lives.
How can you serve today? How can you make an impact on someone’s life today?Advertising
2. What’s the one thing I can do today that will lead to meaningful progress towards my goal?
What’s your one thing? This is the activity that if you got done today, would make the biggest impact on bridging the gap from where you are right now, to where you ultimately want to be.
The most productive and high performing entrepreneurs know what this is before they sit down to do work.
What I personally do is plan out my day – including writing out my 3 tasks and my most important task – the night before.
Doing this allows you to start your day with the clarity of knowing exactly what needs to get done.
It’s not enough to just know what this one thing is, though. You have to design your day and create systems that ensure you get it done while in your most creative and productive state.
For me, this means getting my most important task done first thing in the morning right after doing my morning routine, which includes things like working out, journaling, box breathing, visualization, and reading for 15-30 minutes.Advertising
All these activities help prime my brain to be in the most focused, creative and productive state possible when it’s time to do work.
Figure out what works best for you. Make it a habit of executing on your one thing before anything else. This way you don’t use up your willpower and most productive hours on smaller, less important tasks.
3. What are my 3 wins for the day, and 3 things I can do to make tomorrow even better?
Recently I’ve made it a habit of opening my journal every evening and creating two sections: “Wins” and “Feedback”
Under “wins” I write down my 3 wins for the day, and under “feedback” I write 3 things I can do to make tomorrow even better. This is something I now look forward to doing every evening.
The ability to condition yourself to acknowledge your small wins will boost your confidence, creates momentum and inspires more purposeful action.
Giving yourself feedback at the end of each day is also powerful because it provides you with the one thing we need if we want to make any significant improvements in our lives – awareness.
If you notice for 3 days in a row under “feedback” you write: “spend less time on social media” or “get more sleep so I’m not so tired in the AM”, you’ll start to become aware that this is a recurring issue, and can create a plan of action to change it.Advertising
This isn’t about you beating yourself up. Look at it as coaching yourself, training your “awareness muscle”, and setting yourself up to master your day tomorrow.
It’s your turn…
I’m not sure who originally said this, but a quote that has stuck with me is “Nothing changes if nothing changes.”
You are one powerful question away from transforming your life and business.
I hope this article has inspired and provided you with at least one takeaway you can immediately implement and see results with.
To recap… Focus on serving others, take action on your “one thing”, celebrate your small wins, and create the space to get feedback.
It’s time to take action.
Last Updated on September 16, 2019
How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators
You have a deadline looming. However, instead of doing your work, you are fiddling with miscellaneous things like checking email, social media, watching videos, surfing blogs and forums. You know you should be working, but you just don’t feel like doing anything.
We are all familiar with the procrastination phenomenon. When we procrastinate, we squander away our free time and put off important tasks we should be doing them till it’s too late. And when it is indeed too late, we panic and wish we got started earlier.
The chronic procrastinators I know have spent years of their life looped in this cycle. Delaying, putting off things, slacking, hiding from work, facing work only when it’s unavoidable, then repeating this loop all over again. It’s a bad habit that eats us away and prevents us from achieving greater results in life.
Don’t let procrastination take over your life. Here, I will share my personal steps on how to stop procrastinating. These 11 steps will definitely apply to you too:
1. Break Your Work into Little Steps
Part of the reason why we procrastinate is because subconsciously, we find the work too overwhelming for us. Break it down into little parts, then focus on one part at the time. If you still procrastinate on the task after breaking it down, then break it down even further. Soon, your task will be so simple that you will be thinking “gee, this is so simple that I might as well just do it now!”.
For example, I’m currently writing a new book (on How to achieve anything in life). Book writing at its full scale is an enormous project and can be overwhelming. However, when I break it down into phases such as –
- (1) Research
- (2) Deciding the topic
- (3) Creating the outline
- (4) Drafting the content
- (5) Writing Chapters #1 to #10,
- (6) Revision
- (7) etc.
Suddenly it seems very manageable. What I do then is to focus on the immediate phase and get it done to my best ability, without thinking about the other phases. When it’s done, I move on to the next.
2. Change Your Environment
Different environments have different impact on our productivity. Look at your work desk and your room. Do they make you want to work or do they make you want to snuggle and sleep? If it’s the latter, you should look into changing your workspace.
One thing to note is that an environment that makes us feel inspired before may lose its effect after a period of time. If that’s the case, then it’s time to change things around. Refer to Steps #2 and #3 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity, which talks about revamping your environment and workspace.
3. Create a Detailed Timeline with Specific Deadlines
Having just 1 deadline for your work is like an invitation to procrastinate. That’s because we get the impression that we have time and keep pushing everything back, until it’s too late.
Break down your project (see tip #1), then create an overall timeline with specific deadlines for each small task. This way, you know you have to finish each task by a certain date. Your timelines must be robust, too – i.e. if you don’t finish this by today, it’s going to jeopardize everything else you have planned after that. This way it creates the urgency to act.
My goals are broken down into monthly, weekly, right down to the daily task lists, and the list is a call to action that I must accomplish this by the specified date, else my goals will be put off.
Here’re more tips on setting deadlines: 22 Tips for Effective Deadlines
4. Eliminate Your Procrastination Pit-Stops
If you are procrastinating a little too much, maybe that’s because you make it easy to procrastinate.
Identify your browser bookmarks that take up a lot of your time and shift them into a separate folder that is less accessible. Disable the automatic notification option in your email client. Get rid of the distractions around you.
I know some people will out of the way and delete or deactivate their facebook accounts. I think it’s a little drastic and extreme as addressing procrastination is more about being conscious of our actions than counteracting via self-binding methods, but if you feel that’s what’s needed, go for it.
5. Hang out with People Who Inspire You to Take Action
I’m pretty sure if you spend just 10 minutes talking to Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, you’ll be more inspired to act than if you spent the 10 minutes doing nothing. The people we are with influence our behaviors. Of course spending time with Steve Jobs or Bill Gates every day is probably not a feasible method, but the principle applies — The Hidden Power of Every Single Person Around You
Identify the people, friends or colleagues who trigger you – most likely the go-getters and hard workers – and hang out with them more often. Soon you will inculcate their drive and spirit too.
As a personal development blogger, I “hang out” with inspiring personal development experts by reading their blogs and corresponding with them regularly via email and social media. It’s communication via new media and it works all the same.
6. Get a Buddy
Having a companion makes the whole process much more fun. Ideally, your buddy should be someone who has his/her own set of goals. Both of you will hold each other accountable to your goals and plans. While it’s not necessary for both of you to have the same goals, it’ll be even better if that’s the case, so you can learn from each other.
I have a good friend whom I talk to regularly, and we always ask each other about our goals and progress in achieving those goals. Needless to say, it spurs us to keep taking action.
7. Tell Others About Your Goals
This serves the same function as #6, on a larger scale. Tell all your friends, colleagues, acquaintances and family about your projects. Now whenever you see them, they are bound to ask you about your status on those projects.
For example, sometimes I announce my projects on The Personal Excellence Blog, Twitter and Facebook, and my readers will ask me about them on an ongoing basis. It’s a great way to keep myself accountable to my plans.
8. Seek out Someone Who Has Already Achieved the Outcome
What is it you want to accomplish here, and who are the people who have accomplished this already? Go seek them out and connect with them. Seeing living proof that your goals are very well achievable if you take action is one of the best triggers for action.
9. Re-Clarify Your Goals
If you have been procrastinating for an extended period of time, it might reflect a misalignment between what you want and what you are currently doing. Often times, we outgrow our goals as we discover more about ourselves, but we don’t change our goals to reflect that.
Get away from your work (a short vacation will be good, else just a weekend break or staycation will do too) and take some time to regroup yourself. What exactly do you want to achieve? What should you do to get there? What are the steps to take? Does your current work align with that? If not, what can you do about it?
10. Stop Over-Complicating Things
Are you waiting for a perfect time to do this? That maybe now is not the best time because of X, Y, Z reasons? Ditch that thought because there’s never a perfect time. If you keep waiting for one, you are never going to accomplish anything.
Perfectionism is one of the biggest reasons for procrastination. Read more about why perfectionist tendencies can be a bane than a boon: Why Being A Perfectionist May Not Be So Perfect.
11. Get a Grip and Just Do It
At the end, it boils down to taking action. You can do all the strategizing, planning and hypothesizing, but if you don’t take action, nothing’s going to happen. Occasionally, I get readers and clients who keep complaining about their situations but they still refuse to take action at the end of the day.
I have never heard anyone procrastinate their way to success before and I doubt it’s going to change in the near future. Whatever it is you are procrastinating on, if you want to get it done, you need to get a grip on yourself and do it.
More About Procrastination
- 8 Dreadful Effects of Procrastination That Can Destroy Your Life
- 10 Best Ted Talks About Procrastination That Will Ignite Your Motivation
- Types of Procrastination (And How To Fix Procrastination And Start Doing)
- What Is Procrastination (And the Complete Guide to Stop Procrastinating)
Featured photo credit: Malvestida Magazine via unsplash.com