“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 July 10, 2020
The Power of Ritual: Conquer Procrastination, Time Wasters and Laziness
Life is wasted in the in-between times. The time between when your alarm first rings and when you finally decide to get out of bed. The time between when you sit at your desk and when productive work begins. The time between making a decision and doing something about it.
Slowly, your day is whittled away from all the unused in-between moments. Eventually, time wasters, laziness, and procrastination get the better of you.
The solution to reclaim these lost middle moments is by creating rituals. Every culture on earth uses rituals to transfer information and encode behaviors that are deemed important. Personal rituals can help you build a better pattern for handling everything from how you wake up to how you work.
Unfortunately, when most people see rituals, they see pointless superstitions. Indeed, many rituals are based on a primitive understanding of the world. But by building personal rituals, you get to encode the behaviors you feel are important and cut out the wasted middle moments.
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Program Your Own Algorithms
Another way of viewing rituals is by seeing them as computer algorithms. An algorithm is a set of instructions that is repeated to get a result.
Some algorithms are highly efficient, sorting or searching millions of pieces of data in a few seconds. Other algorithms are bulky and awkward, taking hours to do the same task.
By forming rituals, you are building algorithms for your behavior. Take the delayed and painful pattern of waking up, debating whether to sleep in for another two minutes, hitting the snooze button, repeat until almost late for work. This could be reprogrammed to get out of bed immediately, without debating your decision.
How to Form a Ritual
I’ve set up personal rituals for myself for handling e-mail, waking up each morning, writing articles, and reading books. Far from making me inflexible, these rituals give me a useful default pattern that works best 99% of the time. Whenever my current ritual won’t work, I’m always free to stop using it.
Forming a ritual isn’t too difficult, and the same principles for changing habits apply:
- Write out your sequence of behavior. I suggest starting with a simple ritual of only 3-4 steps maximum. Wait until you’ve established a ritual before you try to add new steps.
- Commit to following your ritual for thirty days. This step will take the idea and condition it into your nervous system as a habit.
- Define a clear trigger. When does your ritual start? A ritual to wake up is easy—the sound of your alarm clock will work. As for what triggers you to go to the gym, read a book or answer e-mail—you’ll have to decide.
- Tweak the Pattern. Your algorithm probably won’t be perfectly efficient the first time. Making a few tweaks after the first 30-day trial can make your ritual more useful.
Ways to Use a Ritual
Based on the above ideas, here are some ways you could implement your own rituals:
1. Waking Up
Set up a morning ritual for when you wake up and the next few things you do immediately afterward. To combat the grogginess after immediately waking up, my solution is to do a few pushups right after getting out of bed. After that, I sneak in ninety minutes of reading before getting ready for morning classes.
2. Web Usage
How often do you answer e-mail, look at Google Reader, or check Facebook each day? I found by taking all my daily internet needs and compressing them into one, highly-efficient ritual, I was able to cut off 75% of my web time without losing any communication.
How much time do you get to read books? If your library isn’t as large as you’d like, you might want to consider the rituals you use for reading. Programming a few steps to trigger yourself to read instead of watching television or during a break in your day can chew through dozens of books each year.
Rituals can also help with communication. Set up a ritual of starting a conversation when you have opportunities to meet people.
One of the hardest barriers when overcoming procrastination is building up a concentrated flow. Building those steps into a ritual can allow you to quickly start working or continue working after an interruption.
6. Going to the gym
If exercising is a struggle, encoding a ritual can remove a lot of the difficulty. Set up a quick ritual for going to exercise right after work or when you wake up.
Even within your workouts, you can have rituals. Spacing the time between runs or reps with a certain number of breaths can remove the guesswork. Forming a ritual of doing certain exercises in a particular order can save time.
Form a calming ritual in the last 30-60 minutes of your day before you go to bed. This will help slow yourself down and make falling asleep much easier. Especially if you plan to get up full of energy in the morning, it will help if you remove insomnia.
8. Weekly Reviews
The weekly review is a big part of the GTD system. By making a simple ritual checklist for my weekly review, I can get the most out of this exercise in less time. Originally, I did holistic reviews where I wrote my thoughts on the week and progress as a whole. Now, I narrow my focus toward specific plans, ideas, and measurements.
We all want to be productive. But time wasters, procrastination, and laziness sometimes get the better of us. If you’re facing such difficulties, don’t be afraid to make use of these rituals to help you conquer them.
More Tips to Conquer Time Wasters and Procrastination
- What Is Procrastination and How to Stop It (The Complete Guide)
- How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators
- 5 Types of Procrastination (And How To Fix Each of Them)
Featured photo credit: RODOLFO BARRETO via unsplash.com