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Getting Rid of Yesterday: How to Start Your Day Fresh

Getting Rid of Yesterday: How to Start Your Day Fresh
New Day

Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Sometimes we start a day with the previous day still in mind. We think about the mistakes we made in the previous day, how things went wrong, and how we felt bad about it. No wonder it becomes difficult to focus on the current day. And since we cannot fully focus on the day, our performance may drop and things may once again go wrong. This pattern could repeat again and again, where the burden from the previous day is taken to the current day and make it bad, which will then be a burden for the following day. The chain may be hard to break and your overall performance may drop, not to mention the difficulty to have a peaceful mind.

So it’s important leave the past day behind. Always start your new day fresh, without thinking about yesterday. This way you will be able to fully concentrate, do your best, and improve your performance.

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Here are some steps on how to do that:

1. Take time to evaluate your day

At the end of a day, take some time to think about it. You should do it at the same day and not wait until the next day. You should finish dealing with your day before the next morning comes.

The purpose of this thinking time is not to regret how bad your day was, how things went wrong, or how people treated you negatively. This won’t do you any good to improve your life. Instead, the purpose of this thinking time is to extract lessons which you can bring to the following day.

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2. Ask the right questions to extract lessons

To extract the lessons, you should ask the right questions. There are basically two questions you should ask:

  • What have you done well?
    There should be some things you have done well. What are they and how did you do them? What can you do to make sure that you can continue doing them well or even better?
  • What have you done wrong?
    Usually there are also some things that do not go as expected. What are they and how could they happen? What can you do to improve yourself and avoid the same mistakes in the future?

3. Make a commitment to apply the lessons

After you extract the lessons, you should make a commitment to apply them. To do so, find some actionable things you can do to apply the lessons. Next, remind yourself to do them. You may write them down if you want to.

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4. “Close” your day

After you have spent the time to think about the day and extract the lessons, make a decision to “close” the day. Think of it as closing the door to the past day. You are done with it; don’t think about it anymore. You should close the door to the past day so that you can start your new day fresh.

Here are some things you should realize to make it easier to “close” a day:

  • The day has passed; there’s nothing you can do about it. You can’t change the past no matter how hard you try.
  • Instead of thinking about something you can’t change, focus instead on the things you can change, and that is the present.

Having the mindset to focus on what you can change will make it easier to “close” your day.

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5. Bring only the lessons to the next day and nothing else

After you “close” a day, you should not bring anything out of it to the next day except for the lessons you extract. These lessons deal with things you can do something about. They deal with the present, not the past. Instead of thinking about the past, focus on applying the lessons to the present. This way you will be able to start your day fresh without the burden of yesterday.

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The Gentle Art of Saying No

The Gentle Art of Saying No

No!

It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments — you simply spread yourself too thin and will not be able to get anything done, at least not well or on time.

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But requests for your time are coming in all the time — through phone, email, IM or in person. To stay productive, and minimize stress, you have to learn the Gentle Art of Saying No — an art that many people have problems with.

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What’s so hard about saying no? Well, to start with, it can hurt, anger or disappoint the person you’re saying “no” to, and that’s not usually a fun task. Second, if you hope to work with that person in the future, you’ll want to continue to have a good relationship with that person, and saying “no” in the wrong way can jeopardize that.

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But it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here are the Top 10 tips for learning the Gentle Art of Saying No:

  1. Value your time. Know your commitments, and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some of your time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it. And tell them that: “I just can’t right now … my plate is overloaded as it is.”
  2. Know your priorities. Even if you do have some extra time (which for many of us is rare), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time? For myself, I know that more commitments means less time with my wife and kids, who are more important to me than anything.
  3. Practice saying no. Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word. And sometimes, repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually, they’ll get the message.
  4. Don’t apologize. A common way to start out is “I’m sorry but …” as people think that it sounds more polite. While politeness is important, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm, and unapologetic about guarding your time.
  5. Stop being nice. Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it. But if you erect a wall, they will look for easier targets. Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many requests (that are not on your top priority list) as possible.
  6. Say no to your boss. Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss — they’re our boss, right? And if we say “no” then we look like we can’t handle the work — at least, that’s the common reasoning. But in fact, it’s the opposite — explain to your boss that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss insists that you take on the project, go over your project or task list and ask him/her to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.
  7. Pre-empting. It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made. If you know that requests are likely to be made, perhaps in a meeting, just say to everyone as soon as you come into the meeting, “Look guys, just to let you know, my week is booked full with some urgent projects and I won’t be able to take on any new requests.”
  8. Get back to you. Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, simply tell them: “After giving this some thought, and checking my commitments, I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.” At least you gave it some consideration.
  9. Maybe later. If this is an option that you’d like to keep open, instead of just shutting the door on the person, it’s often better to just say, “This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame].” Next time, when they check back with you, you might have some free time on your hands.
  10. It’s not you, it’s me. This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not at this time. Simply say so — you can compliment the idea, the project, the person, the organization … but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for at this time. Only say this if it’s true — people can sense insincerity.

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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