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7 Ways to Always Do What You Say You’ll Do

7 Ways to Always Do What You Say You’ll Do

No one likes to admit they aren’t a superhero. I’m no exception. I’ve often agreed to “one thing too many,” only to turn around and find that pleasing everyone just wasn’t possible because of something else I’d already said I’d do. If this sounds familiar, chances are, you’ve had at least one person close to you tell you how much you disappointed them or how badly you screwed up their plans. The good news is, there really is a way to get more organized and make sure you can always keep your promises. 7 ways, to be more precise. Use these 7 ways to always do what you say you’ll do to keep your life more organized and balanced.

1) Don’t agree to or promise anything you’re not absolutely sure you can deliver.

All rights reserved by little.lions

    All rights reserved by little.lions

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    This seems simple, but it may actually be the hardest thing on this list. You agree to a favor for a friend. Then your boss nails you with a big project that has a tight deadline. Next, your spouse asks you to undertake a repair job that goes from “fifteen minutes and a screwdriver” to “four hours, no end in sight, and every single tool in the toolbox.” Finally, your college professor wants to meet with you about your performance, all in the middle of Pluming-geddon. What do you do? Some things can’t wait. We understand this. So the things that can may have to, but once you’ve agreed to it, you had better provide. You owe it to yourself and those around you.

    2) Keep a reasonable schedule.

    A reasonable schedule doesn’t mean working for 48 hours straight and then sleeping for 12. A reasonable schedule involves making time for your obligations, your family, and yourself. If you find yourself buried under a couple of big projects, or a plethora of smaller ones that threaten to interfere with that, it is time to stop and reevaluate what you’re doing.

    3) Be honest, to yourself and the people you make promises to.

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    Honest Tea Cap (Photo credit: Dome Poon)

      Honest Tea Cap (Photo credit: Dome Poon)

      “Oh, sure, that’ll be easy!” “I can do that in two shakes, no problem!” “Pffffft….of course I’m sure!” (All the while, your inner voice is screaming, “And just where are you going to find the time for all that, Chuckles?”) We all want to appear confident and capable in front of our peers, our employers, or our families. Nothing shreds that perception faster than trying to bluff about how much you can do in a day. You’ve only got 24 hours. Be realistic about what you can accomplish. You’ll get more respect by saying, “I can’t, because…” than you will by getting yourself buried in projects with no end in sight.

      4) Don’t make excuses.

      If you’ve gotten yourself in over your head, don’t make excuses or try to pass the blame off on someone else. You got yourself in too deep, and need to own this. Just be honest and let the chips fall where they may. You might be surprised at how understanding most people are, if you only give them the chance to be.

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      5) Say no to things.

      Saying yes to happiness means learning to say no to the things and people that stress you out.

        Sometimes, there’s only one way to deal with someone who’s trying to add that last straw onto your back. The word “no” exists in every language on Earth for a reason, folks. If you’re about to hit that “one straw too many,” this is what the word “no” is for! It’s better to refuse something than to put your entire schedule in jeopardy and derail all the promises you’ve made because you tried to do too much.

        6) Suggest compromises or alternate suggestions.

        If you can’t drop everything to deal with something right now, maybe you can think of a compromise or the name of someone else who can do it better, faster, or who’s just less busy. Rather than a flat “no,” this is a productive alternative for showing that although you’re busy beyond any reasonable definition of sanity, you’re still willing to take time to help out. Even if it’s not in the way the other person or people hoped for, that counts for something.

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        7) Understand that you are only human, and expect the same from others.

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          I very much doubt you’re wearing an S on your chest, hail from a planet with a red sun, or have an allergy to glowing green crystals of extraterrestrial origin. While it can be tempting to try to impress the people around you by doing more by 8am than they’ll do all day, it’s not really necessary. If you have people around you who don’t seem to understand that you’re only human, it’s time to have a talk with them and explain it to them in a way that cannot be misinterpreted. If YOU don’t understand that you’re only human, you need to take a time-out and a reality check. You’re going to hurt yourself if you don’t. You’ll be more productive, healthier, and happier for it!

          More by this author

          J.S. Wayne

          J.S. Wayne is a passionate writer who shares lifestyle inspirations and tips on Lifehack.

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          Last Updated on April 22, 2021

          How to Work Hard the Smart Way: 4 Daily Rituals to Follow

          How to Work Hard the Smart Way: 4 Daily Rituals to Follow

          Habits are what sets an average leader apart from a great leader. We can argue that talent is the biggest factor; we may debate how the amount of charisma sets the two apart. Yet, if you were to show me what you believed to be a great leader, I can show you the habits that made her/him great. Great leaders have great habits and know how to work hard the smart way.

          Developing Great Habits Is Hard Work

          In my early college days, I had spent a lot of time learning how to play the trumpet. Playing the trumpet took time and discipline. I had some natural talent, but not enough to hide my lack of ability. My trumpet teacher was a man of discipline, and there was no doubt he had talent. What stood to me was his work ethic. He had to be one of the hardest working mentors that I had the privilege of working with.

          One afternoon, I was in his office getting ready for my weekly trumpet lesson. As I was preparing, my eyes scanned the room and saw that there were quotes all over his office. My eyes rested on one quote that forever changed my thinking about my playing. It was a quote from my high school basketball coach Tim Notke that would become popular through professional athletes Kevin Durant and Tim Tebow:

          “Hard work beats talent when talent fails to work hard.”

          Hard work trumps talent. The key to success is not found in your talent or ability. Talent and ability are necessary, but they are not the primary factors. They are supporting roles in the story you are writing.

          Ultimately, hard work is the key to your success. A good work ethic creates the momentum that propels you forward towards your goals.

          Motivation Is Not the Answer

          How many times have you seen someone go to a conference, get inspired, and then come home and do nothing?

          If motivation were the answer, the world would have transformed hundreds of times over. Yet, when we look out our doors or turn on the news, we do not see a utopian society.

          We have thousands of people who become inspired but lack the work ethic to apply anything they have learned. Time and time again frustration creeps in. We are so motivated and inspired by what we see but fail to put in place the things that would change our lives.

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          Frustration happens when the gap between what you expect to be true and what is true gets bigger. Motivation tends to create an expectation that is not rooted in reality. We want to take on the world but cannot get off Netflix long enough to do so.

          Motivation is not the answer, but working hard is. Good habits and routines that produce success are the byproducts of a strong work ethic. The habits and routines we create and follow are the foundation on which we build a winning life.

          How to Work Hard by Working Smarter

          Here are 4 routines that will help you learn how to work hard and achieve your short term and long term goals.

          1. Define What a Win Looks Like

          In football, a player that crosses into the end zone gain points. In soccer, a player kicks the ball into the net to score. Hockey, lacrosse, and basketball are all the same. The player takes the object and moves it into the designated area to gain points. The team with the most points wins the game.

          Why is it that we can define what a win looks like in sports, but we fail to do so in our leadership, our businesses, or our homes?

          Learning how to work hard without setting a target is futile. It is insanity to work hard without having a clear direction to place your energy. I would argue that defining a win is one of the most important routines that a leader can have. Defining a win separates superficial activity from meaningful activity.

          When I define a win, I know the goal line I have to cross[1]. Knowing where the goal line is informs me of the activity I have to engage in to cross it. Without a clear direction, I am spinning my wheels hoping that I will get to a destination I haven’t defined. It is like asking a GPS for directions but failing to input the destination.

          4 Steps to Define a Win
          • Know the outcome you desire.
          • Declare the outcome in specific, meaningful terms.
          • Write the outcome down.
          • Set your activity list to only do that which will complete your goals.

          Let me give you an example. 15 years ago, I started speaking professionally. As a young and naïve speaker, I thought winning meant that I had to get a reaction from the audience. If they cheered, smiled, or cried, I considered myself a winner. The problem was my lack of understanding of what a win looked like. As a seasoned speaker, my wins look different.

          As of today, when I speak, I am not looking for any emotional reactions from the audience. I win if, and only if, I clearly communicated my point so that anyone hearing the talk can take it and apply it to their lives that day. That is how I define a win when I speak now.

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          Create a habit of declaring a win. When you do, you will see your productivity soar and your encouragement increase. Pairing a hard work ethic with wise decisions creates victory. Stop being a mouse on a wheel that goes nowhere, and start being the captain of your fleet.

          2. Evaluate Your Activity

          Not all activity is equal. There are things you must do, things you need to do, and things we can either give away or delete. The greatest challenge of a leader is understanding the difference. Understanding what activity is busywork and what activity is mission work is pivotal.

          Not only do we need to learn how to evaluate our activity, but we must make this a core routine in our arsenal of success. Stop working so hard on everything and start learning how to work hard on the right things.

          Not every activity will move the needle forward for you. In fact, you were never meant to do everything yourself! Once we stop trying to be a martyr in our leadership, we can start looking at how to take things off our plates through delegation.

          Based on the Eisenhower box, there are 4 things that we look at when deciding on which activities are important:

          • Do now
          • Plan to do it later
          • Delegate to someone else
          • Delete it

          Powerful questions are the way you discover if the activity is right or not:

          • Does this activity move me towards or away from my goals?
          • Do I have to do this activity or can I give this activity away to someone else?
          • Does this activity have to be now right now or can it be scheduled for later dates?
          • Does this activity have to be done at all?

          Evaluating the type of activity you engage in should be a routine that you do daily. Learning how to work hard should create progress. Having a system of evaluation and a routine to do it will help.

          3. Prioritize Your Calendar

          If you were to show me your calendar, I could show you why you are not further along. When you lack the routine of placing things on your calendar, two things happen.

          First, what does not make it on your calendar does not get done.

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          It is a simple truth that is often overlooked. Your calendar contains the power to change your life. Yet, we don’t use our calendars to their fullest potential.

          “You will never change your life until you change something you do daily. The secret of your success is found in your daily routine.” -John C. Maxwell

          Also, if you don’t mark you activities on your calendar, you are leaving it open to other’s priorities.

          “The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.” -Stephen Covey

          Having a routine in your life where you place things on your calendar is pivotal to your success. This is not a routine one should overlook.

          It’s time to take your leadership and business to the next level. It’s time to start putting your daily routines on your calendar, along with your priorities.

          4. Reflect on Your Day and Plan the Next

          We are all about the morning routine. Whatever that looks like for you, there should be a routine in the morning that sets you up for success.

          Hard work starts when your feet hit the ground in the morning. Creating the habit of winning starts with the first thing you accomplish that morning. If you win your morning, you will win your day.

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          Best Morning Routine to Prepare to Work Hard

            But how often have you heard people talk about an evening routine? Tomorrow is won the day before it happens. When you fail to plan your day, you may put your effort toward in the wrong things. Route replaces routine. Indecision replaces decisiveness. Losses replace wins. The discouragement will deflate your momentum and increases the chances of procrastination. That is why we set our schedule the night before.

            “Every battle is won or lost before it is ever fought.” -Sun Tzu

            Working hard doesn’t have to be hard work. It shouldn’t take much out of you learn how to work hard as long as you work smart. Having a time where you reflect on the day and set your priorities is the difference-maker.

            Use these questions to reflect on your day:

            • What went well?
            • What didn’t go well?
            • What can I change?
            • What do I need to start doing?
            • What do I need to stop doing?

            The Bottom Line

            Navigating through life is hard work. Yet, the work doesn’t have to be hard when you work smarter. When you create routines that support your mission, you create wins. Working hard, the smart way will tip the balance in our favor.

            Boxing legend Joe Frazier said:

            “Champions aren’t made in the ring; they are merely recognized there.”

            Champions put in the hard work behind the scenes. The world recognized them as a champion when they saw the results of the hard work. Right now, you are doing the work of creating a champion in yourself.

            That work is setting your routines in order because you now know that success flows from your daily routines. If you are not experiencing the success you desire, then it is time to change things up.

            More on Creating Healthy Routines

            Featured photo credit: Zan via unsplash.com

            Reference

            [1] The Balance Careers: Interview Question: “How Do You Define Success?”

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