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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!

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          Last Updated on August 16, 2018

          16 Productivity Secrets of Highly Successful People Revealed

          16 Productivity Secrets of Highly Successful People Revealed

          The same old motivational secrets don’t really motivate you after you’ve read them for the tenth time, do they?

          How about a unique spin on things?

          These 16 productivity secrets of successful people will make you reevaluate your approach to your home, work, and creative lives. Learn from these highly successful people, turn these little things they do into your daily habits and you’ll get closer to success.

          1. Empty your mind.

          It sounds counterproductive, doesn’t it?

          Emptying your mind when you have so much to remember seems like you’re just begging to forget something. Instead, this gives you a clean slate so you’re not still thinking about last week’s tasks.

          Clear your mind and then start thinking only about what you need to do immediately, and then today. Tasks that need to be accomplished later in the week can wait.

          Here’s a guide to help you empty your mind and think sharper:

          How to Declutter Your Mind to Sharpen Your Brain and Fall Asleep Faster

          2. Keep certain days clear.

          Some companies are scheduling “No Meeting Wednesdays,” which means, funnily enough, that no one can hold a meeting on a Wednesday. This gives workers a full day to work on their own tasks, without getting sidetracked by other duties or pointless meetings.

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          This can work in your personal life too, for example if you need to restrict Facebook access or limit phone calls.

          3. Prioritize your work.

          Don’t think every task is created equal! Some tasks aren’t as important as others, or might take less time.

          Try to sort your tasks every day and see what can be done quickly and efficiently. Get these out of the way so you have more free time and brain power to focus on what is more important.

          Lifehack’s CEO has a unique way to prioritize works, take a look at it here:

          How to Prioritize Right in 10 Minutes and Work 10X Faster

          4. Chop up your time.

          Many successful business leaders chop their time up into fifteen-minute intervals. This means they work on tasks for a quarter of an hour at a time, or schedule meetings for only fifteen minutes. It makes each hour seem four times as long, which leads to more productivity!

          5. Have a thinking position.

          Truman Capote claimed he couldn’t think unless he was laying down. Proust did this as well, while Stravinsky would stand on his head!

          What works for others may not work for you. Try to find a spot and position that is perfect for you to brainstorm or come up with ideas.

          6. Pick three to five things you must do that day.

          To Do lists can get overwhelming very quickly. Instead of making a never-ending list of everything you can think of that needs to be done, make daily lists that include just three to five things.

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          Make sure they’re things that need to be done that day, so you don’t keep putting them off.

          7. Don’t try to do too much.

          OK, so I just told you to work every day, and now I’m telling you to not do too much? It might sound like conflicting advice, but not doing too much means not biting off more than you can chew. Don’t say yes to every work project or social engagement and find yourself in way over your head.

          8. Have a daily action plan.

          Don’t limit yourself to a to-do list! Take ten minutes every morning to map out a daily action plan. It’s a place to not only write what needs to be done that day, but also to prioritize what will bring the biggest reward, what will take the longest, and what goals will be accomplished.

          Leave room for a “brain dump,” where you can scribble down anything else that’s on your mind.

          9. Do your most dreaded project first.

          Getting your most dreaded task over with first means you’ll have the rest of the day free for anything and everything else. This also means that you won’t be constantly putting off the worst of your projects, making it even harder to start on it later.

          10. Follow the “Two-Minute Rule.”

          The “Two-Minute Rule” was made famous by David Allen. It’s simple – if a new task comes in and it can be done in two minutes or less, do it right then. Putting it off just adds to your to-do list and will make the task seem more monumental later.

          11. Have a place devoted to work.

          If you work in an office, it’s no problem to say that your cubicle desk is where you work every day.

          But if you work from home, make sure you have a certain area specifically for work. You don’t want files spread out all over the dinner table, and you don’t want to feel like you’re not working just because you’re relaxing on the couch.

          Agatha Christie never wrote at her desk, she wrote wherever she could sit down. Ernest Hemingway wrote standing up. Thomas Wolfe, at 6’6″ tall, used the top of his refrigerator as a desk. Richard Wright wrote on a park bench, rain or shine.

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          Have a space where, when you go there, you know you’re going to work. Maybe it’s a cafe downstairs, the library, or a meeting room. Whenever and wherever works for you, do your works there.

          12. Find your golden hour.

          You don’t have to stick to a “typical” 9–5 schedule!

          Novelist Anne Rice slept during the day and wrote at night to avoid distractions. Writer Jerzy Kosinski slept eight hours a day, but never all at once. He’d wake in the morning, work, sleep four hours in the afternoon, then work more that evening.

          Your golden hour is the time when you’re at your peak. You’re alert, ready to be productive, and intent on crossing things off your to-do list.

          Once you find your best time, protect it with all your might. Make sure you’re always free to do your best uninterrupted work at this time.

          13. Pretend you’re on an airplane.

          It might not be possible to lock everyone out of your office to get some peace and quiet, but you can eliminate some distractions.

          By pretending you’re on an airplane, you can act like your internet access is limited, you’re not able to get something from your bookcase, and you can’t make countless phone calls.

          Eliminating these distractions will help you focus on your most important tasks and get them done without interruption.

          14. Never stop.

          Writers Anthony Trollope and Henry James started writing their next books as soon as they finished their current work in progress.

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          Stephen King writes every day of the year, and holds himself accountable for 2,000 words a day! Mark Twain wrote every day, and then read his day’s work aloud to his family to get their feedback.

          There’s something to be said about working nonstop, and putting out continuous work instead of taking a break. It’s just a momentum that will push you go further./

          15. Be in tune with your body.

          Your mind and body will get tired of a task after ninety minutes to two hours focused on it. Keep this in mind as you assign projects to yourself throughout the day, and take breaks to ensure that you won’t get burned out.

          16. Try different methods.

          Vladimir Nabokov wrote the first drafts of his novels on index cards. This made it easy to rearrange sentences, paragraphs, and chapters by shuffling the cards around.

          It does sound easier, and more fun, than copying and pasting in Word! Once Nabokov liked the arrangement, his wife typed them into a single manuscript.

          Same for you, don’t give up and think that it’s impossible for you to be productive when one method fails. Try different methods until you find what works perfectly for you.

          Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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