I often get asked, 'how can I be more productive?’
Thinking about this question, I realize that the answer could go in a million different directions.
It's a pretty vague question that leads to a lot more questions...productive at what? What resources do you have available? What makes this thing important to you?
In this article, I've kept the answers more theoretical (in keeping with the question). Basically, I've boiled it down to three principles.
When I graduated from the University of Nevada Reno, my first job was in sales and marketing in the casino industry. For a girl in her twenties, it was a fun gig and I moved up the ranks. The next step was a Las Vegas job offer which I accepted immediately before suddenly having a change of heart. I had always wanted a family, but I couldn't imagine raising them in Sin City.
I didn't know it at the time but I was protecting my future self. It's easy to see how life decisions shape your future, but don't lose sight of what happens in the small moments each day. As you sit down to write a blog post, the temptation to open another tab and scroll the internet is strong. Indulging the curiosity to scroll the web would satisfy your present self, but your future self would be raging that you didn’t have more words on the page.
How can you make better decisions for your future self?
Start by strengthening the connection. Visualization exercises and vision boards harness this power. Imagine your future self as someone separate from you. Someone you care about, like a friend or loved one. For example next week my kids are going back to school, so last weekend I spent time shopping for back to school supplies.
How can you show up for your future self today?
Another way to connect is to write a letter to your future self. Tell her what is important to you today. Share where you want her to be and what changes you are making today to get there.
One surprising bit of research I came across was that expecting a major event to fundamentally change who you are (like a wedding or graduation) decreased connection.
One thing to keep in mind-and pay attention here because this is why many fail at connecting with their future self. It’s easier to remember who you are, than imagine who you could be.
Although an idea might be new to you, odds are it’s been done before.
Rather than waste precious time trying to figure it out yourself, reach out to those that have gone before you. This goes for anything from business to personal life. Instead try:
Another word of caution here, a lot of people take the step to model others but fall down on the follow through. It should go without saying that you have to take good notes and also take action.
As a writer, there's a ritual I have to go through each time I set out to put words on a page. I have to have my notes nearby, my special Jen’s Blend going in my diffuser and a quiet office. Going through this setup takes a few minutes but it triggers my brain that it’s time to write.
If I’m distracted from this task I have to go through the process again.
You don't have to chose between your personal and professional life. Here's my secret weapon for getting the family chaos to calm.