How Do You Measure Your Day?
What beliefs are affecting how do you measure your day? How are they impacting your productivity?
When my husband and I connect over dinner, we often ask each other “How was your day?” My typical answer has been “It was good, BUT I didn’t get everything done!”
You see, getting it ALL done was my goal. That kind of goal is actually a big setup for NEVER having an awesome day because there is always more to do!
A Shift In Beliefs
A few years back, I was greeted cheerfully by a teller after pulling up to the drive through window at the bank. In obligatory fashion, she asked, “Have you had a good day?”
Leading up to my drive through moment my day had been decent. I had been steadily checking things off my “to-do” list. There was nothing undesirable about my day – just an ordinary, nothing special sort of day. So yes, my day was “good,” at least, that’s what I told the teller.
The truth was that I thought my day was barely OK. As I mulled over her question, I wondered to myself, “How do I measure my day? What makes a day a good or even an amazing day?” It’s then that I realized that I might be using the wrong criteria to measure my day! My beliefs needed some adjusting!
If I’m Honest My Beliefs Were Not Helping Me!
I was measuring my day by whether or not the day went according to plan, my plan, and did I get it all done? In reality, both are nearly impossible.
My beliefs made having a good day difficult. If my day did go according to plan and I conquered my to-do list, it was a really good day. Or if something spectacular took place like getting a new client, orders pouring in, or one of my blogs suddenly taking off like wildfire, it was a great day. Perhaps one of my kids called, or a friend and I had a meaningful conversation, then it was a good day.
Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with new clients, great conversations, etc. These are all very positive! However, they are not the best yardstick for my day.
After contemplating the teller’s question, I came to the conclusion that there was a better way to measure my day. Changing my beliefs has allowed me to make four shifts since my encounter with the cheerful teller:
1. How Realistic Am I?
I’ve been working on being much considerably more realistic about what I can get done in a day. Now as I plan my day, I identify my top three priorities and they determine the focus of my day.
Most of the time, I’m able to complete those three items and move on to other tasks on my to-do list, but some days, like yesterday, I bump into circumstances that I can’t exactly plan for. At times, dealing with the unexpected right away prevents small issues from becoming bigger issues. There are also times where what seems urgent is a distraction and can wait. Knowing the difference is essential!
2. How Well Did I Cooperate With Him?
Did I adjust and participate in the unexpected moments that came my way? Was I able to stay in step with what God was doing? Do my beliefs reflect that I trust Him? Did my responses to the events of the day, including the unexpected, reflect who He created me to BE? Was His way my priority?
This week, I am bumping up against some significant work deadlines so yesterday when I had three lengthy personal phone calls back to back competing with my top three along with some technical issues, I had a BIG choice to make. I chose to give those three people my undivided attention, which turned out to be time well spent.
3. What Did I Let Count?
In my past, yesterday would not have made the cut for a great day. These days, I’m allowing what I do get done to count rather than fretting over what wasn’t accomplished – even if it was something that wasn’t on my list, like surprise phone calls!
Recently my husband asked me, “How was your day?” Before I could even answer he said. “I know, you didn’t get everything done!”
It made me giggle because it happened to be a day when I had successfully completed my top three plus a few other items on my to-do list. It was actually a very productive day even though there were still undone tasks on my list. I was letting what got done count!
“It was a very good day” I replied to my husband! “I got done what I really needed to get done.” That’s how I truly felt!
4. How Did I Reflect Him?
Fear creeps in and distorts how I see things and makes bad beliefs seem like truth. I now recognize how defining myself by what I am able to accomplish is really an attempt to matter more – that’s my Fear Monster. Your Fear Monster might be a way of proving you are enough or that you are competent.
God created me to reflect Him by being loving and that’s what I want to do no matter what the day brings.
So, how has this shift in perspective impacted my life and work? It’s allowed me to…
- Be more available
- Eagerly invest in others
- Compare myself less
- Be more present
- Stay in step with Him
- Reflect Him better
- Surrender my agenda (most of the time!)
- Adjust my definition of a successful day and other bad beliefs
- And get more done!
All change starts with awareness. It’s the first step. That’s what the incredibly brief conversation with the teller did for me – made me aware of a belief that was not serving me in a positive way.
Periodically I check-in and evaluate how I’m measuring my days. I don’t want to drift back to good days being rare! Whether or not I accomplished my top three, I can still have a very good day!
How about you? What are your beliefs? How are you measuring your day?
P.S. Your time is incredibly valuable! That’s why I’ve updated this blog (originally published in 2014) just for you.
If you’d like to improve how you measure your day or how you manage time join me for a FREE WEBINAR: Do Less & Be More – How to Make The Most of Your 24 Hours.
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