5 actions for winning daily

We all have 24 hours in a day to accomplish, what seems to be an impossible mission: finish everything on our plate, juggle our workload, handle tasks, react to emergencies and resolve crises as they are hurled at us.

Additionally, we need to be fair to our families and not give them the "leftovers." At a minimum we must handle family politics, help with dinner, attend our kid's soccer game, aid with homework and handle the household finances. All the while, we want to be a caring and sensitive spouse. And let's not forget, we deserve a bit of time to ourselves as well. Not such an easy mission.

We go through this exercise every day, for months (or maybe even years) on end. How do we ever remain sane as we bounce from crisis to crisis, fully intending to get everything done, but never being able to get caught up? Many days, we aren't even given a chance to show up at work or home before detours reroute us. Text messages, emails, Facebook posts and other forms of technical gadget and gizmo messaging have a way of reprioritizing our day. So how can we stay in control?

I have developed a list of 5 daily actions that will put you on a winning path to success. In order for these to work you will need to be consistent about following them. And if you connect the dots from day to day and form new habits, you will gradually see your weeks and months getting easier as well.

  1. Plan your day. It is essential that you give yourself time in the morning to plan your day. Some days this will take 5 minutes and other days much longer. Failing to plan is planning to fail. You must determine what your goals are for the day. These goals should include both your business and personal life. Plan what you hope to accomplish, big picture, for the day. (Complete the accounting project, get to the gym, have lunch outside the office, get the oil changed in the car). Your plan should be written down, and reviewed many times throughout the day.

  2. Write down your to-do list and prioritize what must get done today. Take your plans (goals for the day) and bullet point the actions needed to accomplish them. If you have something date sensitive or essential for getting done today, that needs to go to the top of the list. Priorities are just that, priorities. Once your task is complete, cross it off the list. Have a small private party in your head. Congratulations are in order when you accomplish a task. Now move on to the next task on your list. If you have leftover tasks at the end of the day, you will need to bring them over to tomorrow's to-do list. The key is to include these in your next morning planning session. Too many people have massive lists that grow and grow out of control. Once out of control, people usually stop writing down goals and to-do lists. Don't let that be you. Stay in control. (Side note: when inspiration strikes in the shower, my waterproof AquaNotes pad is suction cupped to the tiles. www.myaquanotes.com)

  3. Recognize what is small stuff and what is big stuff. Your co-worker sending you a YouTube on effective meeting techniques may be good to watch, but not right now. You've got a list of priorities and YouTube lessons are not one of them. Your accounting system crashing is probably a priority if you work in the I.T. Department. These two examples would be easy for you to categorize as small stuff versus big stuff, but many things thrown at you during your day will not be. It is critical that you understand what and who take priority during your day. If your boss is part of the problem because he derails you every time you are on track to accomplish a task or goal, you must have a sit down with him and discuss a "better way." You must learn the art of saying "No."

  4. Remember to give thanks and appreciation to those around you. Co-workers, family members and friends need love too. To-do lists and priority schedules are not very touchy, feely things. They include the cold hard facts. Gratitude, thanks and appreciation go a long way in reducing future tasks lists. People want to help people they love and you will develop a following of people that want to help you when your hands are filled. Showing appreciation is not only good for the recipient, it's good for the giver as well.

  5. Keep balance in your life. Without balance you have nothing. What's good about having an amazing business and a growing bank account if you have no one to share it with or no time to enjoy the fruit of your labor. Learn when to turn off the computer, put the phone down or simply take a nap. Life is about enjoying a balance between mind, body and soul at work and play.

I am confident that all of my points above are points you have heard before. I have read about them, studied them, practiced them and have taught them for decades. There is a difference, however, between reading them and actually doing them. I had a friend in business many years ago that said, "To know, and not to do, is not to know." If you are out of control with your day, you are probably out of control with other parts of your life as well. You will find that when you are in control, you are happier and more pleasant. People will want to be around you more when you are happy. Take the steps needed to get in control. Control equals winning. I, for one, want to see a happier, more balanced and more in control, winning, successful you. Wouldn't you agree?