Successful individuals know that it is essential to grasp every ounce of productivity out of the workweek. Many of us struggle with how to manage our daily to-dos while forging ahead to grow as business professionals and individuals. Following these three essential principles will allow you to get the most out of your five-day workweek:
1. Adopt a Gun-to-Gun Mentality
Many people are developing what I call the Short Calendar Attitude, which serves as a drain on productivity and mental toughness. The Short Calendar Attitude refers to allowing yourself to think on Monday, “Well, today is Monday, and the weekend was too short, and I am not ready for it to be over. I am tired and not really feeling it today. I think I will give myself permission to take it easy today.” Then comes the Friday mentality: “TGIF, I am so excited this is Friday. It has been a long week, and I am ready for the weekend. I can’t work hard today because I am too excited for the fun and relaxation that will be had in the upcoming days, I should probably just pack it in early.
Unfortunately, the Short Calendar Attitude is contagious. It starts with short Mondays and Fridays and bleeds into the same approach with holidays and vacations. I had a client admit to me that he was so excited for an upcoming vacation that he was mentally checked out two full days before even boarding the plane. To make things even worse, he had so much fun on the trip that it took him three days once he got home to get back up to speed.
Learn to replace the Short Calendar Attitude with the Gun-to-Gun Mentality. Highly successful individuals enlist the Gun-to-Gun Mentality by thinking, “Well, it’s Monday, and the weekend was short and sweet. Although I may not be feeling it today, I am going to attack the day from the absolute first minute of the day all the way to the last. I know if I put in my best fight today, it will be difficult, but certainly will be worth it.” Then comes the Friday mentality of the successful: “TGIF, I’m glad this is Friday. It has been a long but good week, and I am going to finish strong from the first minute of the day all the way to the last. I know doing so will make the upcoming weekend that much more enjoyable.” The highly successful take the same approach with holidays and vacations– hit it hard all the way to the final gun, and start getting after it the first minute back.
Try replacing your Short Calendar Attitude with that of a Gun-to-Gun Mentality. You may be surprised by how your behaviours will start to respond to what you tell your mind. You will be able to produce more throughout the entire week, rather than taking valuable time to rev up at the beginning and wind down at the end.
2. Eat the “Big Frogs” First Each Day
The most important tasks each day are also typically the tasks we fear, dread, and avoid most. On a daily basis, rally your energy and courage to tackle those daily goals that have the greatest influence on your performance and therefore success. Brian Tracy, a best-selling personal development author, calls the most important and most challenging tasks we need to complete daily our “big frog” tasks. Most people choose to focus first on the unimportant tasks (the little frogs) and save the big frogs for last.
The problem is that if the big frogs are at the bottom of your to-do list, you will have a psychological tendency to find ways to procrastinate so that you won’t have to face them. Saving the big frogs for last means that you will need the greatest courage and energy at the end of the day when you are most tired from spending countless hours completing tasks that may be urgent, but not that important. By eating the big frogs first, you create energy and momentum through your early accomplishment of something that has true impact.
3. Recharge the Battery
Take the time on the evenings and weekends to rest and come into the next day or week rejuvenated and ready to tackle success. Look at yourself like a battery. When you have a hard day, you become exhausted. When you have three or four hard days in a row, you become more exhausted. When you have three or four hard weeks in a row, you become even more exhausted. Rather than allowing all of these hard days to mentally compound on themselves and drain your productivity and mental clarity, think of yourself as a battery in the sense that you really only need one good night’s sleep to be fully charged. We have trained ourselves into thinking that we become exhausted by a series of hard days, but getting one good night’s sleep truly does allow us to start fresh.
The key is that we may not need to change our behaviour, but we need to change the way we think about being exhausted. You may discover that you can actually do more than you previously thought. Commit to taking one day of rest for every seven-day cycle. Also commit to getting one good night’s sleep at least every other day to recharge your battery. You will find yourself more productive and less mentally exhausted, especially for those 5 days during the workweek. If you have a week or two when it is simply not possible to rest, don’t beat yourself up. Simply, try to find an extra day during another week to make up the time to recharge. Google is one of the most successful companies in the world, and it prides itself on employees balancing their work with family and rest time. They actually teach their employees how to rest. The company understands that this emphasis improves happiness and productivity, and undoubtedly, the bottom line.
By committing to a Gun-to-Gun Mentality, eating the “Big Frogs” first, and taking the time to recharge the battery, you will squeeze more productivity and clarity out of the workweek. These small shifts in behaviour and mentality will have a measurable impact on your business, life, and success.