“Did you have a good day?” This may seem like small talk, but it could be a life altering question. After all, good days turn into good weeks and good weeks turn into good months, etc. An equally important question is “Do you know what a good day looks like?” What is your definition of a “good day?” Think about it - can we honestly have a “good day” if we don’t know what one looks like? Not likely.
Steven Covey says, “Every good idea is created at least twice, first in the mind and then in practice.” Through design, a lot of good ideas are born hundreds of times before the final product is produced. Consider the good chair you’re sitting in, the good car you drive, the good pen you use to write, the good house where you live. Good days are the same.
Creating good days, on a consistent basis, changes your destiny. It sounds a bit dramatic, but it’s true. I’m convinced that over the long run, a person of average IQ that creates good days on a consistent basis will enjoy much more success than a high IQ person who does not. Most of us possess average intelligence so this is great news!!
Before we get to the nuts and bolts of consistently creating the all-important “good day”, lets agree there is an enormous amount of inertia towards complacency within nearly all of us. Making “good days” can be a big departure from just showing up and reacting to the day. We don’t change easily – if ever. My experience is there are basically two things that will cause us to change complacent habits long term – desperation or inspiration.
Don’t believe it? What if, you were told that unless you run (without stopping or walking) a marathon on this date next year – you would never see your closest relative or friend again. Over the top, I know. But what might your training day and diet look like tomorrow and each day until marathon day? That’s desperation at work. Likewise, if I said you would receive $10,000,000 for your favorite charities (one might be you) if you completed (without stopping or walking) a marathon on this date next year. Might this inspire you to change?
We’ve all been motivated by desperation. Not fun, but there is no doubt that it works. However, like most of you, I love to be inspired by a big dream and an even bigger WHY. My point is the bigger the dream, the easier it will be to form the life altering habit of creating a “good day,” on a consistent basis.
Step #1 - Owning a breath-taking dream is a critical aspect for creating a good day.
Step #2 - Make your goal time-specific and establish annual, quarterly, monthly and weekly milestones.
Step #3 - Every Sunday evening invest 30-60 minutes of quiet time to do a ‘mind dump’ of all the forward-moving tasks or “to do’s” needed to complete a great week. You should also have a list of “to do’s” accumulated from the prior week.
Step #4 - During this same time on Sunday, prioritize the tasks and to do’s (A, B, C). Also, make an estimate of time needed to complete each task. Note: As time goes along, you’ll become better at estimating time needed to complete a specific task. Initially, you may notice a tendency to over-estimate the time needed to complete a task.
Step #5 - Based on the prioritization and estimated time – SCHEDULE THE TASKS ON YOUR CALENDAR. Highest priorities get scheduled first. This is a critical step that is often neglected. Human nature is to start with the easiest – try to avoid this. As a rule, things that do not get scheduled do not get completed. Now, you know should know what a “good” Monday looks like. You’ve created it in your mind and on your calendar.
Step #6 – The last scheduled task for each day is planning the next day. Dedicate 20-30 minutes at the end of each day. Based on the circumstances of the current day and the likely accumulation of additional “to do’s”, you may need to be re-prioritized and rescheduled. Note: Planning your day, on the morning of the same day is a mistake. Eventually, you’ll get caught by some unplanned event or emergency in the morning that will steal your precious planning time. An unplanned day is usually not a good day! Ideally, you will want to plan before you go home or at least do it before you go to bed. This will allow you to start your day by hitting the ground running.
Step #7 – Get it done! Execution of your daily steps is critical for the success of having a good day. Planning is a wonderful tool, but if it is not followed up with action nothing will get accomplished.
Steps to Identifying a Good Day:
- Own a breath- taking dream
- Establish time specific goals
- Invest time on Sunday evening for a mind-dump
- Prioritize weekly tasks with time-estimates
- Schedule on your calendar high priority/harder tasks first
- Take-action on all items and complete steps for optimum success
The next time someone asks you if you had a good day, you will know what one looks like. Most people don’t. As a result, you’ll run circles around the non-planners and dreamers that don’t act. You will know how good it feels to lay your head on your pillow each night knowing you’ve diligently moved your dream forward. If you put enough “good days” back to back, it will change your life.