Saturday, October 15, 2011

8 Simple Ways to Take Back Control of Your Life

Having a tough time getting things done these days? Juggling tasks as a musician, balancing the day between work and play as an entrepreneur, getting through your "to-do" list for your upcoming wedding--These things all require willpower and stick-to-it-ness.

Here is an abbreviated version of some great tips supplied to me from my friend and guest blogger Eliseo Mauas Pinto from a fantastic article by Tony Schwartz. Any one of these tips might help you to reflect happily at the end of the day that you accomplished what you needed to accomplished.

Tony says:

"Here's the problem we face, every day of our lives. Nearly everything that generates enduring value requires effort, focus, and even some discomfort along the way.  At the same time, we're deeply wired to avoid pain, which the body reads as mortally dangerous, and to move toward pleasure, the more immediate the better. We're also exposed to more temptation than ever....The sirens sing to us, too: Have the dessert. Skip the workout. Put off the hard work. Surf the web. Check your email. Indulge your whims. Settle for the easy way out."

My own suggestions for owning willpower:

1. Make your behaviors automatic--Willpower is hard. But if you make something that's hard to do a habit, it won't be so hard to do anymore. Take exercise. If you go to the gym the same time everyday, it will simply get easier to exercise.

2. Take yourself out of harms way--Would you eat that entire box of cookies at one time if they were in your kitchen pantry? Avoid the problem altogether and don't buy the cookies in the first place. Have problems dealing with certain people? Simply limit your contact with them.

3. Reflect before you react--Do you need to buy that box of cookies? Do you need tell someone how angry you are with their behaviors? Stop and think. "Do I want to do that, or do I need to do that?" If you need to buy a new tie for an interview, do it, but if you have 15 other ties that would serve the same purpose, do you really need to buy another one?

4. Sleep enough to feel fully rested--This is a tough one for me, as I'm always a light sleeper. But it's true that when you are rested, you can tackle the day and make the right decisions for yourself.

5. Do the most important thing in the morning--Get the hard-to-do stuff out of the way. And also keep in mind that what you do in the morning sets the tone for the rest of the day.

6. Eat well--Obviously, if you haven't eaten, your mind is on satiating your hunger, not tackling the day ahead. And if you are trying to have willpower to stay on a particular diet, it is much more difficult to watch your portions when you are hungry. On the other hand, if you are too full or eat foods that do not give you the fuel to tackle the day, you'll tucker out. Eating small meals every three hours that always contain a lean protein balanced with fresh, unprocessed foods will keep you powered up.

7. Focus on one thing at a time--Multitasking means that you are dividing your time between each thing that must be done. Wouldn't tasks be better completed when you aren't interrupted with other things? Willpower is the will to get things done, and it happens when we concentrate on the task at hand.

8. Take a break--Have you heard that saying, "Can't see the forest through the trees." When we take frequent breaks, especially during difficult tasks, we can get a birds-eye view of whether we are on the right track an what needs to be done to complete the task. Taking a break helps to reduce mistakes, because you can see where you are going and can review as you progress.

So, go and finish up what you are doing and get things done today!!!

Please post more suggestions as they come to you...

Anne :-)

(For Musicians: You'll find more suggestions for taking care of what needs to be taken care of in my book, The Musician's Guide to Brides. Purchase a discounted copy at my website and visit the facebook page for updated articles. For Brides: You'll find great suggestions for your wedding day to-do list in my book, The Bride's Guide to Musicians, also discounted at my website and located on facebook.)


Eliseo Mauas Pinto said...

Great post and it was very interesting to read about your own point of view regarding this subject!... Personally I have learned thru the years that we need to make a list of priorities... creative people like we are always in constant developing and many times we have no time to take up every new project!...Finding out a Sleeping schedule of 7 hours is quite impossible for me... so I manage to recover hours of sleep while travelling!... For the other items.. I am coincident with your thoughts...Thanx for sharing kind Anne.. wish you all the best as always...♥

Celtic Harp Music by Anne Roos said...

Thank you, Eliseo. I appreciate you providing me this great topic.

I'm also good at napping, so I make up for lost hours of sleep that way, too. But I'm not taking public transportation, so I make sure I'm wide awake before getting behind the wheel :-)

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