Business, Business Women, Goals, Uncategorized

Is Resistance Derailing Your Goals? Ten Effective Success Habits for Business Women

One of my Facebook colleagues had a rather interesting dialogue going on this week when she posted a question about how to keep from getting derailed in her day-to-day work life.

Procrastination.

I’m forever amazed at how many of us do battle with this saboteur – this purveyor of distraction, resistance, and frustration.

I could write a book about all the ways in which we engage in dragging our feet, shelving our dreams and serving as the primary barrier to reaching our goals (but I’d probably come up with a million different excuses to keep me from actually writing it).

Underneath all the external manifestations of procrastination is fear – fear of failing or fear of succeeding. That’s a heady conversation, and way more than I can do justice to within the confines of a single blog post.

So I’m putting aside all the unconscious reasons we continually get in our own way and focusing instead on what we can do on a more purposeful level to jump start our intentions and accomplish something each day.

Habit and repetition are what float the boat and after querying clients, colleagues and mentors, I’ve put together ten of the most effective success habits you can incorporate into the daily ritual of how you work. And how you get things done. Really and truly done. Imagine that?!

1. Develop your routine. We’re all creatures of habit – even those of us who like to think of ourselves as spontaneous. So use this to your advantage. Ask yourself, “What is my working style?” “How do I work most efficiently?”

I’m most definitely NOT a morning person. My creativity runs in consistent bursts of energy throughout the day (and night), so I’ve learned to use those bursts to accomplish my most thought-intensive work.

Do you prefer to work in the morning, the evening or in small increments throughout the day? Take some time to assess how and when you’re at your energetic best and dedicate that time to doing what is most critical and what requires a clear, focused mind.

2. Cultivate an attitude of gratitude. Wake up and let your first thought be that you’re grateful for this day. Take a few moments to recognize the blessings in your life and let this set the intention for how you show up throughout your day.

3. Define your daily goal(s). Be clear about what you want to accomplish. Make this a short list. Resist the temptation to set a 3-foot list of goals and instead focus on the one, two or three absolute priorities (notice I wrote “absolute” priorities – not things you “should” or “need” to get done today). Break big tasks into bite-sized, doable actions. Taking one baby step is better than taking no steps.

4. Do only what you love to do or you won’t do it. Delegate or dump anything that keeps you stuck in the land of excuses. For me that means delegating anything to do with numbers. Just the thought of tackling my business finances is enough to send me ducking for cover and lost for several hours on the information highway or playing online Scrabble (shh, don’t tell anyone).

5. Train family members or co-workers to respect your working time. If you’re a home-based entrepreneur, put up a note, lock the door, hire a babysitter, go to the library or your nearest Starbucks, if necessary. For those of you who work in an office, the same rules apply. Do whatever you need to do to keep the interruptions to a minimum during those high-energy periods or when you’ve got a deadline looming.

Despite all the chatter about women being great at multi-tasking, don’t believe the hype! The best way to get things accomplished is to focus on ONE thing at a time.

6. Set yourself up. Do you find yourself regularly running to the refrigerator or down the hall for a cup of coffee? What other avoidance tactics are you using to keep from getting down to business? Stockpile a no-excuses-supply of beverages, Kleenex, snacks, pens, paper, etc., close by in your office so that you’re not jumping up and down when you should be hunkering down.

7. Work on a deadline. I use the timer system (actually it’s the timer on my kitchen stove). To help keep you on task and determine how long each goal takes, set your timer for 60 minutes and get to work on one of your priority goals for the day.

When the timer goes off, take a short 10 – 15 minute break. This is not a suggestion. It’s mandatory. Studies show that brain function begins to decline after 60 minutes of focused attention. Get up from your desk and go the restroom, take a walk outside, do stretching breathing, or meditation exercises – anything that gives you an opportunity to rejuice and recharge. Reset the timer and dive in again until you’ve successfully completed your daily action steps.

8. You’ve got a friend. Got a tough task? Work with a colleague, coach or a friend. Use the timer system when you buddy up to help you get tough tasks completed. Use a call and check-in accountability system. Have your buddy call you for a 10-second “touch base” call when you start, and make a call to let your buddy know when you finish. A phone call is much more powerful in this situation than a text or email because of the human voice connection factor.

9. LOVE your work environment. This probably seems like a no-brainer, but make sure where you work is a place you actually want to be. Surround yourself with things that inspire you, energize you, and remind you of your big “Why”. If you work out of a home office there’s obviously a lot more latitude in how you decorate your environment, but even the most conservative corporate office can withstand a little personal touch.

I love to travel, so my home office includes things I’ve purchased from the many places I’ve visited – it brings an invigorating, eclectic energy to the room and the photos of my family and friends helps to ground that energy and reinforce my “Why”.

10. Celebrate your success each day. At the end of the each day write down 5 things you accomplished today that moved your project forward. Reward yourself by doing something just for you. A bubble bath? A walk in the park? Reading a non-work-related book? Watching an episode of your favorite show? Spending some private time with your kids or partner? Rewarding yourself is crucial to keeping your work-life balance in proper alignment. Don’t fudge on this step. It’s part of your self-care 911.

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